09 Aug 2013

ITF Pro Circuit meets... Kimmer Coppejans

Text Interview

By Nick Fishpool

Photo: Gerard CoppejansKimmer Coppejans (BEL)

Kimmer Coppejans is 19 years old and has climbed to a new career high ATP singles ranking of 362 and we had the chance to put some questions to him recently so you can learn more about this rising star from Belgium.


ITF Pro Circuit: Can you tell us where were you born and maybe describe the area where you grew up?

Kimmer Coppejans: I was born in Ostend, Belgium, it is, for Belgian standards, a big city with 69000 residents at walking distance from the North Sea. It's a really nice place with a nice shopping area, the beach to go and a lots to do.


Do any other members of your family play sport?

My mother was a gymnast, and my father a basketball player, after that they started playing tennis at Ostend Tennis Club for fun. My brother and two sisters all played serious tennis but I was the only one to continue playing [smiles].


So how did you get started in tennis?

With my father and mother playing tennis, and my older sister and brother playing, I guess it was only natural that I was going to play tennis as well. Started at the age of five in Ostend Tennis Club (OTC, where I won my last Futures by the way [smiles]) with an Australian coach Michael Lynch.


What can you tell us about your current coach?

I train in the academy of LTA (Limburgse Tennis Academy) in Maaseik. My current two coaches are Tom Devries and Andy Minguet. Tom is quite strict on court and really pushes me to my limits, whereas Andy is softer. But it is good to have both. Off court Tom is a really funny guy, always has a story to tell. And straight forward. Andy I think is quite calm, easy going, and trying to work on his Dutch, because he's from the French part of Belgium [smiles].


Who were/are your tennis idols?

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of [Pete] Sampras, and [Lleyton] Hewitt. Now I’m more of a [Novak] Djokovic kinda guy.

 Junior Roland Garros boys champion Kimmer Coppejans (BEL)

What is your greatest tennis memory either as a player or as a fan?

Well my greatest memory would have to be winning the Roland Garros junior championships. Was awesome!


Who has been the toughest opponent you have faced on court in an ITF Pro Circuit match?

Don't know really, maybe it was Pablo Carreno Busta who's entering the Top 100 now. Played him in Turkey F2 Futures this year. Played a really long match with really long rallies but he was so solid and I lost 26 75 75.


In your opinion, what would you say are the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?

That's a difficult one. The worst are the bitter defeats you have to deal with, and injuries maybe. Can be very hard on a player. But I love the game in general, that's for sure!


So far in your career, what has been the nicest ITF Pro Circuit venue that you played at?

My hometown [smiles] and Greece was nice too!


Any on-court amusing incidents that you can share?

Nothing I can think of now.


Which player(s) are you friends with?

I’m good friends with Filip Peliwo, who's doing great now, from back in the juniors. Have been congratulating him week after week [smiles] and Lucas Pouille, have been doing some things together for Prince in December. Was fun and I play club matches in France with him.


How do players relationships with each other at tournaments compare on the ITF Pro Circuit to other Circuits you may have played (ie ITF Juniors/ATP Tour)?

Well I think in the juniors, you see each other at every Slam, even tournaments in between, so you know all of them pretty well. In the Futures there's more distance between the players except for guys you really get along with of course.


How has playing on the ITF Pro Circuit helped you as a player?

It made me a lot stronger mentally. And more alert, because every match is tough, have to be prepared [smiles].


Would you recommend that juniors go on to play the ITF Pro Circuit?

I would definitely recommend it; it helps you improve your game in many ways.


Speaking of other male players (past & present), whose attributes would you take to create your own male super player?

Serve: John Isner
Return of Serve: Andy Murray
Forehand: Roger Federer
Backhand: Stanislav Wawrinka
Volley: Stefan Edberg
Positioning: Novak Djokovic
Speed on court: Alexandr Dolgopolov
Concentration: Bjorn Borg
Fighting spirit: Rafael Nadal
Entertainment: Novak Djokovic


If you could only have one Grand Slam title, which would you choose?

I would choose Wimbledon. The atmosphere, the history...


What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?

Stay yourself, whatever happens.


Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?

I like to read manga comic books. Watch some series and be around my family.


Do you have a favourite holiday destination?

I haven't got one, although South Africa and Brazil were really nice...


If you had not become a tennis player what career path would you have liked to have followed?

I have no idea, be a grass hockey player [smiles], used to play when I was younger!


Have you set yourself any goals for 2013?

I would like to be Top 300 by the end of the year...


Finally, tell us something about yourself that possibly not many people already know?

I stay with a guest family when practising in Maaseik and these people deserve a mention