Gerrard was eventful in 2021. He won his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last year, followed a few months later by a second at Wimbledon. The Paralympics were supposed to be the icing on the cake, but that’s where things went wrong.
Number 5 in the world had to contend with heart failure. Gerrard decided to continue his career with a pacemaker. He’s been training again since November, Melbourne is his first big date after two prep tournaments at Hume in recent weeks.
Konida today in his first round (quarter-finals) was not a gift. Konida has been crossing Girard’s track for years and it’s not for nothing. In Tokyo, the Japanese also won the gold at the Paralympic Games. In 29 duels, Gerard Koneda managed to win only 7 times.
In the doubles, Gerard will still play in Australia alongside Frenchman Stephane Houdette. As the second seed, they will face Koneda and Argentine Gustavo Fernandez.
Girard had mixed feelings, between disappointment and realism. “I lost the match mostly myself,” he admitted. “If you look at the stats, I did very well. I got 71% in the first balls, but unfortunately not in the important moments.”
“I could only use one of my nine breakout balls, he got 4 out of 10.”
“I started the match very well, but when I lost the sixth game, where I was leading 0-40, I completely collapsed. I didn’t move smoothly and I was very passive, which led to a lot of errors. It’s a game.”
“So I’m very satisfied with the start of the match, but disappointed with the sequel. I could have done a lot better.”
Gerrard did not come to Melbourne with too many expectations: “I knew I wasn’t 100% yet. I am very satisfied with tennis, but there is still work to be done mentally and physically. I have to find that energy again to play the whole match. To stand up.”
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