It has been a whirlwind year for Botic van de Zandschulp.
Over the past 12 months, the Dutchman has gone from outside the Top 150 of the Pepperstone ATP rankings to a career-high No. 29, exploring new cities and growing in confidence along the way.
“I think I’m doing pretty well this year. Playing consistently and winning matches every week in the tournaments I’ve been in,” van de Zandschulp told ATPTour.com ahead of his semi-final clash against Matteo Berrettini at the Cinch Championships in London.
“I live more like a professional than before. It started three or two years ago when I started to climb the ranks. I had more confidence in myself that I could first reach the Top 100 and then I focused on growth and I’m happy.”
Van de Zandschulp’s rise accelerated last year at the US Open, where he beat Top 15 stars Casper Ruud and Diego Schwartzman en route to the quarter-finals. From there, the results kept coming, with a Top 10 win over Andrey Rublev in St. Petersburg, followed by a first tour-level final in Munich in April.
“I think the confidence keeps going up when you beat higher ranked players,” van de Zandschulp said. “When you beat a guy who is in the Top 10, it gives you a boost of confidence. If that guy is in the Top 10, what is he doing well? You learn from those matches.
“I’m also more detailed than before with my diet. I pay more attention to what I eat now, I eat protein. I also like sushi a lot. It’s easy and you can mix it up a bit and I think it’s very pleasant.
Van de Zandschulp’s rise opened up more opportunities on and off the pitch. This season, the 29-year-old has made his debut at four ATP Masters 1000 events, allowing him to visit new cities.
“I spoke with my coach and I wanted to play a lot of tournaments this year, to find out which ones I like. I played big tournaments. Monte Carlo was great and I had never played there before. Rome was brilliant “said van de Zandschulp. “I played in Miami and Indian Wells and they are beautiful tournaments. It’s more traveling, but you get to nicer places.
“In Rome, I stayed with my girlfriend for an extra day and explored the city. Normally I’m not a guy who visits the city during the tournament, but she wants to see things. We went to the Colosseum, the [Spanish] Not. It was nice. Buildings are amazing in Rome.
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Alongside his sightseeing outings, the Dutchman has also met other sports stars he might not have had if he hadn’t risen through the ranks in his own discipline.
“I went to more places. I was invited to a padel tournament and footballers were there. That’s one of the advantages,” van de Zandschulp said. “You meet some of the guys who play different sports who are doing well, and that’s cool.”
For the 29-year-old, success on the pitch has meant a busier schedule. While van de Zandschulp sometimes finds his “new” life tiring, he is grateful for the continued support his family and friends have given him.
“Before when I was in tournaments it was exhausting and then when I went home I rested. I now think the weeks I am in Holland are more exhausting than when I am on tournaments”, he admitted “I do so much more outside of tennis than before, people like to talk to me. You have to choose what you want to do.
“I’m grateful to my friends and family who always supported me when things didn’t go my way. I’m just happy that they stayed the same with me. They treat me the same way and don’t go my way. have not changed at all. They are proud.
Van de Zandschulp will be looking to continue making his family and friends happy this weekend as he aims to claim his maiden UKTN title in London. If he can do that, he’ll tick off yet another long-term goal.
“I finished last season around No. 55, so my first goal was to be in the Top 50. Then I made the Top 50, 40 and now 30. [I am] try to improve and enjoy my game and play new tournaments,” van de Zandschulp said. “Winning an UKTN tournament is one of the things you really want. I was close in Munich, but unfortunately I had to retire [in the final]. It’s definitely one of my goals.
“I kept changing my goals but most importantly [thing] is to continue to progress in my level and my own tennis. I think when you do that, the rest comes.