Davidovich: “After winning Wimbledon, I was scared to play”

Their surnames and their blond hair, almost silver like that of a Viking, lead to confusion. Until he is heard speaking: “I look like a foreigner, but I’m Spanish, eh?” A native of Malaga, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (La Cala del Moral, 21 years old) sprinkles the conversation with EL PAÍS with his wit and characteristic accent, which began to become familiar to the fan four years ago. Then, just coming of age, he uncovered himself on the grass at Wimbledon and raised the title as a junior, in a passage that marked a turning point in his career. “For the better, but also for the worse. It was a great pitch, but those two following months I couldn’t be on a tennis court, and I mean it literally ”, he says.

Today he has already managed to enter the elite. He occupies the 46th rung of the ATP world list and is creating his own space on the circuit, but those English days taught him the double fold of success. “I noticed that he had more eyes on me and felt a lot more pressure. In the end, I was 18 years old and it was the greatest thing I had ever won in my life. I felt like I had to show that I could do well in every tournament, and that doesn’t help. I wasn’t terrified of playing, but I was scared. Later, the work with the psychologist and the day to day allowed me to continue. Somehow, over time, I have come to realize that it is a necessary fear that must be faced and overcome; it’s about that, overcoming fears and moving the chips forward ”, he says.

From the moment he lifted a couple of feet off the ground, the Andalusian was an electric child. Pure nerve. He began to rally on the promenade of his town with his father – a former boxer, Russian, like his mother – and at the age of 12 he began to receive therapeutic help from Antonio de Dios with the aim of focusing such a torrent of energy in the right direction . “And little by little I am channeling it, every time I am more stable …”, he jokes; “Before it was a taboo subject. It seemed that having a psychologist was saying something like: ‘this guy is bad…’. And none of that. You are not going to overcome your fears or enhance your strengths alone, it is impossible. You must have someone by your side who guides you and knows how your head works ”, he continues.

In any case, his spirit is still intact. “I still have that little boy heart. In the end, that point of madness defines my game. Each player has his style and if I lost that essence, it would be very noticeable in my game, ”says Davidovich, who resolved his debut in the tournament with a 6-4, 6-4 and 6-3 to Mikhail Kukushkin.

“I have my moments and I do some crazy things that others might not do [suele recurrir al saque por abajo y se viralizó un willie extraordinario (golpe por debajo de las piernas, de espaldas) que le hizo a Djokovic durante un entrenamiento en Marbella], but tennis is giving you peace of mind over the years and I am more and more calm, because if I play all the points with that little bit of anxiety, I would not be where I am now nor would I continue to grow ”, adds Davidovich, a versatile young man who relaxes with the cook and enjoy the dishes of DJ; also committed to the animal cause.

Therefore, he has designed a support platform to facilitate the care and adoption of dogs, cats and other pets. “When the covid started, I saw a news story saying that dropouts had multiplied by 25% in Spain, and it seemed very sad to me; Other than that, we are the country with the highest drop-out rate in Europe, which is not good. When I read that, my chip changed ”, he explains before acknowledging that“ until a year ago I didn’t see tennis, zero ”; Later, however, he has rectified, “because seeing others inspires you, and as you enter the circuit, you need to learn what the players do at certain times. Yes Rafa, Djoko or Federer fail, how can I not do it? You learn to relativize ”.

During the past course, interrupted and misses his first season on the ATP circuit, the Malaga native managed to progress to the eighth of the US Open, becoming the first 21-year-old Spaniard to reach the level since Rafael Nadal (Australian Open 2008). In this, his performance chart also reflects meritorious results, with the eighth in Rome, the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo and Montpellier, and the semi-finals in Estoril.

“I am very young and I am still finding myself, but I am hungry and I am going to go for it. I’m nodding my head ”, he says convinced; “How far will I go? I do not know. Once I made it into the top 100, everything has gone more smoothly. I want to be up there because that’s my place, I train ful weekly. I don’t like losing even to boules. In 10 years I would like to be in the top-3; yes, the day these three retire [Nadal, Federer y Djokovic], because if it doesn’t seem complicated … [risas]”.

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