© AFP/Getty Images

Botic van de Zandschulp is into the Top 30 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time.

Booming Botic Boosted By Belief

Dutchman will face Berrettini in Queen's Club semi-finals Saturday

It is has been a whirlwind of a year for Botic van de Zandschulp.

In the past 12 months, the Dutchman has soared from outside the Top 150 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 29, exploring new cities and growing in belief along the way. 

“I think I am doing quite well this year. Playing consistently and winning matches every week at the tournaments I have played,” van de Zandschulp told ATPTour.com ahead of his semi-final clash against Matteo Berrettini at the Cinch Championships in London.

“I am living more like a professional than I did before. That started three or two years ago when I first started climbing the rankings. I had more self-belief that I could first reach the Top 100, then focussed on growing and I am happy."

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Van de Zandschulp’s climb kicked into gear last year at the US Open, where he defeated Top 15 stars Casper Ruud and Diego Schwartzman en route to the quarter-finals. From there, the results continued to come, with a Top 10 win against Andrey Rublev in St. Petersburg followed by a maiden tour-level final in Munich in April.

“I think the confidence continues to rise when you beat players who are ranked higher,” van de Zandschulp said. “When you beat a guy who is in the Top 10 it gives you a confidence boost. If this guy is Top 10, what is he doing well? You learn from those matches.

“I am more detailed than I used to be with my diet, too. I am more careful with what I am eating now, eating protein. I also like Sushi a lot. It is easy and you can mix it up a little bit and I think it is very nice.”

Van de Zandschulp’s rise has opened more opportunities both on and off the court. This season, the 29-year-old made his debut at four ATP Masters 1000 events, allowing him the chance to visit new cities.

“I talked with my coach and I wanted to play lots of tournaments this year, to figure out which ones I like. I have played some great tournaments. Monte Carlo was great and I had never played there before. Rome was great,” van de Zandschulp said. “I played Miami and Indian Wells and those are beautiful tournaments. It is more travelling, but you get to nicer places.

“In Rome I stayed with my girlfriend for an extra day and explored the city. Normally I am not a guy who visits the city during the tournament, but she wants to see things. We went to the Colosseum, the [Spanish] Steps. It was nice. The buildings are amazing in Rome.”

You May Also Like: The Last Time... With Childhood Rafa Fan Botic Van De Zandschulp

Alongside his tourism outings, the Dutchman has also met fellow sporting stars he might not have had he not climbed the ladder in his own discipline.

“I have been to more places. I was invited to a padel tournament and footballers were there. That is one of the perks,” van de Zandschulp said. “You meet some of the guys playing different sports who are doing well, and it is cool.”

For the 29-year-old, on-court success has led to a busier schedule. While van de Zandschulp finds his ‘new’ life tiring at times, he is grateful for the continued support his family and friends have given him.

“Before when I was at tournaments, it was exhausting and then when I went home I had some rest. I think now that the weeks when I am in Holland are more exhausting than when I am at tournaments,” he admitted. “I do so much more stuff outside of tennis than I used to, people like talking to me. You need to choose what you want to do.

“I am grateful for my friends and family who always supported me when things weren’t going my way. I am just happy they have stayed the same with me. They treat me the same and haven’t changed at all. They are proud.”

Van de Zandschulp will look to continue to make his family and friends happy over the weekend as he aims to win his first ATP Tour title in London. If he can do so, he will tick off yet another long-term goal.

“I ended last season around No. 55, so my first goal was to be Top 50. Then I made Top 50, 40 and now 30. [I am] trying to improve and enjoy my game and play at new tournaments,” van de Zandschulp said. “Winning an ATP Tour tournament is one of the things you really want. I was close in Munich, but unfortunately I had to retire [in the final]. It is definitely a goal of mine.

“I have continued to change my goals but the most important [thing] is to keep growing in my level and my own tennis. I think when you do that, the rest comes.”