Wild Cards Agwi And Marysko Shine In Qualifying At Challenger Hamburg

Michael Agwi (photo: Witters)

HAMBURG, March 10, 2024

The Challenger Hamburg kicked off its qualifying rounds with a packed schedule on Sunday and numerous attractive encounters headlined by two wild card entries, who made a successful debut on the ATP Challenger Tour.

In particular, Berlin resident Michael Agwi, who represents Ireland, stunned the audience at the venue of the Hamburger Tennis-Verband with an impressive performance. Facing the experienced World No. 455 Filip Peliwo from Poland, the 20-year-old dominated the match almost at will. Agwi showed hardly any weaknesses, was rock solid on his own serve, and broke his opponent’s serve five times to emerge victorious 6-0, 6-2 in just 47 minutes.


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“I had a really good run today,” 758-th ranked Agwi summarized his confident performance afterward. The Dublin native, who was introduced to the sport of tennis by his mother’s passion for it, arrived in Hamburg with a lot of confidence. In mid-February, Agwi clinched his first professional title on the ITF World Tennis Tour at the TennisBase Oberhaching.

“Last year, I put too much pressure on myself. This season, I have been able to free myself from that to a large extent. I had good matches in the Davis Cup and in Oberhaching. However, I didn’t hit the balls as cleanly during the past week of training, but I quickly adapted to the conditions here. I wanted to stick to my game plan and fight until the end. This worked out excellently today.”

Agwi was actually on his way to France for a Pro Circuit event in Créteil. The flight was already booked when he received a call from the Hamburg Tennis Association offering him a wild card for the Challenger tournament. “Of course, I wanted and had to seize this opportunity,” explained Agwi, adding with a smile, “Even though I lost 200 Euros due to the canceled flight to Paris.” However, the youngster was able to almost completely compensate for this financial loss with the prize money won after his successful first-round qualifying match.

Agwi, who trains in Berlin without a permanent coach, has recently switched the club from Blau-Gold Steglitz to Blau-Weiß Berlin. According to his own statements, this move has also been beneficial to his development. He used to be more of a hothead on the court. However, he has been able to overcome this and can now focus more on his own strengths. “I have a fast and aggressive game, but I still need to work on my net game and overall consistency.”

Against the British World No. 578 Harry Wendelken, Agwi will have the opportunity to achieve exactly that on Monday when he competes for a spot in the main draw of the Challenger Hamburg.

Marysko masters Rottoli

Earlier in the afternoon, World No. 1252 Vincent Marysko  battled past 329th-ranked Italian Lorenzo Rottoli after three hard-fought sets, winning 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3. The 18-year-old Aschaffenburg native bravely navigated through various ups and downs in the match and ultimately sealed victory with his 17th ace after two hours and 19 minutes.


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“Lorenzo played very well from the baseline, but I managed to maintain my own pressure. Additionally, I served very well and had a high serve percentage,” analyzed Marysko his first match at Challenger level.

“I was extremely excited to even be able to compete here and I am grateful for the opportunity. Reaching this tournament level is my big goal,” explained the teenager, who gained his first experiences on the Pro Circuit last year. “I actually entered a Futures event in Trimbach, Switzerland. Then I received a call from Germany’s Head coach Michael Kohlmann, explaining that David Fix had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury and that a wild card had become available. Of course, I accepted it.”

Marysko practices in Offenbach and Kamen but still attends the Elite Sports School in Mannheim. Next year, the 1.94-meter-tall young talent plans to graduate from there with his Abitur.

Marysko is accompanied on the tour by German Tennis Federation (DTB) coach Jan Velthuis, who works at the training center in Kamen. At the Challenger Hamburg, however, the teenager is supported by his father. “He is an absolute tennis enthusiast, plays himself and wanted to experience Challenger tennis as well,” Marysko chuckles. “My dad also instilled the fun of the game in me.”

Asked about his role models, Marysko mentions superstars like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. “In principle, there are many great players who can inspire you,” Marysko says openly.

His personal goal for this season is to break into the top 1,000 in the world rankings. Another step in that direction can be taken on Monday when he faces the Swiss World No. 247 Jakub Paul for a spot in the main draw.