Gauthier Onclin was allowed to make the victory gesture in Duffel.  “It's just nice to give young Belgian talents the opportunity to gain extra experience close to home”, says owner Eline Nagels.

Gauthier Onclin was allowed to make the victory gesture in Duffel. “It’s just nice to give young Belgian talents the opportunity to gain extra experience close to home”, says owner Eline Nagels. © Tom GOYVAERTS

No twentieth ITF victory for tastemaker Christopher Heyman (ATP 483) at TC De Pollepel in Duffel, but a win for another Belgian in the 15,000 dollar tournament. The 21-year-old Walloon talent Gauthier Onclin (ATP 509) beat Luxembourger Chris Rodesch (ATP 1370).

KURT GOLDENTOPS

Onclin can look back on a wonderful week in Duffel, where he barely gave up one set. That was in his semifinal against the Romanian Cezar Cretu. A match in which he impressively crawled back in the deciding set and won 6-2. In the final, Onclin encountered Luxembourger Chris Rodesch, Christopher Heyman’s killer in the quarterfinals. But once again Onclin reached a high level and won 6-4 and 6-3.

Despite the early elimination of Christopher Heyman, the first edition of the ITF tournament in Duffel was quite a hit.

“The final balance is very positive,” says owner Eline Nagels. “With Alfonso Gonzalez as driver, we naturally also had a top class player in the house. He previously gained experience in organizing ITF tournaments in Odrimont. He can put the feather on his hat that everything went perfectly. And yes, of course Christopher Heyman’s elimination in the quarterfinals was a downer. When you organize such an international tournament, you always hope that a local trendsetter will make it far.”

That is possible in just under two months, because the IFT tournament for women is also on the agenda at TC De Pollepel from 14 to 21 August. Including Vicky Van de Peer, who lives in Koningshooikt.

“Vicky reacted enthusiastically and that gives us great pleasure. It’s always nice to have someone close by at a tournament like this. We will warmly welcome and support her. She has had a strong spring on the international circuit. It would be great if she continued that line here in Duffel as well. It is certainly something to look forward to,” says Eline Nagels.

In short, international professional tennis is embraced very positively at TC De Pollepel and is worth repeating.

“It’s just nice to give young Belgian talents the opportunity to gain extra experience close to home. Look at Alexander Blockx, who played a great match against semi-finalist Cezar Cretu and eventually only fell in three sets after losing two 7-6s.”

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