The little bell rings: Last call for Jiri Vesely

Born in 1993, Jiri Vesely is not a new name in the ATP circuit. Still, the big Czech guy is often ignored in the list of new future talent. Why?

We often forget Jiri Vesely when speaking about the young interesting players for the future of ATP tennis. Maybe wrongly, maybe rightly, yet the native of Pribram surprised everyone a few years ago thanks to his stunning performances in the junior circuit, crowned by a deserved Slam title achieved in Australia in 2011. Therefore, Vesely’s name has not come under the spotlight in recent months, but for more than a couple of years it has regularly been in the entry list of the most important Challengers and ATP tournaments. Nevertheless, the mighty Czech player has just turned 23 a few days ago and therefore is ready to experience the best years of his career. If the future seems represented and entrusted to the talents of the next generation (Zverev, Fritz, Coric, Ymer), it should be underlined that Dominic Thiem has quickly reached the elite of men’s tennis only this year, as a 23 years old like Jiri Vesely.

The difference between the two is noticeable: if Thiem mixes his accuracy of shots with elegance, character, game variety and especially rapid moving, Vesely largely relies on the power of its serve and forehand in the first place. Almost two meters high, the Czech takes advantage of its body to play quick points in an attempt to avoid long rallies and endless runs on the baseline. However, unlike many other equally tall and physically powerful players, Vesely has proved himself able to significantly improve his mobility and court coverage, allowing himself to challenge the game of many of the best players in the world.

The natural question arising is: how far Jiri Vesely can go? As a former number one in the world of while playing in the junior circuit, expectations are huge on him and Jiri has not been able to fulfill them so far. In his poor palmares as a professional player figure one ATP title, won in a not-so-prestigious location like Auckland at the beginning of 2015, and a final on clay in Bucharest, when he lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Not enough for the boy who used to lead juniores rankings five years ago. Yet Vesely, who is still not ready to represent Czech Republic’s future after Berdych, has been able to show some flashes of talent this year, for the hope and joy of the fans who always believed in him.

With 41 games played so far this year and only 22 wins, numbers do not seem to give reason to the talent of the Czech player, but analyzing the matches he played we can find some great surprises. The first, back in April, is perhaps the most interesting one: we are in Monte Carlo and it’s time to play the second round of the Monaco Masters 1000. Vesely, who was just two points away from a defeat vs Gabashvili in the previous round, is now on the Centre Court against the favourite of the tournament, Novak Djokovic. The epilogue of the match looks already written but the evidence is different as there is only one player on court who does not miss a shot with his powerful forehand. For once, we are not talking about the Serbian and Jiri Vesely becomes the only player along with Andy Murray and Sam Querrey to beat Djokovic this year. A miracle, some say.

Wimbledon is another key moment for Jiri. The second round of the British slam sees Dominic Thiem in front of Vesely: on the one hand stands the future, represented by the consistent Austrian workaholic, on the other hand there is an unexpected surprise impersoned by Jiri Vesely. They are both 22 years old but their styles of playing and destinies are completely different: a cloudy sky over Wimbledon’s courts witnesses a different match from the expectations and Jiri Vesely tops his opponent without dropping a set. Another miracle, maybe. Jiri faces then Joao Sousa, easily winning against him too. Vesely’s dream run ends on fourth round, when he faces his mentor and country-leader, Tomas Berdych. In spite of starting the match against the odds, Vesely challenges his experienced opponent and has also 5 match points before losing 6-3 in the fifth set. On the verge of a miracle, for this time.

Flashes of Vesely, flashes of lovely tennis. Of course, we are far from talking about the next number one in the world but certainly the current number 49 of the ATP rankings has all it takes to shine on the important stages of the circuit. The time has come and the latest surprising performances sound like a cheerful, merry, little bell which rings just for Jiri Vesely. To follow Dominic Thiem’s footsteps will not be easy: the little bell starts ringing louder and louder and now we can all hear it too.

Is this the last call for Jiri Vesely?

Alex Theodoridis
Alex Theodoridis
Skribent och grundare av Tennisportalen.

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