A war cry that came from his soul and rang in the air of Court Suzanne Lenglen. A disconsolate cry, after collapsing in front of the acknowledgment and ovation that the public has reserved for him. And a victory with an Argentine flavour, which Daniel Altmayer will never forget. The German, trained by Alberto Manciniwas the big star in a second round on Thursday at Roland Garrosin which he switched to Italian Jannik sinnereighth seed, and signed the second biggest hit so far in the tournament (after the elimination of Daniel Medvedevsecond favourite).
The number 79 in the ranking sealed the victory by 6-7 (0-7), 7-6 (9-7), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4) and 7-5 after five hours and 26 minutes of a tough battle against one of the best players in the Next generation and put his name in the great books of the French Grand Slam. Because the game became the fifth longest in the history of the contest.
“I love brick dust and I love the Paris crowd. The emotions in this match were crazy,” commented the German with teary eyes, while even Mancini himself tried to hold back tears in his box.
The 54-year-old Argentine who won as a player Montecarlo AND Rome and became number eight in the world; and after retiring he was captain of Davis Cup and coach of famous players such as Guillermo Coria and Fabio Fognini, he joined Altmaier’s team at the end of last year. And in a short time he had a major impact on his new student’s career.
“We have created a strong group, we have an excellent connection. Alberto is moving many things in my team and structuring it better, and this is reflected on the track,” said the 24-year-old German.
“I knew who he was and his story is very interesting. He finished his career so early and won two Masters 1000. That experience can help me a lot. He asks me for consistency and variety. I’m starting to see more space on the track, I move better and I choose shots better. I feel more comfortable on slow pitches. It’s nice that hard work shows up in the short term,” he added.
Almost unknown to the general public, Altmaier had already surprised a few years ago on the Parisian brick dust. In the 2020 edition of the tournament, he passed the qualification and entered the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time. And he ended up reaching the round of 16, losing to the Italian in the third round Matthew Berrettini (8th), in what was his first victory against a top 10.
Since that move to the French capital, he hasn’t won a single major-draw match (lost in the first round in his last five games), until this week.
The German, who has not yet played in any final ATP extensionbut he conquered seven challengers (the last one, in April, in Sarasota) – made his debut in Paris winning 6-3, 6-4 and 6-4 against the Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler (84th). And yesterday he went down to Sinner, in a duel in which he was leading 5-3, but had to endure one last blow from the Italian before sealing the victory. It was his second celebration against a rival ranked in the top 10 in the world.
The match was not only the longest of this Roland Garros 2023. It was the sixth longest in the history of the event, behind Santoro-Clément in 2004 (6h33), Giustino-Moutet in 2020 (6h05), Mathieu-Isner in 2012 ( 5h41) and Corretja-Gumy in 1998 (5h31).
“I’m a better player, obviously. I can’t compare myself to what I was at Roland Garros 3 years ago because I’ve grown a lot as a player. I’ve been through a lot on and off the court and I think now I have more experience and I know how to handle situations better” . She reflected a few weeks ago.
This Thursday he assured: “My path has always been based on fighting spirit. I went through difficult moments, but I always managed to move forward. I’ve been on the circuit for two years. I probably won’t have the best results, but I see progress. I don’t chase points or money. My goal is to play consistently.”
His next challenge will be against the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (28th), who beat the Finn in the second round Emil Ruusuvuori of 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 and 6-4.
With the impetus of an epic celebration against Sinner, Altmaier does not hold back. On the contrary, he has already warned: “This tournament starts now for me.”
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.