Zapata and the award for an excellent year
Step by step, burning steps, but with a fierce character, without fear of any rival, Bernabé Zapata, at 25, has become a formidable player in any tournament. The Valencian broke the top 100 barrier this year, in May, and only accelerated. That same month, after completing the fourth Challenger of his career, at Meerbusch, he rose from 89th to 74th position, his best ever. Now he will play the US Open going straight to the main draw, being the first time he hasn’t needed to play the previous round. Another peak, a new barrier broken within his best season yet, which had already been forged.
In 2021, Zapata has beaten the qualifier in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. A glimpse of what was to come. This year, he repeated at Wimbledon… and at a memorable Roland Garros. Michael Mmoh, Taylor Fritz and John Isner. No one could stop the Valencian’s advance in Paris, who reached the round of 16 being the first Spaniard to do so since the previous one. World number two Alexander Zverev in a tough match, with a tie-break in the first set and 7-5 in the second setHe was the only one who could get her out of the way. “Very happy, because there is no better place for the fruits of labor to come out. I don’t know if it’s my ceiling, but I’ll leave calmly if I’ve given everything”, remarked before falling to the German player. Along the way, Isner’s 16 titles or Indian Wells champion had been left behind.
Also, a whole life dedicated to tennis, which has grown to continue, as in the United States, through ever larger doors. With Rafa Nadal as a reference, as well as David Ferrer or Roberto Bautista, and Pablo Andújar, with whom he lives in Valencia, always in the compass. The Navy grows with the Navy. In each case, with its particularities. “The progress of Rafa and Carlos is extraordinary, you shouldn’t put too much pressure on it, everyone has their own path,” Zapata himself analyzed for AS after his success in France. In his case, he had to row to be able to pay for the first trips. At each moment of difficulty, an answer, as during his first futures contracts or in Genevawhere he managed to pass the preliminaries of his first ATP, entering the elite with force.
Like at home
In New York, “Berni”, as he calls himself to cheer himself up, wants to relive behind the scenes in Paris. The country, to his liking, and the sporting conditions nourish hope. Solid and explosive, very aggressive, the courts of Flashing Meadows are perfectly suited to his tennis, impetuous and temperamental, but also orderly. Since he started working with Nacho Márquez in 2017, Zapata has made a qualitative leap in his physique: he is lighter, to gain resistance, but also more powerful. This is one of the keys that he and his team put forward to understand the latest successes. This is one of the reasons why, in 2022, after winning his first Challenger in 2020, against Carlos AlcarazZapata will play a great as one of the greats.
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