20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is undeniably coming towards the end of his celebrated career on the ATP tour. Given the inevitable and the visible decline of three-time champion Stan Wawrinka too, many Swiss fans have been wondering about how will take the baton from the legendary Swiss duo.
That said, 18-year-old Dominic Stricker has been making a statement or two in the circuit lately. He was also seen practicing with Federer in Dubai, earlier in the year.
Now, after Stricker’s record-breaking men’s doubles title win on home soil, with partner Marc-Andrea Huesler, there is an air of expectancy around the youngster. The Swiss pair beat the Polish duo Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski 6-1, 7-6(7) to lift the Swiss Open Gstaad trophy on Sunday.
Stricker/Huesler were competing in just their second ATP Tour event together, dropped only one set en route to the title. Even in the finals, they were dominant on serve, winning 34 of their 35 first-service points.
‘It is always great to win a title, but to win with another Swiss guy is different’: Stricker
In the process, Stricker also became the tournament’s youngest ever champion, surpassing the 39-year-old Federer, who won his first-doubles title at the age of 19 alongside two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin.
“It is something very special to win my first title at home,” Stricker told ATP tour. “It is always great to win a title, but to win with another Swiss guy is different. Hopefully we can win another one.”
“We both started off serving really well, and the return games were going our way,” Huesler said. “We almost didn’t miss a shot in the first set, but in doubles that can go very fast. Our opponents put up a fight in the second set, but we were almost untouchable on our service games and that is probably why we won the match.”
Considering that tennis can be funny, it is tough to predict the path that lies in front of Stricker. However, the Swiss fans will be pinning their hopes on the 18-year-old to be their country’s flag bearer in time to come.