Denmark's top-ranked player Mikael Torpegaard says he is happy to be back in the world's Top 200 which will enable him to play the qualifying rounds at the Grand Slams this year, in an interview to Ekstra Bladet. The 25 year old Dane recently won an ATP Challenger in Cleveland and then reached the semi-final of another Challenger in Columbus, which have helped improve his ranking.
"It was very good timing. Both in terms of my confidence and my ranking, where I had to defend some points from my tournament victories last year. So now I'm back in the Top 200 after being dropped, and now I'm sure to be able to play grand slam qualification this year.
It is the first step - both mentally and financially - because there is quite a lot of money as you go up the rankings and maybe win a round. It gives you some peace of mind that four times a year you can get that injection of funds I still have my sponsors over there and support from Columbus, so it doesn't stress me out, but it's nice to be self-sufficient."
Torpegaard says his next goal is to reach the Top 100. "I think I'm on a good course from the beginning of the year. But there must also be more victories in two-three challenger tournaments (just below the ATP level) before I reach the Top 100.
It's going to be harder and harder the next piece, so I have to find a high, stable level. But the good results of late has given me the belief that I can win more of them. It is extremely important that I get off to a good start to the year.
I have worked very mentally and have started working much closer with my mental trainer over in Columbus. I've had more peace of mind in my game and rely more on trust in the process than on the results. It has given me the confidence to think more about doing the right thing.
I talk to him before and after matches but also after training. He is also a trained tennis coach. I have been working with him for a year but have really understood the importance now. Now it's all about stability and the belief in it.
He is very important to me." He is also playing the Davis Cup this weekend for Denmark against Puerto Rico in Holbæk, although his manager is not very happy with his decision. "My manager has been a little against me being taken home to play the Davis Cup in recent times, because in terms of points it doesn't matter.
But it means me so much to come home and say hello to those you love. That way, it's a mental break that means a lot to me." And he also has support in Denmark's Davis Cup captain Frederik Løchte Nielsen, who feels that Torpegaard is on the right path.
"It is important for him to identify what it takes to get to the Top 100 players. He has shown that he can continuously perform at the challenger level, has found several tournaments and been in finals. He plays well against players who are 200-300.
The next thing is to find out what will make the difference to the next step. There are players not as good as him who have been in the Top 100. The tennis is there and he has a good set up and a good mentality, so of course it's an opportunity."