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5 Things To Know About Ymer, Who’s Going To Milan

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Last year, Mikael Ymer could only watch the Next Gen ATP Finals. But this year, he’ll join some of the world’s best 21-and-under players at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 5-9 November at the Allianz Cloud in Milan.

The 21-year-old Swede is the final direct qualifier for the award-winning event. Here are five things to know about Ymer.

1. He is keenly aware of the sacrifices his family made
Ymer and his brother were born in Sweden to Ethiopian parents. And although they have the pleasure of travelling the world as professional tennis players, they are well aware of the sacrifices their parents made to give them the many opportunities they have had so far. Their parents left war-torn Ethiopia in the 1980s to start a new life in Sweden.

“When it gets tougher, I have that in the back of my head, that people have sacrificed a lot. My family has sacrificed more or less their lives for us to be able to do this. So I’m not only playing for me. Having that in the back of my mind always helps me,” Mikael said. “Sometimes I’m still going to fail, but it definitely helps me to make sure I do the work. It also motivates me.”

2. He loves running
Ymer’s father, Wondwosen, was a professional runner in the marathon and 10K distances. And the plan was for Ymer and his older brother, Elias Ymer, to become professional runners. “It definitely runs in the blood,” Mikael said.

Despite his budding tennis career, he was still running a lot up until two years ago. “Now I have to change a little bit, because of my body, how it’s reacting to it. But every chance I get, I try to run. I enjoy it. I think it’s very good, very good for the head and the body,” Mikael said.

3. Tennis is in the family
Elias, 23, is currently No. 130 in the ATP Rankings. Together, they won the 2016 Intrum Stockholm Open doubles title.

“It’s been unreal,” Mikael said at the time. “We clicked really well and played some great doubles. I’m really happy with this win and I’m excited for our future together in doubles.”

More About Ymer
Ymer Brothers Take Stockholm Doubles Title
Mikael’s Magical Month, Back-To-Back Challenger Titles
Ymer Cracks Top 100
Ymer Wins #NextGenATP Battle In Bastad

4. He enjoyed Grand Slam success in Paris
Ymer checked a couple of career-first boxes at Roland Garros this season. He qualified for his first major and won his first Grand Slam match (d. Rola) before falling to eventual quarter-finalist Alexander Zverev in the second round.

I’m happy with how I fought. That was one of my main goals before, that I’m going to leave it all out there,” Ymer said of the Zverev match. “I wish I could replay the match, but there are still positive things to bring with me and that I look forward to working on.

It’s a great first Grand Slam… Four wins here in Paris is not easy at all, of course I bring that with me. I got my first best-of-five match in a big arena, so next time I come out I can be a little more focussed on actually winning the match and not too much about the circumstances.”

5. He is playing the best tennis of his life right now
Ymer has won two ATP Challenger Tour titles in the past month to climb 31 spots in the ATP Rankings, from No. 105 to No. 74. Ymer won the ATP Challenger title in Orleans, beating former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals. The next week, the Swede took the title in Mouilleron le Captif, France.

I think I played well from the beginning of the tournament,” Ymer said. “I had some tight matches because my opponents had a very good level in the first few stages. I had to get used to the surface, which is a little different here, with the [orange] colour. But once I took my bearings, I felt better and better.”

For the season, Ymer has won four Challenger crowns, best among the current #NextGenATP group.

2019 #NextGenATP Challenger Title Leaders

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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