Johan Nikles will remember this win for the rest of his life. It’s his first on the ATP tour.
In front of his home crowd, the 25-year-old from Geneva defeated his compatriot Leandro Riedi (ATP 237) on Tuesday, after more than 210 minutes of play and six match points saved (5:7 7:6 7:5). “It’s the best moment of my career,” said Nikles in the subsequent press conference.
A culinary superstition
But how can this late breakthrough in the big leagues be explained? Never before has Nikles managed to qualify for the peloton at this level. “Everyone goes their own way,” he says. “I can do it when I’m 25, others like Alcaraz can do it much earlier. As long as I enjoy it, I’ll keep going.”
Johan Nikles admits that he is a bit superstitious and a little playful. “I had dinner with friends the night before my first qualifying game. I had pasta with pesto burrata and won. I did that after the second round and again on Monday. I won’t change my menu now.” He even took the joke to the point of posting a hashtag on social media (#patespestoburrata).
“Maybe there’s something better for the character, but if it works…” jokes Nikles.
Now Nikles is sleeping in the palace
The sudden success already has something good: his good performance enabled Nikles to move from the three-star hotel reserved for qualifiers to the Palace of Stars. “It’s still a nicer room,” he laughs.
The Geneva native is expected back on Center Court to challenge Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor on Wednesday afternoon. World No. 64 will be an opponent of a different caliber. “I’ll have to deliver a really big game to beat him.”