In the absence of injured Alexander Zverev, Oscar Otte is in the spotlight at Wimbledon. Before the duel with Spain’s child prodigy Carlos Alcaraz, the missing lucky stone should not bother.

Away from the Wimbledon lawn, Oscar Otte now meets tennis greats like his next opponent Carlos Alcaraz on an equal footing.

Because the German number one is in the absence of Alexander Zverev in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, he can prepare himself in the stars’ locker room with all the luxuries – such as a mini golf hole. And in terms of sport, the newcomer from the Rhineland is no longer afraid of the Spanish prodigy.

“If I have a good chance, it will be on grass, on the other pitches he is one of the best players,” says Otte confidently before his third round match with the scene’s biggest young star: “My aggressive game on grass is very uncomfortable for many opponents. »

Successful even without a lucky stone

For the first time in his career, the Cologne native, at the advanced professional age of 28, is in the third round of the classic lawn and can count on Alcaraz, who is nine years his junior, to have a chance. An easy three-set opening win over Peter Gojowczyk was followed by a 15-minute performance before the American Christian Harrison gave up.

In doubles, Otte failed in three sets in the first round on Thursday alongside Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor. The fact that his tennis bag, grass shoes and a lucky charm from his father went missing on the flight to London has not had a negative impact on the individual so far. “Actually, I’m very superstitious,” said Otte: “So far it has worked quite well without Glücksstein.”

Last year the way to the top of the world began. Otte lost to the British idol Andy Murray in just five sets – he can still repeat the words of the two-time winner when shaking hands on the net on Center Court: “He said on the net that I should keep playing well and stay tuned, then come on the results all by themselves.»

Otte has grown up

The fact that Otte is in the limelight as the last German in the men’s competition without the injured Zverev is the result of hard work and personal development. For years he bobbed around far away from the top 100 in the world rankings. In the meantime, the cooperation with coach Peter Moraing, whose daughter Emma is his girlfriend, is also paying off in the results.

“I’ve grown up, I’ve recognized what I need for myself,” Otte describes his personal maturation process at Wimbledon and clear statements from his coach: “Being calmer in matches, working more sensibly in training, that’s what I missed before. In the beginning there was a bang from his side, so he got a little louder that I should grow up. »

The competition noticed this too. Otte is repeatedly asked about his two semi-final appearances in Stuttgart and Halle in Wimbledon. “He’s a great example of how a player develops,” says former Davis Cup captain and Sky expert Patrik Kühnen of the German Press Agency: “He went his way with Peter Moraing, they’ve been working together for many years, there is a great bond of trust between them. It’s paying off now.”

But Otte hasn’t completely discarded old behavioral patterns. He always had to drive all over London at the tournament instead of taking a short walk through the alleys of Wimbledon to the facility like other professionals. “As always, I was quite late with the hotel booking,” reports Otte and adds with a wink: “I’m always a bit lazy and careless.”