After Over Two Years Away From the Sport Joris de Loore Is Making Strides Again

Joris de Loore in Davis Cup action for Belgium in 2017.

–Helsinki

Joris de Loore qualified for the 2021 HPP Open, taking out Roberto Quiroz and Viktor Durasovic. The former was the top seed in the qualifying in Helsinki and de Loore had to go the distance to beat him, the latter was closed out in straights but not without a tough battle.

The 28-year-old Belgian made his comeback in July this year, after missing the entire 2019 and 2020 seasons.  In that period, de Loore had seven different surgeries (most recently in December 2020). He’s making strides again though and took a 25K ITF title in Toulouse last month, defeating 2021 Roland Garros boys’ singles champion Luca van Assche.

‘I think sometimes, like parts I’m playing better. Still it’s about adapting to the level again and playing matches on this Challenger level is different. But I’m happy the way I’m playing right now,’ de Loore said when asked to compare his level right now to the one before the injuries.

The Belgian has been enjoying the support of his countryman Kimmer Coppejans during his qualifying matches. ‘It’s nice. We travel most of the time alone, so when he’s here, we try to support each other. It’s nice to have someone next to the court, it’s always easier than if you don’t have anyone.’

When de Loore finished the match against Durasovic, his main draw opponent was not yet known. But even the possibility of drawing the top-seed and defending champion, Emil Ruusuvuori, didn’t scare the confident de Loore. “I don’t care, it’s just match by match. Every match needs to be played. If I will play him, it’s a good challenge.”

De Loore’s self-belief isn’t coming from nowhere. The Belgian has been dominating his opponents from the baseline so far, using his pulverizing forehand to finish the points. In times of trouble, he’s also been saved by a clutch serve time again and again.

The draw was kinder for de Loore than it might have been, presenting him with a first-round matchup against the veteran German Tobias Kamke rather than the young gun Ruusuvuori. Should he advance, he’d face either Liam Broady or last week’s Bratislava runner-up, Zsombor Piros. Not a simple prospect by any means, but a challenge he may well back himself to surpass.

Main photo:
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