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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Gabriel Diallo: ‘I Imagine That I Have The Potential’ | ATP Tour


Gabriel Diallo remembers when he started to overlook extra college to practise tennis and compete in tournaments aged 10. His dad and mom sat him down to clarify why he was in a distinct state of affairs than his associates and classmates.

“They requested me how I felt about it. I thought of it, and I did not see it as a sacrifice, as a result of I actually loved it,” Diallo instructed ATPTour.com. “I loved practising and I loved taking part in.”

From a younger age, Diallo dreamt of changing into knowledgeable tennis participant. “I all the time needed to win Slams. Each child goes by that part,” he stated.

It was round this time when Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in an unforgettable five-hour, 53-minute Australian Open last in 2012.

“I bear in mind I used to be making an attempt to play like him and imitate his sliding and simply transferring and simply not lacking the ball,” Diallo recalled. “Me and my associates on the time, we have been making an attempt to recreate that match, truly.”

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Though Diallo has not but reached that degree, he has ascended rapidly. The Canadian, whose father is from Guinea and mom is from Ukraine, performed school tennis on the College of Kentucky earlier than turning skilled on the finish of 2022. Final August, he gained an ATP Challenger Tour title in Granby, Canada, earlier than reaching one other last at that degree in Fairfield in October.

This week final yr, Diallo was World No. 679 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Now he’s World No. 141 and persevering with to push ahead. On Tuesday, the Canadian will attempt to earn his first ATP Tour primary draw win when he performs former World No. 5 Kevin Anderson within the first spherical of the Infosys Corridor of Fame Open.

“It is a privilege and it is a reward for the exhausting work that me and my group have put in,” Diallo stated. “I believe it is an awesome alternative to see the place my degree is at. A man like him has a lot expertise and is among the greatest gamers on this planet.”

It isn’t usually opponents of Anderson’s come near the South African within the top division, however each males stand 6’8”.

“It is a man that clearly I appeared as much as as a result of I used to be all the time instructed that I used to be going to have his measurement, sort of his physique sort [being] tall, however can nonetheless transfer and may nonetheless play,” Diallo stated. “I acquired everybody. I acquired Kevin Anderson, I acquired [Marin] Cilic, I acquired Milos [Raonic]. Even once I was like 5’10” at 15, individuals knew that I used to be going to be tall.”

By 17, Diallo grew to six’3”. Annually from then on he grew regularly earlier than his progress was full, in keeping with docs. Now the Canadian is a robust presence making an attempt to exert his will on opponents on the high of the game.

“There’s so some ways to play tennis, there’s guys that really feel comfy transferring aspect to aspect and simply making an attempt to counter assault. There are guys that thrive taking part in like this. And there are guys which are the exact opposite like me,” Diallo stated. “I play my greatest and I’ve my most possibilities once I take my sport to my opponent, when I attempt to disturb as a lot as I can. Clearly, I am not making an attempt to offer him rhythm. And it is excessive danger, nevertheless it’s additionally excessive reward. So it feels good. I believe that is the place I really feel my greatest and once I play my greatest.”

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Though Diallo has surged greater than 500 locations within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings prior to now 12 months, he understands that persevering with at this tempo won’t be simple.

“The climb is just not all the time linear. It is not all the time going upwards, there’s going to be moments the place you are going to be slightly bit extra regular, there’s going to be moments the place it will go down,” Diallo stated. “Clearly final summer season and final fall, every little thing occurred actually quick and issues modified for me. However it’s not the fact of our sport. It is extraordinarily uncommon. It is in uncommon instances that you just simply shoot [upwards] nonstop.”

One participant who climbed quickly to the very high of the game is Felix Auger-Aliassime, one other Canadian whose ascent was “actually inspiring” to Diallo. Auger-Aliassime’s father, Sam Aliassime, is a former coach of Diallo’s. What did the 21-year-old be taught from the daddy of the Prime 15 star?

“I might say the identical as my dad and mom, self-discipline and exhausting work. Retaining your head down, regardless of the state of affairs,” Diallo stated. “When the result is uncertain, simply attempt your hardest. And respect. It would not actually differ from what my dad and mom taught me, however I might say that that is the primary factor that was arising.”

Off the courtroom, Diallo is like many 21-year-olds. He loves films and TV exhibits in addition to spending time together with his associates and girlfriend. The Canadian additionally enjoys the seaside and swimming in addition to consuming. His favourites embody pizza, a superb burger and a pleasant steak. Diallo may even work remotely in the direction of finishing a Bachelor’s Diploma in finance starting subsequent semester. He has simply three lessons left.

On the courtroom, Diallo has lots of the objectives you’d anticipate: cracking the world’s Prime 100 and taking part in in the primary draw on the majors. However his largest want is extra philosophical.

“I might say my dream is basically to satisfy my full potential, as a result of clearly, individuals round me imagine that I’ve a giant sport and that I can climb up the rankings. However it begins with me,” Diallo stated. “I additionally imagine that I’ve the potential. So I simply wish to maximise my sport and wherever that takes me, I am going to have the ability to sleep at night time, and I will be extraordinarily completely satisfied and happy with myself.”

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