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Lamine Ouahab wins one for every semi-pro in the world

Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that appears again on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon discusses Lamine Ouahab’s beautiful win in Marrakech.

They say you can not win if you don’t play.

We noticed proof of that final week in what’s undeniably the most surprising results of this younger season on the males’s facet, a surprising defeat from veteran and Top 30-mainstay Philipp Kohlsschreiber by the remaining rating of 2-6, 6-Zero and 7-6(three) at the palms of Lamine Ouahab, he of the No. 617 rating in the world.

Let’s depend on one other idiom right here, as a result of that is actually simply excellent and such a momentous event: this win was, as they are saying, one main win for Ouahab the man and an excellent larger one for all tennis membership execs throughout the world.


This wasn’t misplaced on Ouahab himself. “Obviously I’m very happy to win a match like this, especially at home. I’m very proud I was able to put up a fight and get through it,” Ouahab advised Sport360 after his win. “For me it’s a big opportunity to play these players. Maybe my ranking got lower because I’m not playing consistently but I believe I have the level to beat these guys, especially on a given match day. I’m very confident and try my best to win every match.”

Granted, Ouahab isn’t any slouch and isn’t truly a beer league participant. (That’s simply us being cute.) He’s been at it for a very long time now, having turned professional in 2002 and being a mainstay ever since, representing Algeria till 2013 after which switching to Morocco.  He as soon as beat No. 24-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and has a career-high rating of No. 114, which at first look appears fairly excessive however you then inform your self that it means that there have been solely 113 folks on this planet with extra aptitude than him on that week of 2009 and all of the sudden it’s extra spectacular than what you thought.

(The lesson, right here? If the No. 617-ranked participant in the world is that good, then there’s completely no manner any one of us armchair gamers may compete after we pester how participant X is taking part in so badly on any one day.)

But after all that’s removed from the most spectacular feat Ouahab has ever achieved. Way again when, the 33-year-old was as soon as a junior participant, and that’s the place he really shined. He beat none apart from Rafael Nadal in the boys’ semifinal at Wimbledon in 2002.

In different phrases, if Ouahab wasn’t King again then he wasn’t far off. “When I used to be 16 I made the semifinals at Roland Garros juniors,” he advised Sport 360. “I was No. 4 in the world as a junior. I beat Rafa, Berdych, Gasquet.”

And then he type of stopped beating all these guys. Performance at the junior degree is a undoubtedly poor predictor of future, ATP-level matches, however nonetheless. Just assume: Ouahab misplaced the 2002 Wimbledon title after dropping towards Todd Reid—you say «who?», and we are saying that’s the level.

But Ouahab didn’t cease successful merely by means of elements of his personal. “I had the alternative to play for France, however I didn’t do it to maintain taking part in for my nation,” Ouahab stated. “But unfortunately, the federation, the ministry, the sponsors … nobody cares.”


Nobody cares, and consequently Ouahab actually by no means managed to make a residing taking part in this sport he loves and for which he actually was and is sort of gifted: he’s amassed about $443,000 mixed for his singles and doubles efficiency by means of his profession. That’s not a lot, about 29,000 per yr since 2002.

This end result in Marrakech is proof that it’s dumb, lazy and too straightforward for all of us to complain at whomever’s disappointing outcomes on any given day: even the supposed dangerous execs are simply so unbelievably gifted and anybody really can beat anybody else. Because generally the distinction between an Ouahab and a, say, John Isner comes all the way down to a confluence of things.

The man may have presumably joined France and been giving the alternative to achieve entry to a a lot better infrastructure and help system. And possibly, who is aware of, just a few extra notable wins like this one final week.

But then he would have turned his again on his native nation. What type of alternative is that, particularly for a young person?

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG

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