How Struff Made History By Becoming First-Ever Lucky Loser to Reach ATP 1000 Final

How Struff Made History By Becoming First-Ever Lucky Loser to Reach ATP 1000 Final

by Kadir Macar

Last updated

Jan Lennard Struff made history at the 2023 Madrid Open by surpassing long-standing records at ATP Masters 1000 events.

In 2004, Thomas Johansson reached semifinals of the ATP 1000 event in Toronto as a lucky loser and 12 years later, Lucas Pouille did the same thing in Rome. However, no player ever reached the final of an ATP 1000 tournament as a lucky loser, until Jan Lennard Struff.

After having a great week in Monte Carlo, the German lost already in the first round at his home event in Munich and quickly moved to the Spanish capital. Due to insufficient ranking, Struff had to play qualifying, as he only narrowly missed out on the main draw spot, as the first seed in the qualifying.

In the first round, he defeated Italian Luca Nardi, but his final opponent in the qualifying was very dangerous Aslan Karatsev, who reached 14th place in the ATP Rankings in the past. Struff lost the match and it seemed that he will exit another tournament early.

However, he received one of the lucky loser spots in the main draw after a series of withdrawals and he could fight for wins again. He started against Lorenzo Sonego, then he defeated also American Ben Shelton, despite his incredible shot-making skills.

But Struff's journey didn't end there. He managed to beat also recent ATP 250 champion Dusan Lajovic and Pedro Cachin, before eliminating the fourth-seeded Stefanos Tstsipas. In the semifinals, he played a rematch of the qualifying finals against Aslan Karatsev, and this time he won to reach the 2023 Madrid Open final.

With his incredible run, he became the first person in the history of ATP 1000 tournaments to reach the final as a lucky loser. When the German was asked whether he could even imagine that he will make it all the way to the final of the main draw event after losing in the final of the qualifying, he reacted as expected.

"No, of course not. I mean, after the loss there, it wasn't a great match I played there in the quallies. I mean, I was very happy, it was my birthday there, I lost there, was very happy that I got chosen for Lucky Loser, that I had been drawn two out of three."

During the press conference, Struff was asked mostly about his accomplishment and even though he again mentioned how crazy of an achievement it is, he also shared a nice message with the world about how you should never give up.

"Yeah, it's just crazy. Like I said, I never would have expected this one to be in the finals after Lucky Loser. It's just if you have a second chance, yeah, I try to go for it. Now I'm here in the finals. It's just incredible journey and story, here in Madrid, and very, very happy. Yeah, just that you shouldn't give up and try again always."

When asked about his final opponent, Carlos Alcaraz who was celebrating his birthday on the semifinal day, the German remembered that he beat him in their last meeting but also knows that a lot changed since then.

"Yeah, I mean, Carlos is now 20 years old today. We played in Roland Garros when he was 18. For a young player like him, he changed so much in this time. When we see what he achieved in this last two years, it's just amazing."


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