di Daniele Sforza
After graduating in high school, everyone asks himself one of the most important questions about his own future: “ And now what can I do? Work, study or do I decide, if I had a chance to play a sport with good results, to focus on it practicing at competitive levels?”.
For sure Yannick Hanfmann, asked himself something like that, after he graduated. The difference between the young man from Karlsruhe (city that hosts the Federal Court of Justice and therefore called City of law) and many other people is represented by sport, in fact Yannick is quite a good tennis player and, he received many offers from American universities too, at the same time, he studies and continues to practice as tennis player.
It looks like the plot from a movie that we watched so many times with players, Italian and not, who decided to follow this “American” way, mostly with success. We can think about the story of Paola Cigui or, on the topic of the Atp circuit, of Tim Puetz or of the guy who defeated Italy in Davis Cup, Oleksandr Nedovyesov, who got a degree in Economy in Oklahoma State University and now plays tennis, travelling in the world, as a top 100 in the Atp rankings. Even more so, if we think about John Isner, who, after obtaining a degree at the university of Georgia, has reached the top 10 of the Atp rankings, we can understand how everything is possible.
But this week’s story is another. We are in Indian Wells, California, for the first Atp Master 1000 of the season and in the qualies there is a WC given to an unknown name to the most, given to Yannick Hanfmann – a very relaxed guy and easy to approach.He has been played in the spot of Paul Henri Mathieu and Edouard Roger Vasselin, who, in the meanwhile, has beaten the Argentine Andreozzi. Yannick was on court against the former ATP top 15 but the emotion got on him badly, bringing him down 4 games to 0 and 30*-0 on Mathieu’s serve. It seemed like the classic easy win for the French guy against a WC ranked outside world’s best 600 but this was not true. The German recovered the two break of disadvantage and reached the tiebreak, taking it on the forth set point, after saving one himself. In the second set, after getting an early break lead, everything seemed easy with the German that only in one game, on 4*2, went down 15-30, but he won 3 points in a row sizing the game and eventually the set 6-3. The qualification into the main draw got very close, in fact Hanfmann lost in the deciding round against Roger Vasselin 64 36 64, despite being 4-4 30-30 in the third set with Vasselin on serve.
“I remember I hit a great return winner to get to 30-30 and thought I had a great opportunity,” said the German. “But I think I got ahead of myself instead of staying in the moment. Throughout the match I thought I can win it anytime I think”.
But how did Yannick get a WC in the first place? ”Our head coach at the university knows the tournament director of IW and that is how I got the WC,” he admitted. “The matches were great. They showed me that I can play at this level, however showing me lots of things to improve”.
Tennis is something that always characterized Hanfmann’s family and that’s the reason why Yannick started playing on the tennis court. “ Both my parents played tennis and so I started as well. But my first sport was soccer”.
After high school, the decision of college was something easy, because he had clear ideas about his future. “ I received a scholarship which helps me pay for tuition in an American university and still play tennis on a high level,” he said. “For me it was only logical because I thought I wasn’t ready yet for the pro tour and I knew this could help me prepare for the future in tennis but also give me a great academic degree. I never really played pro circuit before coming to college, only a few tournaments. Right after graduating high school I went to college”.
One of the favourite college for Germans is the one in Baylor, where players like Becker, Dorsch or Lenz grew up, but Yannick’s choice did not follow. “Baylor asked me as well but I heard good things about USC (University of Southern California) and eventually made the decision to go there”.
But what is the main reason behind the choice for a college, that’s for sure something tough? “You can combine a high level of pro sport with a high level of academic education, therefore its a win-win situation,” he admitted. “I don’t really have bad things to say other than that it’s hard to manage time sometimes because you have a lot of things to do”.
“A usual day would be getting up early for morning workout, then go to classes until afternoon then practice for a couple hours and then either more classes or studying until evening”.
His experience in college is almost over though.
“I will get a degree in international relations,” he said. “In the summer I’ll start playing on the pro tour and after my pro career I might want to get my masters degree”.
Having played so little on the pro circuit, almost none will have watched the German hitting on the tennis courts, so he helped us by giving a description of his game. “ I have a good serve and very solid backhand,” he revealed. “My forehand is risky but powerful and also I have good volleys. I’m in the early stages of my tennis career so I will try and improve all parts of my game.
“My goal in tennis is to reach my fullest potential and be happy about the effort and work I put in at the end when I look back. I don’t know what the future holds but I have a lot of things that I want to do later in life”.
“I love all kinds of sports and follow soccer, basketball, American football the most, I also play other sports whenever I have the chance to. I’m also interested in politics and the foreign policy of the important countries”.