French No32 seed Lucas Pouille credits a move to Dubai for his recent surge in form and results, noting his preseason training block in the UAE heat as a major factor in his improved fitness.
Pouille was ranked just inside the top-100 this time last year and he started the 2016 season at No78 in the world.
Today, he is a top-30 player, and will face No10 seed Tomas Berdych in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Pouille, the son of a French father and Finnish mother, had never won a single match on grass prior to this fortnight. He was 0-4 lifetime on this surface and had never made it past the second round at a major.
He took out Juan Martin del Potro to reach the fourth round here at Wimbledon before coming through a tough five-setter to beat No19 seed and former quarter-finalist Bernard Tomic.
“I’m playing aggressive, trying to approach the net as much as possible, trying to dominate the point, to be on the baseline, and not to be so far away and run every time. Yeah, I think aggressive player,” Pouille said when asked to describe his style of play.
Aggressive is an apt word. He has hit a combined number of 148 winners in his last two rounds alone.
The rain has meant that several players have had to play on back-to-back days throughout the majority of the first week and Pouille was no exception. The 22-year-old has spent nine hours and 13 minutes on court so far, in singles, and competed on four consecutive days before finally getting a day off yesterday.
“I think I worked very hard. I changed couple of things. End of December I was in Dubai, I practiced hard under the sun. It was hot, difficult conditions. That’s why I think I can play every day here. I was able to do it,” said Pouille following his victory over Tomic in the fourth round.
“At the end I was maybe, yeah, more fresh than him. Yeah, I think that’s the main reason.”
He admits he exceeded his own expectations by having this run at Wimbledon, particularly on a surface he had never won a match on in the past.
“Before the tournament, my expectation was to win one match on grass,” said Pouille with a smile.
“Yeah, now, of course, I’m very happy, very emotional. I will try to recover as good as possible for Wednesday. It will be my first day off tomorrow, so it will be good. But, yeah, now trying to reach the semi-final.”
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