HAMBURG, July 11, 2016
Sunday, 11:30 am at the German Open 2016, a pretty normal sunny summer morning in Hamburg. The final round of the qualifying for the ATP 500 event is scheduled and the early birds have already arrived at the venue watching the player’s practice sessions.
Between the practice courts have also gathered about 15 journalists, waiting for the training of a very special competitor. Five minutes later a young man, about 175 cm tall with blond hair arrives. It is 17-year-old Marvin Möller, who was granted a wild card from tournament director Michael Stich to appear in his first main draw on senior’s level.
“I just want to gain my first experiences on the big stage. I feel well prepared, as I had played here before at the venue. I feel like home here,” the Hamburg native told about his goals, answering the questions from the journalists in a very relaxed and pleasant way. He only gets emotional talking about the moment when he learnt that he receives the invitation to play at the Rothenbaum venue on ATP World Tour level.
“My coach told me the news. This was an unbelievable moment for me, as one of my childhood dreams is coming true,” said Möller and added: “I practice here in a normal way, just as at other tournaments, but of course, in a very special atmosphere for me. From time to time, you even get asked to sign autographs. A lot of people from my home town will probably attend my first round match.”
Möller, the current world number 24 in the junior’s ranking, will make his debut against Grega Zemlja. The Slovenian is having a short warm-up programme on the court just next to the German’s.
“I will try to play my best tennis and to challenge him in the best possible way. I only saw his name on the draw but I do not know him in person. If there is still time, I will have a look at his practice session.”
Another boy from Hamburg will also particpate at his home tournament, as Alexander Zverev will take on Inigo Cervantes in his opening match. Comparisons with Germany’s number two do not annoy him.
“We do not really know us. I only met him in the locker room and we had a few words. He is following an exemplary way. Being so successful at his age has already been a great achievement,” told Möller, who describes his own game as pretty even.
“My strength is that my opponent cannot really find a weakness. I am pretty solid with every shot and I feel comfortable on clay.”
The teenager has already gained some decent results on junior’s level by lifting four trophies this season as well as reaching the quarterfinals at the French Open in Paris.
“The last two or three months were very successful, when I won three tournaments in a row. This gives you a lot of confidence.”
The 17-year-old actually still goes to school and wants to graduate with his abitur in two years time, but he definetely keeps an eye on his tennis career.
“I still want to play the European Championships and the US-Open this season. Next year, I will still compete at the junior Grand Slams, but also starting to gain a foothold on the ITF Pro Circuit at the same time.”
Möller’s journey to senior’s level kicks off on Monday on Court 1. Here is a short impression of his practice session on Sunday morning: