Spain's Davidovich Fokina On Top 100 Milestone: ‘Breaking Through Is A Huge Step’
Any formula for success requires a strong work ethic as a necessary ingredient. It's a characteristic Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has met from an early age, and the #NextGenATP Spaniard's commitment is already reaping him rewards.
On Monday, Davidovich Fokina burst into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in his budding career, leaping eight spots to No. 93. Pegged as one of Spain's brightest young talents, the 20-year-old from Malaga is so far living up to lofty expectations during his steady rise.
"Breaking through [into the Top 100] is a huge step," Davidovich Fokina tells ATPTour.com. "I see big things in my future. Even though it's been a tough battle this year with lots of ups and downs, I'm trying to finish the season with strong results."
Despite what he considers a difficult year, the teenager's accomplishments are proof his hard work and dedication are paying off. Davidovich Fokina announced his arrival in 2019 with strong showings week after week while flashing all the signs that make for a promising star.
In the past 10 months, he has lifted his first ATP Challenger Tour title (Seville), reached his first ATP Tour-level semi-final (Estoril) and made his inaugural main draw at a Grand Slam (Roland Garros). Those results have catapulted the ambitious talent from No. 241 at the start of the year to his current ranking of No. 93, with several weeks to go before the end of the season.
As gracious as he is gifted, Davidovich Fokina credits his team for playing a critical role in his development. Since childhood, he's been under the guidance of Jorge Aguirre, a prominent figure in Malaga tennis circles. The Spanish pupil is eager to repay his coach and team for their confidence in his abilities by fulfilling his own potential.
"I've had a great team backing me from the start," says Davidovich Fokina. “They push me to learn and to grow every day. They've helped to build me into the player I become when I step on the court.”
Davidovich Fokina is 29-11 on the ATP Challenger Tour so far, which includes semi-final showings at Ningbo, China, and Biella, Italy; a pair of finals at Bangkok and Genova; and a title-winning effort in Seville.
By churning out consistent results on the ATP Challenger Tour, Davidovich Fokina has established himself as a player on the cusp of success at tour-level events in the near future. His short-term goal, however, is to finish the year in the best form possible. It's at Challenger events in Liuzhou, China, this week and at Shenzhen next week where the #NextGenATP standout hopes his season will culminate with more positive results.
“I know that I can still improve in a lot of ways," Davidovich Fokina says.
The Spaniard is already looking at the off-season as a chance to further refine his game. "Physically, technically and mentally, there's room to grow. I plan on using the preseason to work on growing in those areas so I can start the next year even better than I did this one."
The plan for the player and his team is to use this year’s gains as a vehicle toward even greater heights in 2020. One incentive to end the season on a high note: If his current ATP Ranking holds steady, Davidovich Fokina will be granted direct entry into the main draw at the Australian Open in January, an exciting and motivating prospect that the Spanish youngster relishes.
"That boosts my motivation even more," the 2017 Wimbledon boys’ singles champion says about the possibility of Grand Slam entries without having to battle through three rounds of qualifying.
"It would mean I’d be able to save that energy for my main draw matches, and I would be a lot fresher if I have to go five sets. It's difficult to compete at Grand Slams and even more so when you're tired and must play longer to advance. [Direct entry] isn’t something that determines a career, but it's definitely another step forward.”
Continued development and maturation are Davidovich Fokina's focus points at this stage, and breaking into the Top 100 is just one step forward in what is poised to be a promising career.