Juan Pablo Varillas: what should he do to see him again in a Grand Slam? | Alexander Zverev | Australian Open | ATP Tennis | SPORT-TOTAL

“Is a great player. I hated having him up front,” Zverev joked about the match he played. Juan Pablo’s forehand, the drop shots and above all the mentality of fighting every ball made the Peruvian an uncomfortable rival. He had already done it against Félix Auger-Aliassime at Roland Garros, now he repeated it against the German, last year 2 ATP, today number 13 in the world.

The game against the German was very exhausting.

The game against the German was very exhausting.

It is that Varillas has the level to battle against top tennis players. “He is brave,” they said in the ESPN broadcast. “He squeezed his options to the fullest. He came out with the right attitude, he played the right game, he did what he had to do, but these types of players (Zverev) end up revealing why they have won what they have won”, says Lautaro Miranda, an Argentine journalist specializing in tennis. .

And Juan Pablo won two sets, took another to the tie break and forced the German to have to work harder than he imagined on his return to a Grand Slam (he was injured at Roland Garros 2022). “This is Zverev’s favorite surface and not Juan Pablo’s and he has played a great game. Mentally, he has lived up to it because we are talking about a tennis player from another level”, Ricardo Montoya, a journalist and psychologist who follows tennis with a passion, tells us.

Manuel Cabezas, specialist of the Peruvian Tennis portal, analyzes another angle. “The positive thing about these games is that he has shown that he is already physically recovered from some discomfort. In 2022 he had ankle discomfort. Hopefully Juan Pablo can play the four ATP clay tournaments that are coming in South America”, he tells us.

what’s coming

The qualities of Juan Pablo are there and there is not much discussion about it. He now has to face what is coming for the future. And in tennis, the future is immediate, since tournaments are played every week in which the greatest number of points must be added. And today it is what Rods needs the most.

He marches in ATP position 103 and at the Australian Open he added 16 points for his two victories in the qualy. That does not guarantee that she will go up in the ranking, since the results of other tennis players must be expected. Varillas’ task today should be to get into the top 100, not stray from those positions.

This is because being in that range will allow you to play Roland Garros directly, without having to go through the risky qualy. In addition to being able to play the ATP 250 and ATP 500 tournaments that offer more points and economic prizes. That is, leave the Challenger circuit and go to the ATP Circuit.

Juan Pablo Varillas lost to Zverev in five sets at the Australian Open

Juan Pablo Varillas lost to Zverev in five sets at the Australian Open


What’s next for Juan Pablo? He is entered for the Challenger 100 in Concepción, where he is the number 5 seed. “Juan Pablo needs to accumulate more points for the ranking. He currently has 18 scoring tournaments when the maximum is 19 ″, explains Manuel Cabezas, from the Peruvian Tennis portal. He graphs us the calendar that the Peruvian would have in the coming weeks.

  • Challenger 100 of Concepción – January 23
  • Davis Cup – February 3-4
  • ATP 250 Córdoba – qualy (alternate 2 for the main draw) – February 6
  • ATP 250 Buenos Aires – February 13
  • ATP 250 Rio – February 20
  • ATP 250 Chile – February 27

“It is important that he meets this schedule in order to be able to secure the top 100 and allow him to be able to play the ATP 1000 in March like Indian Wells and Miami. This is the nearest future, with the aim of being able to enter the main draw at Roland Garros”Manuel adds.

Winning an ATP 250 first round match grants you 20 ranking points. In a Challenger you would have to win three games to accumulate 16 points. That is the big difference of playing the big tournaments, of course, where you find higher level rivals.

“The ATP Circuit is competitive and you have to balance sensations, confidence, matches, discomfort. Feeling comfortable is key, that makes a lot of difference”warns Sergio Galdós, a tennis player recently retired from the professional circuit. That is, Juan Pablo would choose the tournaments where he feels most comfortable. Last year in Córdoba he reached the round of 16 from the qualy, while in Santiago he fell in the first phase. They are tournaments that can be accommodated.

towards the elite

It already spent seven weeks in the top 100 late last year. He has already tasted what it is to rub shoulders with the greats and beat them, like Roberto Bautista Agut and fight Aliassime, Thiem and Zverev.

“Juanpi’s level is there, to compete with the best. We hope that he can establish himself to qualify directly for Roland Garros ”concludes Lautaro Miranda. Everyone wants to see Varillas again in a Major. He has played the qualy ten times and managed to get into the main draw twice. Roland Garros 2022 and Australian Open 2023 -as a lucky loser- and in both tournaments he fought against giants like Auger-Aliassime and Zverev.

Juan Pablo Varillas and Lucho Horna.  Two eras, the same passion.  PHOTO: Jesus Saucedo

Juan Pablo Varillas and Lucho Horna. Two eras, the same passion. PHOTO: Jesus Saucedo


“I assure you that with the work he does, the coaching staff he has and his tennis potential, there is little left for Peru to have a top 50/60 again, Sergio Galdós tells us about the future of whoever was his partner in the Peruvian team. A Peruvian in the elite hasn’t happened since Lucho Horna in the early 2000s. In August 2004 he reached 33rd ATP position and was Top 100 until October 2008. Rods must take over.

“He is a tireless, committed worker. This is the season that has been best prepared for”, Matías Rizzo, Juan Pablo’s physical trainer, told us a few days ago. And you can see it. Because he played three qualifying matches under the demands of Melbourne and its high temperatures and he ran everything to Zverev in the first round. Physically, the national is fine at the beginning of the year.

I don’t put that pressure on myself [Top 100]I just try to do my best. I try to stay calm, game by game, tournament by tournament. That is a pressure that does not work for me ”, Juan Pablo Varillas himself told us a few months ago. With a calm head, he knows that he has the tennis to go a long way. He is 27 years old and from now on he just continues to climb.

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