Sidorenko Reflects On Dream Week In St. Brieuc
The 28-year-old has cut his ranking in half since the start of the year
After a decade on tour, Alexandre Sidorenko is producing the best results of his career at age 28.
With an Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 379, Sidorenko needed a wild card to appear in the main draw of last week’s $50,000 event in St. Brieuc, France. But the Frenchman made the most of his opportunity, producing inspired tennis to reach his first ATP Challenger Tour final in eight years. With the home crowd fully behind him in the championship against No. 6 seed Igor Sijsling, Sidorenko nailed a backhand passing shot on his first match point to take the epic match and win his first ATP Challenger Tour singles title, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).
“It means a lot to me,” said Sidorenko. “After everything that I’ve been through, to see that I’m getting my form back and now winning my first Challenger is fantastic. It helps a lot for the future just to keep going and keep believing in myself.”
The win also signifies a remarkable turnaround in the direction of Sidorenko’s career. As recently as a few months ago, the Frenchman was considering abandoning singles for a career as a doubles specialist.
“I was improving much faster in doubles and starting to play more Challengers at that level,” he explained. “But I think playing doubles also improved my singles just by playing at the bigger tournaments and being in that atmosphere more often. Now my singles is starting to improve at the same speed as my doubles.”
With a current Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 225, Sidorenko has already cut his ranking in half since the start of the year. He attributes the hard work he put in during the off-season with being able to sustain a rigorous schedule that has seen him play in nine tournaments since the start of the year, including this week at the $50,000 event in Napoli, Italy.
”I had a very good off-season and worked a lot, which has helped me to keep getting better each day,” said Sidorenko. “I was a little bit lucky to win some of the matches, but I also wouldn’t be able to physically handle winning this many matches and playing so much if I didn’t have a good pre-season. It’s shown me that I can compete with the guys at this level.”
Sidorenko’s confident form has also led to some inspired shotmaking. During his quarter-final win in St. Brieuc over Tobias Kamke, the Frenchman hit a no-look, over-the-shoulder passing shot winner that brought the crowd to their feet.
“We spoke after the match and he said it was an unbelievable shot, but then the video came out the next day and [Kamke] said even he didn’t realise it was a no-look shot,” said Sidorenko. “Every player spoke to me about it afterwards. I don’t even know how I made it. It was a lot of luck, but I was also very happy about it!”
With a ranking that will now enable him to gain direct entry into most ATP Challenger Tour events, Sidorenko believes he is well on his way to achieving his goals for the 2016 season.
“My first goal was to get into qualifying for Roland Garros, so I should be in there now,” said Sidorenko. “I also want to finish the year close to my best ranking (No. 168, which he achieved in June 2010). I’m in good shape for that and have had a good run lately, so I just want to keep this form going now.”