Daniel Altmaier boosted after wildcard ATP entry at Hamburg European Open
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 06/08/19 2:04pm
Daniel Altmaier has spent most of the last year inside a rehabilitation room.
Injuries have hampered the rise of the 20-year-old Sky Sports Scholar, but after winning his first trophy on the ITF World Tennis Tour since 2017 in June, the German seems to be firmly back on track.
Here are Dan's thoughts after coming through a stern test in Croatia and his home country.....
It's been a very special time for me playing two ATP events at the Umag ATP 250 and Hamburg ATP 500.
It started in Umag, Croatia where I came through qualification and played Argentine Carlos Berlocq (a former top 40 ATP player) in the first round.
It was my best match of the year, playing some great tennis and with a good strategy. I won 6-2 6-4.
Berlocq is a very experienced player and I knew I had to stay in the moment and be consistent. If you don't do that against players this good then it makes it tough to get close to them.
They know exactly how to compete and give their best in the right moment so I was thrilled to get through that test.
In the second round, I fell to German Peter Torebko who is aged 31 and rarely far away from 200 in the ATP rankings.
It was a close match and I knew I'd get my chances but I lost 3-6 5-7. I felt good but didn't take advantage on his service games and that's something in our sport that hurts a lot when you have the feeling you could do better.
I learned a lot though and realised I may have tried too hard to make the points instead of building up and getting stuck into a rally.
Next was Hamburg. I got a wildcard from the German Federation in the singles and doubles and I was so pleased and grateful to have the chance to play.
Rain restricted my preparation but I finally got underway to play Martin Klizan - currently 40 in the world and a former winner of this tournament.
I struggled to find my rhythm and he played really well. It was also raining and with the closed roof meant the conditions were really slow which didn't suit my style. I lost 2-6 2-6.
It was only the second time in my career I had played in a stadium like Rothenbaum. It was a very different atmosphere and made me realise how inexperienced I am with these situations.
Only at the end of the second set, I was able to break him and had chances again on his serve to get closer at 3-5 but it was too late.
It was still an honour to play there and have this chance. I'm sure I learned a lot and will be better prepared next
time because of that experience.
The results weren't the best and I know I can play better but I'm looking forward to more experience at this level. They were only my fourth and fifth tournaments on the ATP Tour.
Now it's time to get ready for my next challenges where I will be mostly playing in the ATP Challengers in Germany, Italy and Poland.
I'm happy to stay on clay and keep improving my game on this surface.