The 19-year-old is seventh in the PIF ATP Live Race to Jeddah

When Henrique Rocha needs an escape from the pressures of a promising tennis career, the 19-year-old finds solace in the simple pleasure of a sunset bike ride.

The Portuguese player, fresh off his first ATP Challenger Tour title, revels in cycling along the tranquil streets of his hometown, the coastal city of Porto, as he listens to his favourite reggaeton artist Bad Bunny.

“Normally I always go by myself. I put my headphones on and I ride for half an hour or an hour,” Rocha told “I normally go a bit before [the sunset] and just stay there. It's actually very peaceful for me and I really love it.

“Sometimes I also try to think about things I want to do, or goals I want to achieve. I really think about a lot of stuff during that time. It's a really important moment for me.”

Rocha can cross off his goal of winning an ATP Challenger Tour trophy after last week’s triumph at the Costa Cálida Region de Murcia in Spain, where he beat former World No. 16 Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final.

The #NextGenATP teen became the fifth player born in 2004 to capture a Challenger title, joining Luca Van Assche, Arthur Fils, Alex Michelsen and Gonzalo Bueno.

Rocha also joined Nuno Marques as the only Portuguese teenage champions in Challenger history (since 1978). Marques won back-to-back titles as an 18-year-old in 1989.

“It is always an honour to represent Portugal,” said Rocha, who made his Davis Cup debut in February. “I hope this year I can represent Portugal in the best possible way. I think it's the most important thing, to represent ourselves and represent who we are and where we come from.”

Henrique Rocha is crowned champion at the Murcia Challenger.
Henrique Rocha defeats Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 7-6(0), 7-5 to win the Murcia Challenger. Credit: Andres Molina

Rocha will next be in action competing on home soil as a wild card at the Millennium Estoril Open, where he will aim for his maiden ATP Tour main-draw win against seventh seed Gael Monfils in the first round. Set to make his Top 200 debut in the PIF ATP Rankings on Monday, Rocha has been building for this moment since he began playing tennis at age six alongside his older brother Francisco.

“I used to go to his practices and collect the balls, just to have fun there,” Rocha said. “I wanted to be like him. I was talented at it so I kept going. I was always very competitive so when I started playing tournaments, I just wanted to play more and more.”

Both Henrique and Francisco enjoyed success in their teenage years. While Francisco moved to the United States to compete for Middle Tennessee State University, Henrique relocated to Lisbon at age 15 to train with the Portuguese Tennis Federation.

“Leaving my house was not an easy decision,” Rocha said. “The moment I decided I wanted to go to Lisbon to live and practice was the moment that I wanted to be a professional tennis player for sure. It was the best choice for sure and I'm very happy I chose that.”

At seventh in the PIF ATP Live Race to Jeddah, Rocha is aiming for his maiden trip to the 20-and-under Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF. The Portuguese, who turns 20 on 6 April, will hope to take advantage of Next Gen reserved spots whenever he can this season — players aged 20 and younger who climb inside the Top 350 receive up to eight ATP Challenger Tour 100 and 125 opportunities.

But as a Top 250 player, Rocha also receives one opportunity in an ATP 250 main draw (and two ATP 250 qualifying events).

“It helps a lot. Now I'm getting my ranking a bit better but it is still a lot of help,” Rocha said. “I also have the opportunity to play some 250s. We'll see where I want to go and play, watch the big dogs play. It's where I want to go so it's good to be around them, know how they practise, know how they play, what they do during the day. These spots give me the opportunity to see that.”

Though Rocha is not using a Next Gen reserved spot in Estoril, it will not be the last time fans see him on the ATP Tour this season as he aims at building upon his breakthrough start to the year.