Interview with Oscar Otte: “Tennis players receive death threats every day”

After years in the lowlands of professional tennis, tennis professional Oscar Otte (28) has established himself among the expanded world elite for the past two years. In the exclusive SPOX-Interview in Paris at the start of the French Open, the native of Cologne talks about a big change, matches against Roger Federer, conversations in the locker room with the new star Carlos Alcaraz, suspected match-fixing and contacts with the players from 1. FC Köln.

Oscar Otte, during your excellent Wimbledon race in 2021, a “GIF” (animated short video, popular on social media, editor’s note) was created from the five-sentence thriller against Andy Murray. After a network attack, they sit happily on the sacred lawn, mimicking a cigarette butt. Of course it went viral. Hand on heart: How often do you get this sent to you?

Oscar Otte: Yes, it happens often in everyday life. (laughs) I’m also in a number of WhatsApp groups in different circles of friends – of course also with different tennis boys. If you write something there and have a saying printed, or make one yourself, the GIF comes in response from time to time. My sister and her husband even have a picture of it at home and her husband’s brother has the picture hanging in the living room. It is still present, even though almost a year has passed.

Does that make you uncomfortable in hindsight, or do you have more material for GIFs in big fights?

Eight: There is more material. I have to see that when I’m involved in big fights again. (laughs) No, of course I do not plan it in advance, it was a spontaneous action. I flew there ten times and the audience was still clapping like crazy so it came spontaneously, but maybe I still have a few things up my sleeve.

Oscar Otte: “I’m still thinking about the fight with Federer”

Let’s take a look at the French Open that is now beginning: In Stade Roland Garros, you played against Roger Federer in 2019 as a completely unknown player after qualifying in the first round. How was that experience then?

Eight: It was one of the coolest days of my career so far because everyone watched. My parents, my boyfriend, my sister’s husband, family from England, my best friends from Cologne and even my tax advisor.

your tax advisor?

Eight: Yes, he is also a good friend and was there as a buddy, he did not look at any papers or statements of prize money. (laughs) The experience was really great back then. I had never played on such a big a court before and never been on TV. That was where I gave my first interviews. It was a special day, and looking back, it’s still a highlight.

As an established player (currently 59th place, editor’s note), do you still think about it and a certain moment – or is the big stage a part of everyday life?

Eight: I’m still thinking about the day and the fight against Roger. These are positive memories. Although I lost in three sets, it was relatively close and I played good tennis. I recently talked to my trainer about this again. I first got on the pitch, which was polite applause, but when Roger came in ten seconds later, I thought the stadium was about to collapse. You take such positive experiences with you, and every time I’m here, I have to think about it.

Oscar Otte: Statistics of his career

pro side Balance 2022 Best Grand Slam result prize money
2011 10-10 Round 16 US Open 2021 $ 1.37 million

A lot has happened in recent years, you train with Peter Moraing, Mats Moraing’s uncle. What is the crucial point that has brought you from the bottom ranks of professional tennis towards the top 50?

eight: Consistency is the key. We have trained well and a lot in recent years. I have been injury free since the beginning of the corona pandemic because we had time for several months and were able to prioritize. We did a lot of physical and it was good for me. I could focus on one thing that was previously not possible spread over the year. You can be constant, but you can always make small stimuli between tournaments. We have managed that. Peter helped me very personally as a player and still does. He gives me a lot of freedom and keeps telling me that I am a very instinctive player and that I should not get too much information just before a match because I usually resolve situations spontaneously. I think that’s what it does with persistence.

Your coach is the father of your friend Emma and the uncle of Mats Moraing, her good friend who is also a professional tennis player. What role does Peter Moraing play for you? Is he like an uncle, a good friend, or do you have a regular coach-player relationship?

Eight: We have a really good relationship, we are both laid back guys and get along really well. In a way, it’s family too, because I’ve been with my boyfriend for a long time. We meet every day and we are acquaintances. Everything fits and we have a pretty good relationship.

Oscar Eight on Carlos Alcaraz: “I Like Seeing Him”

In the mid-twenties, you changed and professionalized a few things. Do you sometimes wonder and think of the past when suddenly a 19-year-old like Carlos Alcaraz shows up and plays the world elite to the ground?

Eight: It makes me think of my 18-year-old self. I will also be 29 soon, and in hindsight I might have done a few things differently, but there are always exceptions where someone shoots up at an early age. Of course, it’s nice to play tennis when new faces come along.

Have you met him before? How do you find him as a player?

Eight: I’ve seen him in the locker room before, and we talked briefly. He is very kind, sweet and polite. I like to see him playful, he plays very attractive tennis. If you compare it to “Big Three” (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic editor’s note), it’s just something new and he also seems to work well with his team, otherwise he would not be in the top 10- grandstand.

Is this global tennis world really your thing? You’ve worked hard to play big tournaments until now – it’s becoming the norm now. Would you like more media hype?

Eight: There I want to get to the top at some point, that’s what I work for every day. Of course, you’re the center of attention, and you often have to talk to the media, and that’s part of it, but I also like to stand alone. I work primarily to be a good tennis player. Of course, you want to be a superstar at some point and be on top, and I like it the way it is right now. But it has not changed that much because I am higher up now. I still hang out with my friends and live a normal life.

So what do you do with your friends?

Eight: We grill or hang out at home. It’s very casual, we do not hold too many parties. There is also no move to a tax haven. I like being at home with my family, my boyfriend and my dog ​​(in Essen editor’s note). I also like staying in tournaments for a long time because it shows you are playing well. But when I’m home for ten days, I enjoy it really well and can turn it off.

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