Wimbledon 2022: Get to know Tim van Rijthoven

 - Reem Abulleil

Dutchman's dream June continues as he enjoys victorious Grand Slam debut at the All England Club.

Tim van Rijthoven / Qualifications Roland-Garros 2022©André Ferreira / FFT

Two weeks ago, a 25-year-old Dutchman ranked 205 in the world stormed to the ATP grass title in s-Hertogenbosch, defeating then world No.2 Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the final.

Tim van Rijthoven was contesting just the second tour-level tournament of his career and entered the draw as a local wild card.

The rest, as they say, is history, as he became the lowest-ranked ATP champion on tour this season, and the first Dutch winner at s-Hertogenbosch since 2003.

On Monday, Van Rijthoven made a winning Grand Slam debut, advancing to a Wimbledon second round meeting with American No.15 seed Reilly Opelka with a straight-sets success over Federico Delbonis.

Here’s what you need to know about the Dutchman, who is up to No.104 in the world and rising fast.

No ordinary title run

Van Rijthoven didn’t just spring a surprise by winning his home tournament; it was how he did it that was phenomenal.

His only previous main draw appearance at tour level came in 2016 when he played the 250 event in Winston Salem as a lucky loser.

Six years later, Van Rijthoven claimed a maiden tour-level victory over Matthew Ebden of Australia before taking out world No.14 Taylor Fritz, No.66 Hugo Gaston, No.9 Felix Auger-Aliassime and No.2 Medvedev to lift the trophy at s-Hertogenbosch.

“Amazing week. You destroyed the No.2 in the world in straight sets in the final, so I think it must be a good feeling,” joked Medvedev during the trophy ceremony.

A Wimbledon reward

Van Rijthoven’s performance didn’t just impress Medvedev; it caught the eye of the entire tennis world, including the Wimbledon wild card committee that decided to award him a place in the singles main draw at these Championships.

Dutch TV channel RTL reported that it was former player Raemon Sluiter – who coached Kiki Bertens among others – who gave Van Rijthoven’s coach Igor Sijsling a call after the s-Hertogenbosch semis, suggesting they email Wimbledon and request a wild card.

The Van Rijthoven asked and Wimbledon delivered; their decision already proving to be the right one after he won his opening round.

The Sijsling effect

Van Rijthoven hired his compatriot Sijsling, a retired former world No.52, earlier this season and despite injuries that continue to plague his career, the pairing have hit the ground running.

He feels he and Sijsling “naturally clicked” and that they share many interests, including golf, which they play together often.

Van Rijthoven trained at the IMG Academy in Florida until 2019 and even sometimes trained with the great Nick Bollettieri himself.

He also spent a year travelling to tournaments with former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, which he says was equally intimidating and beneficial.

Peaky Blinders and noodles

In an interview with atptour.com, Van Rijthoven described himself as a “very humble and relaxed guy off the court.

“And actually a very humble guy on the court. Playing style, I am a very aggressive player. Big forehand, I like to go forward and dictate the points.”

He is a “golf addict” and says he follows Casper Ruud’s golf Instagram page but his dream job would be to open up a restaurant. When he’s asked what cuisine he would like to serve, he said, “I would probably choose a noodle restaurant because I love noodles”.

His favourite TV show is Peaky Blinders and says he relates the most to the character Tommy Shelby.

An extensive injury list

Van Rijthoven has suffered through a string of injuries throughout his career starting from the age of 18.

From elbow issues to groin injuries, back spasms, and a wrist problem that required surgery, he has had to battle through some brutal physical setbacks over the past seven years.

He credits the people around him for keeping positive and not giving up.

“Apparently this was supposed to happen to me and I came out of it stronger,” he says.