5 Things To Know About Milan-Bound Davidovich Fokina

Spaniard heading to Milan

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will compete at the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. The Spaniard entered the field on Friday after Denis Shapovalov withdrew due to fatigue from the award-winning 21-and under tournament, which starts Tuesday at the Allianz Cloud in Milan.

Here are five things to know about the 20-year-old Davidovich Fokina.

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1. He has a unique game
Forget enduring baseline rallies that are common throughout today's game; Davidovich Fokina prefers the drop shot. During his run to the Millennium Estoril Open semi-finals in May, the then-19-year-old executed the shot often to beat France's Gael Monfils and make the last four (l. to Cuevas).

Davidovich Fokina became the youngest Spaniard to reach an ATP Tour semi-final since 19-year-old Rafael Nadal won the 2006 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title.

“I had to play smart against [Monfils] and the drop shot is my best shot and I had to use it a lot against him,” Davidovich Fokina told ATPTour.com. “[I learned it] when I was three years old. It’s a part of me.”

Watch Hot Shot: Davidovich Fokina Is Drop Shot King In Estoril

2. A late surge brings him to Milan
On 21 October, Davidovich Fokina was 13th in the ATP Race To Milan, with 554 points. But by 28 October, when the Race ended, Davidovich Fokina had climbed into 10th place (627 points), thanks to his second ATP Challenger Tour title of the season at the 2019 Liuzhou Open in China.

The Spaniard beat Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the Liuzhou final. Istomin famously upset six-time champion Novak Djokovic in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open after four hours, 48 minutes. Davidovich Fokina also won the Seville ATP Challenger Tour event in September, beating countryman and 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist Jaume Munar.

“With Jaume, there are always those nerves because I know he is a very consistent player. He doesn't miss any shots. I started a little more nervous, but in the second set I was more explosive and aggressive. I have relied much more on myself, and I also wanted to not lose a fourth final,” Davidovich Fokina said.

Watch: Monfils Shows Sportsmanship To Davidovich Fokina

3. He is a Wimbledon champion
Davidovich Fokina won the 2017 Wimbledon boys' singles title, beating Argentina's Axel Geller in the final.
He became only the second junior Wimbledon champion from Spain and the first in 50 years (Manuel Orantes, 1967).

“I'm very happy to be the second [Spanish] junior champion of Wimbledon. I'm in shock,” Davidovich Fokina told Wimbledon.com. “I was thinking, ‘Okay, I want to win this. I want to show the people who I am, that I want to play tennis, professional tennis. I want to show them what I want to do with my life.’”

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4. He is optimistic about his future
Davidovich Fokina checked off two massive goals in 2019: Cracking the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings and securing direct entry into the main draw of the 2020 Australian Open. The Spaniard started the season at No. 237 in the ATP Rankings but shaved 155 places off his ATP Ranking and will enter Milan at a career-high No. 82.

“Breaking through [into the Top 100] is a huge step,” he told ATPTour.com. “I see big things in my future. Even though it's been a tough battle this year with lots of ups and downs, I'm trying to finish the season with strong results.”

5. He is gracious and loyal to his longtime coach
Davidovich Fokina credits his longtime coach Jorge Aguirre for much of his success. Aguirre has coached Davidovich Fokina since he was a child.

"I've had a great team backing me from the start," says Davidovich Fokina. “They push me to learn and to grow every day. They've helped to build me into the player I become when I step on the court.”