Five things to know about Jiri Lehecka
After Jiri Lehecka broke through on the ATP tour in impressive style out in Rotterdam, Tennishead gives you all you need to know about the rising star.
The 20-year-old recently burst into the tennis mainstream by announcing himself on the ATP tour. Here, Tennishead gives you five things you should know about Lehecka.
Jiri Lehecka was born in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic, about 30 miles northeast of the capital Prague, on 8th November 2001.
2) Natural sportiness
Lehecka’s grandmother, who competed at national level, taught Jiri’s older sister the sport, prompting Jiri to want in.
“I wanted to do the same,” he told the ATP tour.
“At the moment, tennis was the only option for me.
“I was doing a lot of other sports, I had a very sporty childhood, I would say, but tennis won and of course nothing to regret.”
Both his parents are former athletes, his father a swimmer and his mother in track and field.
“I think it was pretty good because they know how the sports life looks like,” he said.
“They know how it is, they know the environment around the athlete.
“The good thing is they know how the body works and they know how to help me in some situations.”
3) Junior success
Lehecka peaked at number 10 in the ITF junior rankings and competed in five junior Slams between 2018 and 2019.
His best results both came in 2019, reaching the quarter-finals of both the Australian Open and US Open Junior Championships.
4) A tough time to turn pro
The young Czech turned professional at possibly the worst moment in terms of timing, though he could not have known that, right on the cusp of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite such difficulties, Lehecka has won two ATP Challenger titles, both in 2021, coming in Tampere, Finland in July and Bucharest, Romania in September.
After being ranked 621st in the world at the start of 2020, Lehecka ended 2021 480 spots higher at 141st in the ATP rankings.
5) An auspicious debut
Soon after coming through qualifying to make his Slam debut at the 2022 Australian Open, Lehecka got through qualifying again at the ATP 500 Rotterdam Open to make his ATP tour main draw debut.
In the first round he faced recent Australian Open quarter-finalist and world number 12 Denis Shapovalov, a tough opponent.
But the Czech got the better of the Canadian, ousting him 6-4, 6-4.
Lehecka then went on to surge through to the semi-finals by defeating Botic van de Zandschulp and fellow Next Gen talent Lorenzo Musetti before going out to world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas.
However, the Greek did not annihilate the Czech as Lehecka pushed Tsitsipas to three sets going down 6-4, 4-6, 2-6.
His run in Rotterdam propelled Lehecka into the ATP top 100 for the first time and sits at 95th in the world as of 14th February 2022.
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