Jerzy Janowicz played his second match of 2022 on Tuesday, losing to Elmar Ejupovic 6-7 1-6 at the Poznań Challenger. The former World No. 14 appeared on court for the first time since being taken out by Denis Yevseyev in Lugano at the end of March.
“Overall, I thought it would be worse. You can train, you can feel good practicing, but over the past five years I played only a few matches and you can’t overcome that. I regret losing the first set, which was winnable, but during the most important moments lack of match practice comes out.” said the 31-year-old after the match. He was up 5-2 on Ejupovic in the first set tie-break and committed a double fault, adding another one a couple of points later at 6-6.
Janowicz fell off physically in the second, which you could see in the changing dynamics of the rallies. In points that got back to neutral, he was the one dictating early on but as the match got longer, Ejupovic had the upper hand. “After the first set, I felt like I was the better player. I was winning my service games easier than he was winning his. I had a breakpoint in the second game of the match, felt a little better tennis-wise, just lacked match practice.”
Jerzy Janowicz still draws crowds and media interest
The attendance at Park Tenisowy Olimpia was the highest it’s been this week so far. “Most of these people probably didn’t know I was still playing two days ago, so I hope they were pleasantly surprised.” said Janowicz, who won this tournament back in 2012 and finished runner-up in 2011. It was his first official match in Poland since a Davis Cup tie against Hong Kong in March 2020. Before that, you’d have to go back to the Szczecin Challenger 2017.
Asked about future plans, the Pole replied – “I’m definitely playing in the SuperLIGA. Not sure what I’ll be doing exactly, I might play a few Futures to get a couple of matches under my belt. Again, you can’t overcome lack of match practice, I might feel great practicing, but it will be hard without finding the routine again.” The Lotto SuperLIGA is a newly-established Polish professional tennis league, where Janowicz competes for CKT Grodzisk Mazowiecki. In the first fixture on Sunday, he defeated Przemysław Michocki of AZS Poznań 6-2 7-6.
Not long after the match, it was announced that Janowicz has received a wildcard to a 15K ITF in Bytom next week. If he follows up on his plans of competing in the tournament, it will be his first event at that level in over a decade.
His opponent, Elmar Ejupovic, goes on to reach the second round in Poznań for the second year running. The German qualified for the main draw by beating Johan Nikles and Oleg Prihodko. “I felt like in the 2nd set he started to move a bit slower, so I had to put a little more energy. (…) I had to stay consistent and not think about him, because he was an unbelievable player.” said the 29-year-old after beating Janowicz. On Thursday, he will try to upset the fifth seed, Tomas Barrios Vera.
Main Photo: Paweł Rychter/Poznań Open 2022