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Laaksonen credits clay court success to long Finnish stint

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Paris, June 2 (IANS) Henri Laaksonen, the 29-year-old Swiss who accounted for his first top 20 player in his career when he defeated 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in Round 2 of the French Open, said his aggressive play had finally paid off on Wednesday.

“Today was just an amazing match for me. I was playing really aggressive and it paid off,” the world No.150, who arrived at Roland Garros without a tour-level win this season, said after his 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win.

Laaksonen credited his success to the first 16 years of his life spent playing on the clay courts in the Finnish city of Hyvinkaa.

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“They opened the clay courts really early, sometimes [at the] end of March. Sometimes we were playing when it was snowing a little bit. I just like it generally when I have a little bit more time for my strokes and slower conditions, so [the clay] fits me,” Laaksonen told atptour.com

Laaksonen suffered health issues in 2018, when he started feeling “intense pain throughout my body” whenever he would salmon.

It affected his training. But once he stopped eating the fish, his condition improved. “My body is starting to work again in a more normal way,” Laaksonen said.

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On what took him so long to make an impression on the circuit, Laaksonen said: “I wasn’t playing bad. It was just missing one, two, three per cent, and that makes the difference at this level. Either you win those matches or you lose.

“I didn’t feel bad actually on court. I was just missing a couple parts on my game. Here it has been going my way so far, so it’s close always. And I wasn’t really happy and I’m still not happy. My ranking is 150. That’s not my goal, but that’s what it is. I just try to improve.”

–IANS

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