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Idan Leshem: "Slowly getting back to business, dreaming of the 2024 Australian Championship" | Israel today


Our number 1 racket is preparing for the Davis Cup survival battle against Latvia, and believes that "we are fit enough and cohesive" • Wishes himself to move up the world rankings • And dreams of a place at the Australian Open in 2024

In the last match in the Davis Cup, against the Czech Republic in September 2022, the captain of the Israeli national team Yoni Ehrlich decided that Idan Leshem would take the place of Yishai Oliel.

Quite a few were surprised by the move, because half a year earlier, Oliel - still our number one racket - beat the 35th ranked in the world at the time, Lloyd Harris, en route to victory over South Africa.

Leshem (25), who was supposed to play against South Africa instead of Daniel Zuckerman but at the last moment was absent from the meeting, proved against the Czech Republic how important he is to the team.

He also rose in the world rankings, and even achieved an impressive victory over Oliel in the last ATP tournament in Tel Aviv.

On the coming Saturday and Sunday, Leshem, who managed to return to being Israel's number one bat today, will try to arrange a victory for Israel in the away meeting against Latvia, with the aim of keeping the team in blue and white for another year in the European/African 1 house.

"The official preparation started this week, when we arrived in Latvia, but it's good that we come after games and competitions, to be sharp," explains Leshem, who last week won the doubles with Zuckerman at the Sunderland tournament in England, and reached two quarterfinals since the beginning of the year.

"We played in an indoor court on a hard surface, similar to what we will have in Latvia, and that is why we chose to come here."

Idan there against the Czech Republic.

Proved his abilities, photo: Oren Aharoni

Tell me about the preparations for the match against the Latvian national team.

"Every match is important, there is no match that is more important. We do the best preparation for each match - whether it means participating in preparatory competitions, or whether it means arriving a week before the training complex where we will play to get to know the conditions we will have. Zuckerman and I played doubles together, And we don't necessarily know that this is what will happen in the meeting as well, but we had the opportunity to practice a little more, which is always important. We are preparing for all possibilities."

Are you coming as favorites for this meeting?

"I'm sure you've heard this phrase many times, but 'Davis has its own rules.' It helps, but we are cohesive enough and in good shape. You saw it against South Africa, and even against the Czech Republic - in every meeting you can win, and we come to do it."

The Davis team.

A tough battle against Latvia, photo: Oren Aharoni

"Able to be at the top"

Like quite a few Israeli tennis players in recent years, Leshem's career is like a roller coaster.

In December 2017, the tennis player reached his highest ranking - 249 in the world - but since then he has deteriorated to the 576th place last May, and now he is on the rise again - in the 359th place in the world.

Do you think the meeting with the Czech Republic brought your name back to consciousness?

"Absolutely, it did good. I feel that I'm slowly getting back to business, even after the ATP that was in Israel - whether it's in my tennis, whether it's in my physical feeling and whether it's in the ranking that I'm slowly progressing in. There's no doubt that Davis and the ATP They were a very significant start and a kind of boost for me."

To what extent does success or failure in an enterprise like the Davis Cup affect Israeli tennis?

"This is a very important enterprise, and the more success there is, the more awareness there will be. I hope that this will really present us in a good light, and will make people from the outside help and believe that we are capable of being at the top of the world. This is a very good platform for pushing forward."

There in the last Israeli Championship.

In the progress graph, photo: Oren Aharoni

A matter of decision making

On the question of whether there is a real battle for the title of 'the number one bat', Derm chooses to answer diplomatically: "No. If I am bat number one, two or three - it doesn't matter. On the court you always want to bring the point, it's not really an extra Click. I am happy to do my part."

Do you set goals for yourself every year?

"Yes. I think that setting goals is very important. It spurs you on, pushes you, and also pushes you a little toward what you want to do, and where you want to go."

So give me a goal - end of 2023, where do you want to be?

"My biggest goal is to return to play in the Grand Slam qualifiers, and if next year I can make it to Australia - that will be an achievement."

Do you think you will be able to re-enter the third or second maya?

"Yes. These are steps I'm taking slowly, progressing from week to week, improving in results. I'm back competing more in the Challengers, which was a big goal of mine. From here - it's already a matter of making the right decisions about choosing competitions, the right schedule , that I can be fit and avoid injuries.

I'm in a good place in terms of my tennis, and I need to keep myself and a clear head and run forward."

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Source: israelhayom

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