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Cressy Says Au Revoir To Negativity, Hello To Wimbledon Reset

Wimbledon dangerman also ditches his twin racquet strategy
July 02, 2023
Maxime Cressy looks to turn around his season at Wimbledon.
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Maxime Cressy looks to turn around his season at Wimbledon. By Paul Macpherson

When Maxime Cressy needs to think positively, his internal discussions are in English. Lately, it's been a battle to keep French from creeping back into his thoughts.

Before a first-round win this past week in Eastbourne, the French-born American had lost 10 straight matches dating back to the second round of Marseille in February. For a man who writes ‘instill doubt’ on his racquets to reflect the disruptive message he wants to send to opponents, Cressy has been the one second-guessing himself recently.

“Usually my negative side comes out in French. I picked it up from my mom,” said Cressy, who was born in Paris. “Usually I think positively when I’m thinking in English… so I try to stay in the English phase.

“The clay season is where I had the most doubts, and I think it did spill over to the beginning of the grass season. But I'm building my confidence back up. Last week, I played much better and this week could be really great… I believe at any moment. I can have a major breakthrough.”

Despite his recent disappointing record, few players would raise their hands for a chance to play the 6’ 7” serve/volleying powerhouse in the opening round at Wimbledon, where last year he upset Felix Auger-Aliassime in the first round. If anyone could turn around a season with a bone-rattling run at The Championships, it’s the 26-year-old, who kicks off his campaign Tuesday against Serb Laslo Djere.

With a booming serve, massive wingspan and effective volleys, Cressy is a suffocating presence for opponents, especially at Wimbledon where pressure is magnified, margins are small and grass suits his attack-at-all-costs approach.

So unsettling is his game that the World No. 55 says that he struggles to find practice partners. “It’s difficult. Few players want to play with me because they’re looking for rhythm and they don’t necessarily get that with me.”

Cressy, whose broader mission in life is to re-introduce the serve-and-volley art to the sport, can be a little quirky. He is known to write notes to himself during changeovers and until recently played with two racquets: one for service games and another for return games. And he would string only those two racquets for matches, even for best-of-five-setters. But he’s bringing a different approach to Wimbledon.

“I started using just one racquet two weeks ago and it’s been much better. I’m now just using my return racquet, the one that is lighter and gives me more control," he said. "I had been missing a little too much with the serve racquet, which I found a little too powerful.

“I’ll still just get two racquets strung for matches, but they are both return racquets.”

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