Tennis tournament French Open in Paris (clay, subsidy 49.6 million euros): Men: Singles – 1st round, May 28. Czech Jiří Veselý.
Paris – Although tennis player Jiří Veselý failed to surprise world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 1st round of Roland Garros, despite the defeat, he tried to look for positives. The 29-year-old native of Příbram, who only returned to the courts a month ago after more than seven months of thigh muscle injury, showed a fighting performance against the Greek favorite and lost only after three hours and 16 minutes 5:7, 3:6, 6:4, 6: 7. Although he regretted missed opportunities among journalists, he believed he was on his way back to the elite.
“I think I should rather brag. I went to the match a bit worried. I didn't know what to expect from my game and what level I was at. The fact that I played such a close match against one of the best clay players is certainly a motivation.” said Veselý. “It definitely gave me a lot of positive feedback. The level is there and that's the basis for me to come back. Now you have to go around tournaments, beat other weaker players and claw your way back. There were a couple of chances that if I had taken, it could have to be different. But it was one of the better matches here in Paris,” he added.
The former Czech number one had several chances in the duel with last year's Roland Garros finalist. In the first set, Veselý did not serve at 5:4, and in the fourth he did not use four set points in a shortened game. “God knows what it would look like in that fifth set. It would be nice to get it there. It was close and it looked promising,” Veselý said. “It's a shame about the first set that I didn't serve. But the conditions were quite difficult. I served at 5:4 against the wind and it was difficult for both of us to serve. Otherwise, it's hard to dig in,” added the Sparta Praha player.
Although Veselé is ranked 452nd in the ATP rankings, he got into the main competition in Paris thanks to a protected ranking. Before Roland Garros, he only played challengers in Ostrava and Sparta Prague. That's why he smiled when he saw the draw with Tsitsipas.
“On the one hand, I thought that if it was for a reward in the second round, it would be more pleasant. And that also in terms of the points that are needed now. But for me, these matches with the best were always a challenge,” said Veselý . “I liked big courts, big matches and I've confirmed it several times in the past. I'm glad I defended that position. I played a very balanced game with him. Now you have to put it behind you, take the positives and move on.” remarked the former 35th player in the world
He followed up on compatriot Zdenek Kolář, who fought an even battle with Tsitsipas in Paris last year. He too lost in four sets. “I saw a few moments from it. With the best, the most opportunities always come at the beginning of the tournament, when they try to enter it as best as possible and have expectations for themselves. You know it from other tournaments where I was the favorite,” he said Vesely.
Even though he lost the first two sets, he appreciated that he did not give up the match. “I tried to stay on the court as long as possible, because matches with players at this level are very important for me. To return to that level, to keep up with fitness, to endure long matches… There are a lot of positive things. Now I will move to grass that will be different and we'll see,” said Veselý,
He was encouraged that he managed a three-hour match after health problems. He was no longer bothered by the sore groin. “I lasted three and a half hours and that's very positive. Now we have more work to do, to collect wins. The hares are counted at the end of the year, or rather next year after Paris, when you have to circle the year and see where it goes. I believe that we are doing the right things. After the work, when we were preparing to return for the last six months, it is still there. It must encourage me to do the next job,” Veselý added.