De Greef Riding High In Fano
The Belgian is full of confidence after winning his first ATP Challenger Tour title last week
After breaking through last week with his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title, Arthur De Greef could soon be ready for the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
On the heels of reaching his first two Challenger finals earlier this year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Napoli, Italy, the 24-year-old prevailed in an all-Belgian battle over Steve Darcis to prevail in Liberec, Czech Republic. Having started the year at No. 270 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, De Greef now sits at a career-high standing of No. 142.
“It means a lot to me because I had a lot of injuries just two years ago, but now I feel great,” said De Greef. “Winning there just feels like another step in the right direction”
The Belgian is building on that momentum at this week’s ATP Challenger Tour in Fano, Italy. He prevailed over in a first-round match on Tuesday over Christian Garin of Chile and has quickly grown comfortable with his new surroundings because “there’s a lot of people who come to the stands to enjoy the matches.”
But while Fano is a new city for him, the clay courts here are entirely familiar. Eighteen of the 19 tournaments De Greef has played this year have been on clay and the surface perfectly complements his game style.
“I love to play on clay because I use a lot of spin when I hit the ball and I’m physically fast and in good shape,” he said. “I love having the time to see and understand the game properly.”
It isn’t just his results that are gaining De Greef attention, though. His Hot Shot on match point of his semi-final in Liberec, a volley winner with enough backspin to bounce back onto his side of the net, went viral and reached nearly 320,000 people.
“I got a lot of messages. Everybody was like, ‘Hey, that was a crazy shot,’” said De Greef. “But I use those kind of strokes so much when I practise and the guys I hit with know it very well. But that particular shot… well, that was a nice one!”