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Meet Jakub Mensik: The Rising Force Who Is The Youngest Player In The ATP’s Top 100
3 Min Read · March 7, 2024

Ever since he made his presence felt on the Grand Slam stage, reaching the third round at the 2023 US Open as a 17-year-old, Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic has been raising eyebrows on Tour. Last September, after he became the youngest man to reach the third round at the Open, Mensik became the youngest player in the Top 200. 

This February, he stormed to the final in Doha by reeling off victories over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Andy Murray, Andrey Rublev and Gael Monfils, becoming the youngest player in the Top 100 at just 18-years-old. 

Here in the California desert, fresh off claiming his first Masters 1000 win on Thursday (6-3, 6-4 over Seongchan Hong) Mensik spoke to about his surge up the rankings, his biggest milestones to date, and his budding relationship with idol Novak Djokovic.


How does it feel to get your first Masters win here, at this unique and prestigious event? 

It’s an unbelievable feeling to get my first ATP 1000 win, I am super happy that I won today. I have to say that after a long three weeks, I played a lot of matches (a total of 12 matches in February) and also traveled here, so I didn’t feel 100 percent ready, that’s why I’m very happy for this “W,” that I achieved it.

It’s an amazing feeling. I played so-so today, for the first round not bad – I will do my best to reach a higher level and push for more for the next round.

It was a struggle for you in Doha, and after, in Dubai, where you retired due to an injury. Have you been able to get back close to 100 percent? 

Yes, of course, on the court I was 100 percent ready today, but off the court I didn’t have much time in the past days to have normal practices between or before the tournaments. Because I played a lot of matches I didn’t practice a lot but that’s okay, I am in good shape. I have the match rhythm so for me this is very important.

It’s kind of a new experience for you. Being so young, you have 14 ATP matches under your belt. This kind of scenario, playing a big ATP final (in Doha), playing all these top talents, getting your first Top 5 win (against Andrey Rublev) – they are all new to you, probably physically and also mentally.

Absolutely, those weeks were very challenging and also very tough for me. Physically, mentally, everything – the emotions, struggling physically, everything was there, so yeah I am happy that I reached this level. 

I know that I can play with these guys, to beat them and be on the tour with them – it’s just an amazing feeling after the past weeks, that I have the level to be a part of the ATP Tour. 

What did it mean to you, last September, when you qualified into the US Open and reached into the third round? You were the youngest player to do that in 33 years.

I went through the quallies and I was really nervous because it was my first Grand Slam. In the main draw I played a couple of good matches, and also losing in the third round against Taylor Fritz. It was such an unbelievable experience, because when you have the opportunity to play at a young age against a player like this, the experience, it was very good for me. 

I gained a lot of confidence after this tournament because I played a couple of good matches, I beat good guys, I think it was my first Top 100 win there (stat check: it was Mensik’s first Top 100 win at tour-level). 

Then in Australia, again I played really well also, and in Davis Cup, Doha, Dubai, everything that happened last year, after the US Open was just crazy experiences that moved me a lot, and without those matches and without those experiences I wouldn’t be as good as I am right now. 

In your mind does it help that we saw Carlos Alcaraz win a Slam as a teenager, we saw Holger Rune do amazing things as a teenager, Jannik Sinner is really young. The greatest stars of the game may retire in a few years. Do you see that there is a window, that you don’t have to be 25 or older to make something big happen in this sport?

Of course, everything is possible in this sport. It’s tennis. The ball is unpredictable. For example in Doha, I didn’t expect anything – I just went there to enjoy the game and I reached the final. After the final I had bigger goals... 

Of course anything can happen in tennis. A lot of these young guys, they are already on top, so I will do my best to be a part of them and be on top and compete with them at the biggest events in the final rounds. That’s why we are playing tennis, because of these matches and because of this feeling. That’s why we all love the tennis. 

You said you just went to Doha to have fun and be there. Can you do that anymore? Is it already over, that part or your career? 

No, of course I can. Every match when I go on the court, I try to enjoy every moment. That’s why I’m playing tennis, so I don’t want to put pressure on myself, I’m just enjoying every moment on the court. Trying to play my best game, of course sometimes it’s not going as we planned, that’s normal. 

You had time to train with Novak Djokovic, and he’s one of your idols. Can you talk about what it was like to spend time with the 24-time major champion? 

When I was young he was my idol. I was watching him on the television already when I started to play tennis, he was on top of the world. It’s amazing that because of him I started to play tennis, and then I had the opportunity to practice with him and to know him personally, it’s unbelievable how this guy, he has 24 Slams, so many 1000 titles of course, and when I was speaking with him he’s just a normal guy, very friendly, a very nice guy. 

That’s also huge that he has that humanity, he can speak with me, I’m new on the tour and nobody knows me and still he is speaking with me like a friend – it’s amazing.

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