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#NextGenATP Stricker On Following Fed & Stan: ‘Switzerland Will Be Looking’

21-year-old is third seed at Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM
November 29, 2023
Dominic Stricker is No. 94 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Dominic Stricker is No. 94 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. By Andy West

All great eras must come to an end, but the next one also has to start somewhere.

Dominic Stricker is well aware of the void that will be left in Swiss tennis once Stan Wawrinka joins Roger Federer in retirement from the ATP Tour. The 21-year-old Stricker grew up watching his two countrymen regularly lifting the biggest titles in the game and competing in some of the most memorable matches in history.

While the achievements of Federer and Wawrinka will be a tough act to follow for Switzerland’s next generation of ATP Tour stars, the Alpine nation may have already unearthed a natural successor in Stricker. His clean-hitting lefty game has already earned him five ATP Challenger Tour titles and a career-high of No. 88 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“I think Roger’s retirement was very emotional for of us, especially maybe for us Swiss players,” Stricker told ATPTour.com in Jeddah, where he is the third seed at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM. “Stan is putting in a lot of work for us young players. The fact that he's playing Davis Cup again is amazing for us. He's here to help us all the time.

“It's not going to be easy when Stan retires as well, but it’s also great for me that then the whole of Switzerland will be looking out for the next Roger and Stan. It's just good to have them in your country and to know that the country really follows tennis a lot.”

Stricker remembers when he became one of those millions of Swiss fans who followed all-time great Federer and three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka as they took on the world’s best.

“I think I followed them as soon as they were on TV and as soon as I got a bit more into tennis,” said Stricker. “I don't remember the first match that I saw, but of course there are a few you will never forget.

“I started [playing] when I was six, but I think I [became more aware of Federer and Wawrinka] maybe somewhere around 10 or 11. I became Swiss champion when I was 11, so maybe that was the time I got a bit more into tennis and everything got a bit more serious.”

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Federer and Wawrinka’s influence on Stricker became more direct once he met his illustrious countrymen in person. Before he retired, Federer twice invited the youngster to practise in Dubai, while the 38-year-old Wawrinka is now his colleague on the ATP Tour.

“I know Roger and Stan are two amazing players," said Stricker. "I think they did a lot for the for the sport in our country. I've had the pleasure to practice with both and that's just something I will never forget, because these guys are two of the best players that we've ever had.

“It's just great to know that they're always here if I have any questions, to be here to answer them for me, and I think that's very good to know.”

Wawrinka has proven more than just a reliable source of off-court advice this year for Stricker. In July the pair took to the doubles court together on home soil in Gstaad and dropped just one set all week en route to the title at the clay-court ATP 250.

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/dominic-stricker/s0la/overview'>Dominic Stricker</a> and <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/stan-wawrinka/w367/overview'>Stan Wawrinka</a>
Dominic Stricker and Stan Wawrinka won a doubles title in July in Gstaad. Photo Credit: Fabian Meierhans/EFG Swiss Open Gstaad

“It was a great experience,” recalled Stricker. “We decided very late to actually team up and then we got used to each other and better after every round. To do it at home was even better. It was just a great week and a title I will never forget.

“I think [Stan] always told us young players that we should come to him and ask him, that we shouldn't be afraid to ask him anything. He's always very nice. He is so open to us, and we can really ask him everything. That's just great to know that you can ask a player like Stan everything.”

While happy to take guidance from his illustrious countrymen, Stricker isn’t sure his naturally aggressive game can be easily compared to either Federer or Wawrinka.

“Stan is maybe a bit more defensive gameplay-wise, I would say, but still if he can, he goes for it," he said. "I think Roger, he just had the perfect game. He served very well, he had a great return, great backhand and an even better forehand.

“I think maybe [I am] a bit more similar to Roger, because he really tried to be offensive, as I do as well. I would say my game is more like Roger’s, but still, it's very different.”

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