Challenger Flashback: When Zizou Bergs Defeated His Coach En Route To Ilkley Title | ATP Tour


Zizou Bergs is aiming to defend his title this week on the ATP Challenger Tour occasion in Ilkley, however this time across the Belgian is not going to need to face his coach Ruben Bemelmans, whom he defeated en path to the ‘largest title of his profession’ one 12 months in the past.

The 24-year-old Bergs began working with former World No. 84 Bemelmans simply three weeks earlier than they had been standing throughout the web from one another on the Ilkley Trophy final season. Forward of the match, Bergs was having fun with dinner along with his workforce when Bemelmans checked his telephone and noticed the Ilkley Challenger qualifying draw for the primary time.

“He began laughing tremendous arduous and I used to be like, ‘Do not say we play one another first spherical!’” Bergs recalled to “It is truly fairly humorous. It was loopy, we appeared on the attracts, first spherical of qualies towards one another. He was there as my coach but additionally as a participant. We began working part-time across the time of Roland Garros.”

The following day, then-ranked No. 207 Bergs defeated Bemelmans 7-6(5), 6-4 on the grass-court occasion and later superior to the principle draw. He didn’t cease there.

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Bergs went on a dream title run and saved a championship level to down Jack Sock within the closing.

“After our match, Ruben stayed in Ilkley to educate me. Immediately, I received my largest title,” Bergs stated. “That was undoubtedly a particular second.”

Bemelmans’ qualifying match towards Bergs, which was his penultimate match as a professional participant, is one which might be a narrative for them to inform for years to come back.

“I bear in mind my first match level I used to be like, ‘This could possibly be the final level of Ruben Bemelmans!’” Bergs stated. “Then the second match level once more… Then it occurred and I felt so unhealthy that I received that match as a result of his profession was like over. However then after the match I stated, ‘Are you effective?’ and he stated, ‘Yeah, it was emotional, however I actually had enjoyable this match and I performed effectively, so I am very happy.’”

<a href=Zizou Bergs triumphs on the 2022 Ilkley Trophy.” />
Zizou Bergs triumphs on the 2022 Ilkley Trophy. Credit score: Lewis Storey/Getty Photos for LTA

In October, the 35-year-old Bemelmans obtained a qualifying wild card on the ATP 250 occasion in Antwerp, the place he put a bow on his profession in entrance of a house crowd. Bergs has continued his progress on the ATP Challenger Tour. In February, he reached a career-high No. 112 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and two months later, he captured his fifth Challenger title in Tallahassee, Florida.

Bergs will subsequent start his Ilkley Challenger title defence Sunday towards fifth seed Jurij Rodionov.


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