Davis Cup captain Michael Kohlmann sees outsider Jan-Lennard Struff in the final of the ATP tournament in Madrid against Spain’s tennis star Carlos Alcaraz.
“He’s playing an extremely good year, and in Madrid he might have the crowning glory ahead of him,” Kohlmann told the German Press Agency.
Alcaraz, second in the world rankings, represents an “almost insurmountable hurdle” on paper. “But there has never been a lucky loser in a Masters 1000 final before, so why shouldn’t he also be the first to beat Carlos Alcaraz in Spain ?”
Struff said to the Sky TV channel: “I’ve played against Alcaraz twice. I managed to beat him on cinders once. 2021 in Paris, but he was 18 years old then. What happened in those two years, is outstanding.”
After 20 wins in a row in his home country, the top seeded Alcaraz is going into the final this Sunday (6:30 p.m. / Sky) as the big favorite. Struff, who had already failed in qualifying and only slipped into the main draw due to cancellations by other players, would replace Alexander Zverev as number 1 in German tennis in the event of a sensational final victory. But even in the event of a defeat, the 33-year-old would climb from 65th to 28th place – that would be a career high.
“There are many things to suggest that the journey is not over yet,” said Kohlmann, who also gives Struff good chances at the French Open from May 28: “He’s on a wave of success and dares, even against to win the big ones. I wish him that he can transport that to Paris.” Struff has “always had great potential”.
It is good for German tennis that a second protagonist appears alongside Zverev. “When people like Struff shoot forward, the others realize: Okay, we can do that too,” said Kohlmann.