Stricker pulls off junior double on historic day for Swiss tennis

With some advice from Federer, the No.7 seed wins Roland-Garros boys' singles and doubles trophies on Saturday

Dominic Stephan Stricker, Roland Garros 2020, junior final, trophy© Loïc Wacziak/FFT
 - Danielle Rossingh

The future of Swiss tennis is bright.

With Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka both well into their 30s, Swiss tennis fans can rest easy in the knowledge there is a hugely talented crop of young players coming through.

On a sunny Saturday in Paris, Dominic Stephan Stricker dominated Leandro Riedi to win the first Grand Slam junior final between two Swiss players 6-2, 6-4.

A few hours later, Stricker also won the boys’ doubles with his Italian partner Flavio Cobolli, as they beat the eighth-seeded Brazilians Natan Rodrigues and Bruno Oliveira 6-2, 6-4. 

“It was an unbelievable day,” Stricker told reporters, after he became the first player to win both the singles and doubles boys' titles at Roland-Garros since Guillermo Perez Roldan in 1986. “I cannot really describe what just happened today. But I think it's going to help me for sure for the future...I want to keep going.”

The last player to clinch the junior double at any junior Grand Slam was Wu Yibing a the 2017 US Open.

Stricker is the first Swiss player to win the junior boys’ title since his famous compatriot Wawrinka in 2003.

In January, Stricker practised with his famous countryman, 20-time major singles winner Federer. The former world No.1 gave him some useful advice.

“He actually said I should improve my serve,” said Stricker. “That's what I did actually. So I think my serve is pretty good now. So, yeah, it helped me a lot here.”

“I want to congratulate Leandro, he played a pretty good week,” Stricker had told the crowd during the trophy ceremony after beating his friend for the fourth time in as many meetings. “You guys are doing a great job, I hope we will be playing  in some more finals soon.”

The 18-year-old also thanked tournament organisers for making the event possible, adding: “For everyone, I think it was a pretty hard year, so I think it’s unbelievable to play this tournament.”

The No.7 seed is the eighth player from Switzerland to win a major junior title, and the first since Rebeka Masarova won the girls’ singles in Paris three years ago.

Although he lost, Riedi was proud to have been part of such a historic match for Switzerland.

Dominic Stephan Stricker, Leandro Riedi, Roland Garros 2020, junior final© Loïc Wacziak/FFT

“It's an unbelievable feeling,” Riedi said after the final. “I think all Swiss tennis fans are so excited for today. Also I'm able to be a part of it. Such a cool moment. It was a tough match in the end. I'm still really happy that I'm a part of a history that was made now in Switzerland.”

Although Stricker had never got past the quarter-final in six previous junior Grand Slam events, he got off to a quick start, overpowering Riedi with powerful groundstrokes to take the first set 6-1.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Stricker set up two championship points with a big serve, only for Riedi to fend off the first one with a backhand down-the-line, and the second one with a forehand. After saving two break points, the left-handed Stricker didn’t hesitate on his third match point as he slammed an ace down the middle.

“Today he was just so aggressive and he played really good tennis,” said Riedi, who embraced Stricker at the net. “It was really hard for me to get the rhythm.”

Stricker was still stunned by what he had achieved.

“Winning singles and winning doubles, it's just amazing,” Stricker said. “It was a great tournament for me, for sure. It's perfect.”