In 2019, the German player Dominik Koepfer surprised everyone by reaching the 4th round of the prestigious US Open. He achieved this through an unconventional route, winning three matches in the qualification draw and three matches in the main draw. Unfortunately, he lost in a thrilling match against Medvedev.

Dominik learned to play at the BW Villingen Club in Germany, where he developed his game playing club matches and attending club training a few times a week.  Until the age of 16, Dominik was more of a “social” player in terms of hours on court, when compared to most competitive juniors, and it wasn’t until he arrived at Tulane University that he increased his training volume to a more demanding and “normal” three to four hours a day schedule. 

Under the tutelage of his coach Marc Boras, Dominik improved all aspects of his game, and by his senior year, he was among the best players in college tennis. He joined the pro tour after graduation, and two years later, his dream of playing in the big leagues came true when he reached the second round of Wimbledon 2019 and the fourth round at the US Open.

Our interview: “The Koepfer Story” describes this unusual path to Wimbledon in detail, but here are a few lessons for parents, coaches and players:

  1. Every player is different and matures differently.  Do not panic, follow your path.
  2. Train hard and set new goals based on actual results. Be flexible and change your goals as needed.
  3. Work on your fitness.  So much in tennis is out of your control but being in the best shape possible is totally up to you. 
  4. The mental aspect of the game is very important and needs to be constantly addressed.  Make sure you continually work on becoming a better competitor. 
  5. Tennis is a lonesome game and many times it feels like you are taking on the world by yourself. Seek team competition like high school tennis, college tennis and interclub tournaments.  It is a great way to challenge yourself in a slightly more supportive environment
  6. Play doubles as often as possible to improve your net game and serve and return.  It is a great way to improve your overall skill level.
  7. A good coach, parent, player team is essential.  Make sure all understand their roles and let the others do their work. A well coordinated team can be very effective as long as they are working together towards a common goal. 
  8. It is ok to dream big but you need to plan your development one step at a time.

Watch inspirational slow motion videos.

Maintaining balance while executing the backhand return.

Controlling the forehand return