Jil scooping up wins and fans every step of the way

 - Simon Cambers

The 24-year-old Swiss reaches third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in Paris

Jil Teichmann, Roland Garros 2022, first round© Andre Ferreira/FFT

For some players, tennis is a job, something they do day in, day out, picking up their pay cheques and moving on to the next tournament.

For others, like Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann, her job is clearly her passion. The way she plays echoes her outgoing personality.

“My game is all about variety, so definitely the drop shot is one of them,” the 24-year-old said on Wednesday after beating Olga Danilovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-1 to reach the third round of a Grand Slam event for the first time.

“To play the extra game, how I call it. It's all nice to play the flat (style), but I like as well to push back and make you come in, or myself to come in and play a volley. I really like that kind of tennis, like to play tennis, not to (just) smash (the ball).

Teichmann reached the semi-finals in Madrid and the quarter-finals of Rome and now plays former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka for a place in the last 16.

Her variety on court was too much for Danilovic, just as it has been too much for most of her opponents this spring. Her drop shot was particularly effective.

Jil Teichmann, Roland Garros 2022, first round© Andre Ferreira/FFT

“All of us are pretty much fast and in shape so we can get there (for drop shots),” she said.” And if it's not a good drop shot, the other one has the easier point to win.

“But on clay it's about pushing back the opponent so she is further away. On the men's side it's the same, that your opponent is further away so they have to run longer metres. So it's about that, so I think that's why it's more use that you can play the heavy spin and then a drop shot.”

'I see myself as an all-court player'

Born in Barcelona to Swiss parents, Teichmann has a strong Spanish presence in her camp, from coaches Alberto Martin and Arantxa Parra Santonja to physio Francisco Perez and her fitness trainer Toni Martinez.

That may explain her comfort-level on clay, where she moves so well that her opponents find it hard to get the ball past her, a fact she knows and appreciates.

“Obviously, I'm good on clay, I play good,” she said. “I feel good. I think I move well as well, and I think the opponents don't like it as much because they see me even more everywhere on court.

“But I see myself as an all-court player. I mean, my results speak for themselves, as well. I've had great runs on very fast courts indeed. Like, Dubai or Cincinnati are very fast conditions. I feel like I can play good everywhere and I'm just trying to bring up the results.”

Public support

The results have definitely been coming and the fans have also taken to Teichmann, with something of a football atmosphere on Court 6. It’s been the same in Madrid and Rome, her personality and style of play connecting with the crowds.

“Yes, of course, I feel that the public loves me,” she said, when asked why the fans were so much on her side. “After a set they get to know me, but it's more a question you can ask yourself because as far as I'm concerned I'm myself.

“It's great for me and cool for me that the public likes me. In Rome it was incredible when I played the match on Pietrangeli and the public was there saying, 'sei bravissimo, sei bravissimo (you’re great),' and obviously it helps. It supports you.

“Here as well, but they don't know me much and it's great to have the atmosphere. Today there was a woman on the other side to whom I gave a towel at the end of the match because I could hear her saying, 'Go on, Jil, you can do it'.”

The way she’s been playing, the chances are that there will be plenty more opportunity for the fans to get to know her.