The world of tennis can be prone to pigeonholing players. She is aggressive; she is defensive. She specializes in this surface and can’t stand that one. Nationality is short for personality; the up-and-coming ones are new versions of her idols.
Jil Teichmann, born and raised in Barcelona, Spain to Swiss parents, doesn’t think so. Instead, the free-spirited 24-year-old is all about mixing. “I take the best of everyone and everything,” she said.
The variety begins with your game. It’s a mix of swashbuckling attacking at net, classic slides on defense, a penchant for airshots, and crowd-pleasing tweeners. She has taken her to a trio of WTA 1000 semifinals: Dubai 2021, Cincinnati 2021 (where she was runner-up) and Madrid last week.
Ranked 76th last August, this week Teichmann broke into the Top 30 and was ranked 29th, the highest of her career. In Rome, she pushed through, defeating former champion Karolina Pliskova in three fantastic sets to reach the round of 16.
“I’ve always liked variety,” he said. “It took more time [unirnos], obviously, because first you have to know when to use what you take. And then every shot you have, you have to perfect it.
It’s just my own style and I had to accept that it might take more time. But I’m not in a hurry. I’ll take my time and hope it goes up and up. “Even though most people think I’m just a clay court player, I don’t see myself that way.
I showed it in Dubai and Cincinnati, where the conditions were absolutely fast: fast balls, fast court, and I was able to win against the best players it shows that I am capable of doing anything if I have the right mindset and I am physically fit.”
Teichmann is a product of different influences in almost every aspect of his life. “People ask who my idol was, but I never had a person,” he said. “I was really trying to get the best out of each player, capture what they do best.
I do the same with different cultures. I grew up in a Swiss-German household, going to Swiss school, but I was in Spain. A Swiss bubble in Spain. “But I learned as a child to take the best of everyone, and I still do with anything in life.
In my private life I also try to take the best from each person: learn, be open, be humble.” Teichmann also rejects the idea that she is “truly” Swiss or Spanish, or the national stereotypes that can be imposed on athletes.
“People say that I am super open, calm, and they see it more as a Spanish style. But my dad is the same, he was born and raised in Switzerland. My brother grew up the same way as me.
and is more introverted. Character is not about nationality.” Even Teichmann’s coaching situation is a mixed bag. She prefers to work with two coaches: former WTA World No.46 Arantxa Parra Santonja, who travels with her most of the year. , and the former No.
34 in the ATP world, Alberto Martín, who trains with her in Barcelona. “It works amazing for me,” she said. “The main key is communication, between the three of them, but especially between them.
I don’t always listen or control that, because I can’t be in everything, but I trust them. They see my tennis the same way. and they try to get the best out of him, no matter how they played or what their styles were.
They really suit me.” As Teichmann has risen through the ranks, fans everywhere have certainly adapted to her. She is a charismatic presence on the court, not only because of her game, but also because of her obvious joie de vivre. and his willingness to play in the gallery.
(She describes herself as “goofy and sarcastic” and picks Jennifer Lawrence as her favorite actress in her favorite movie, “Ocean’s 8” Many players talk about having fun on the court as if it’s something they have to consciously learn to do; Teichmann, on the contrary, embodies it.
Last year, facing match point against Svitolina in Madrid, Teichmann executed a daring throw to stay alive, throwing his head back with laughter. He later saved six match points en route to victory, but he still remembers that drop shot.
“I was laughing with some of the spectators,” he said. “Some guys who were making a lot of noise and started cheering me on. I was like, ‘This one’s for you!’ “I love the crowd.
I am a crowd player. I practice for that, to play in stadiums against the best players, full stadiums, full crowds. I absorb the energy and it makes me smile. It makes me want to show what I can do.
For people to cheer you on, shout your name when they look at you, that’s what it’s all about for me.” For much of Teichmann’s junior career, he grew up in the shadow of fellow Swiss star Belinda Bencic, born in 1997.
This was also something she took in stride. “I was always second best and always out of the spotlight,” she says. “She was great to me. Belinda was always a notch above me or two steps ahead of me, but we always had a good relationship.
There was never any hatred or competition. And now we are super happy that we can share so many good tournaments together, and the Billie Jean King Cup as well.” For Teichmann, sharing human moments with other people is of utmost importance.
She has a group of friends back home who help keep her grounded, and whenever possible, she catches up with them during a meal. (A food lover, Teichmann keeps lists of restaurants in each city she visits on her phone and bookmarks them when she visits.)
“Some I have known since I was 3 years old, some from school, others from tennis. Obviously we are in contact in messaging groups all the time but face to face, for me that is priceless. That is the best thing, talking about life and being a person.
“They know that I trust them. Sometimes I need to feel like a person, because we live in this bubble, which is not real life. One day it will end, and I still want to have learned things about real life.
You need a balance in life; most people say that but don’t do it, so I really try to follow what I say “Teichmann’s sociability has its limits. As a child, she and her brother participated in all sports: soccer, basketball, taekwondo.
Skiing was a great love, but an accident at the age of 14, which nearly shattered his knees, meant he had to put it aside to protect his budding tennis career. (“It’s the first thing I’ll do when I stop playing, 100%,” he says.)
But for the competitive Teichmann, teamwork was not something that came easily. “She hated losing in soccer or basketball because of others,” she said. “She couldn’t stand that.
As a kid, I was giving it my all and leaving my heart and soul out there. And you still lose, because others may not have the same motivation! Tennis is more about me, it’s more in my hands.”
As an adult, Teichmann still gives it her all and leaves her heart and soul on the court, and with her variety of shots at her fingertips, this is paying true dividends.