MUNICH—When making the jump from the grind of weekly Challengers to battling regularly on the ATP tour, learning how to manage a playing schedule is a core class every newcomer must take. With greater competition, heightened expectations and increased wear and tear—to the body and mind—there isn’t a simple pass-fail option in this course.
For Botic van de Zandschulp, mastering the art of knowing when to play and pull back is a chief priority that supersedes rankings and tournament targets during the 2022 season.
“It's the first full year on the ATP tour. It’s a little bit different from the Challenger tour. For example, choosing the right tournaments, making tough decisions if you can play almost every week,” he told press at the BMW Open Friday.
“Making a good schedule, trying to play 25, 26 tournaments throughout the year. And staying physically fit. That’s my main goal.”
After losing in Monte Carlo, the 26-year-old—who at this time last year was ranked No. 154 as he balanced entering Challengers with bids to qualify at tour-level tournaments—took a week off from the competition arena to give his lower back a chance to rest. Listening has paid off in a rewarding way.
Now ranked a career-high No. 40 and feeling 100 percent in Munich, van de Zandschulp impressed Friday afternoon when he stormed past world No. 7 Casper Ruud, 7-5, 6-1, to reach his first semifinal of the year. After missing three break points in the opening set, the Dutchman broke through in the 11th game to gain control of the clash.
“I served pretty well, played aggressive in my own games. That put some pressure on him, I think,” he said.