An amazing debut year for Tim van Rijthoven

It was one year ago exactly that Tim van Rijthoven was added to the Dutch Davis Cup team. A satisfying reward following a difficult period during which he struggled with injury, it kicked off an amazing debut year as a tennis pro. After a series of appearances in the Futures, Tim soon made the step up to the Challengers. Winston-Salem was his first appearance at the very highest level: the ATP World Tour.

Tim has been working with his mentor Richard Krajicek for a little under two years now. Though initially the plan was for Tim to go his own way when he turned 18, the pair decided to continue their partnership. Richard Krajicek explains, ‘This is actually the most crucial and most difficult phase in a tennis player’s career. When you’re young so many of the arrangements are made for you, and then all of a sudden you have to start taking care of things yourself. So I suggested that I stay on as his mentor for a while longer.’

Richard’s role

Tim eagerly took him up on this offer. ‘Obviously Richard has so much experience. He’s seen it all, at the very highest level. Travelling, the media, the people around you, injuries: he advises me about everything.’ The people at Dutch tennis association KNLTB also helped to prepare Tim for the highest level.

Domestic performances

During the summer Tim was given a wildcard for the Hague Open, one of the two Challenger events in the Netherlands. For the first time he experienced what else the programme and his famous mentor could do for him besides just help him to play tennis. Interviews, promotional appearances, a clinic with children: everything was arranged. Happily his busy schedule did not interfere with his performances. Although he lost a very exciting match in round 1 of the singles event, he and his partner Tallon Griekspoor were much more successful in the doubles. They reached the final, and Tim had made his mark.

The video below gives an impression of everything he did during the tournament.

A regular on the Dutch Davis Cup team

Tim’s debut came in and against Switzerland. He lost his singles match against Henri Laaksonen, who showed in two sets (6-7 (11) 3-6) that he was too strong for the young debutant. However, the tie had already been decided by Switzerland’s powerhouses Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.

A year down the road things were very different. Tim was again on the team, facing Sweden this time. He played Sunday’s match, the last one of the tie. Although the Dutch team already had an unassailable 4-0 lead, this did not mean that Tim was any less motivated. Having been the underdog in 2015, now his ranking made him the favourite to win. He did not disappoint, beating Sweden’s Mikael Ymer in three sets: 6-7(1) 7-6(6) and 6-2.

Big leaps forward

By now Tim is ranked 300, the highest position of his career to date. His progress has been impressive: an incredible 880 places during the past twelve months. So how far will he go? That is impossible to predict, yet he remains as ambitious as ever. As Tim himself says, ‘This is only the beginning, the best is yet to come.’