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Getting to know Yannick Hanfmann

Getting to know Yannick Hanfmann

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by Alessandro Mastroluca

Enjoy the silence. Yannick Hanfmann, hearing impaired since his birth, plays in Gstaad his eighth ATP match and his first semifinal. The 25-year-old reached the quarter-finals at Munich in his ATP World Tour debut, as he saved a match point to Bellucci before losing to Bautista Agut.

In Gstaad he did even better. The German pulled out three-set wins in as many matches, including a Round 16 elimination of No. 3 seed and defending champion Feliciano Lopez and the comeback victory to Joao Sousa 6-7(10) 6-2 6-2.

In his second ATP quarter-final, Hanfmann missed two set points at 7/6 and 9/8 in the first set tie-break, but he managed to seal the crucial success that will launch into the top 150 for the first time in his career. Thanks to the first ATP semifinal, in fact, he projected to climb at least to No.143.

Born in Karlsruhe Hanfmann was born in Karlsruhe, which translates as "Charles’ repose", founded in 1715 by Charles III William Margrave of Baden-Durlach. Karslruhe, seat of the two highest courts in Germany, thev Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Court of Justice is a city of lawyers: the street where their chambers were founded bears the name to a Reinhold Frank who worked for the resistance in Nazi Germany.

Famous for having held the first the first-ever international professional convention of chemists in 1860, Karlsruhe gave its birth to Richard Willstätter, recipient of 1915 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. It's also a city of sportsmen, birthplace among others of three legends of the Mannschaft, the German national team: the striker Oliver Bierhoff, who scored the first golden goal in the history of major international football in the Euro 96 final, the goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and Mehmet Scholl, a midfielder who played for the local squad and at Bayern Munich.

Despite both his parents are tennis coaches, Hanfmann started playing soccer too. Hearing impaired At school and college, Hanfmann, born with this kind of difficulty from birth, had to use a hearing aid.

“It doesn’t affect my tennis. Sometimes, it is even helpful, as I do not hear everything what is going on around the court,”the Karlsruhe native laughed in a press-conference at BMW Open in Munich.“I only have to tell it to the umpires, who do not speak loudly”- Former USC student After high school, Hanfmann decided to go to college.

He refused an offer from Baylor, one of the most considered universities in Germany where Boris Becker had grown up, but finally he decided to leave to the United States and attend the University of Southern California, thanks to a 90 percent scholarship.

He thought not to be ready for the pro tour, and getting a degree became a win-win option to prepare his future beyond tennis. He remained four years at USC, playing in doubles alongside Steve Johnson with the Trojans. In his freshman year, 2011-2012, he finished ranked No.51 in singles and No.8 in doubles clinching defining singles wins for the Trojans in both the NCAA Team Championship and the ITA National Team Indoor Championship matches.

ITA All American in singles in 2012-2013, the next season he earned such honors both in singles and doubles (he played with with Ray Sarmiento) as he played at the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles spots in USC's run to the team's 100th NCAA Championship in 2014.

"I've had great years that shaped me," he said. College tennis , John Isner had often remarked, is a very competitive environment, capable to forge young players's spirit and prepare them to the pro circuit.

He had played for Georgia University, the USC arch-rivals, and in 2007 won to Somdev Devvarman what is considered the best NCAA singles final ever. After his graduation in 2015 Hanfmann went back to Germany, to the TennisBase in Oberhaching near Munich where he now trains under Lars Uebel.

"It was important for him to improve continuously in the ranking”, Uebel said. “I do not see myself as a veteran, I'm on the road for two years, still in a positive development, and I think there's a little more” said the Karlsruhe-born.

“Playing as a pro, I know more about what I have to do on the pitch," he admitted. Risky forehand Hanfmann has a good serve and a solid backhand. In the early stages of his career, he worked to build an all-court game, marked by a risky and powerful forehand and deft volleys.

He's an all-round sportsman as well, following soccer, basketball, American football while playing other disciplines whenever he can. Interested in politics and diplomacy, this year he advanced to round 16 at Stuttgart (l.

to Zverev) and made the breakthrough in the Challenger circuit. At Bergamo, as a qualifier, he had played his first quarter-final at Bergamo where he became the first to beat Andreas Seppi in the tournament history before losing to the #NextGen Quentyn Halys.

Then he advanced to his maiden ATP Challenger semifinal and final at Shymkent, Kazakhstan (d. Taberner, l. to Berankis). Because all he aver needed to write a story of success is in his arms. .

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