'Quiet' Van Assche Aiming To Make 'Big Mark' On Tour
This week, 19-year-old Luca Van Assche will make his debut at Wimbledon when he takes on Aslan Karatsev at The Championships. The #NextGenATP Frenchmen's journey to the top started 16 years ago in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence.
Van Assche recalls the moment he first played and the early challenges he faced.
“I started playing when I was three or four years old in France. I just arrived in Aix-en-Provence because I lived in Brussels in Belgium until I was three. There was a tennis club next to my house and I started there. I was playing there with some friends when I was very little,” Van Assche said. “I just remember when I played my first little tournament when I was six.
“I was very little and sometimes I was playing against big guys from my age group. So it was intimidating but I just learned very quickly. I remember my coach said to my parents that I'm learning really quickly. So it just continued like this. And now I'm here and I am really proud to be here at Wimbledon.”
The World No. 79 has given fans a glimpse of his potential this season, winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles. The 19-year-old is pleased with how he has equipped himself this year and gave insight into how he operates on court.
“When I'm on court, I'm a really, really big competitor, trying to make a big mark,” Van Assche said. “I try to stay calm as much as I can. But a lot of things are going into my mind. I just want to win, so I'm really focused. Off court, I am really calm, really quiet, and intelligent. I think a kind guy.
“I had a great season last year with my and I played four finals. It was great and I wanted to continue like this, this year at the beginning of the year. I then won two other Challengers, so it was really great for me. I felt very comfortable with that environment and took a lot of confidence, so it was pretty cool for me.”
The Frenchman is currently sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race and said it is a ‘big aim’ to make his debut at the 21-and-under event later this year.
The 19-year-old earned his maiden tour-level match win in Estoril earlier this season and is hoping to continue to find his feet on the biggest stages to boost his Next Gen hopes.
“Now on the ATP [Tour] I am taking another step. It's more complicated because every player wants to win for their life. And they're all very, very good, so you never have an easy match. It’s a different world, but I'm enjoying my, my life on Tour and it's only the beginning,” Van Assche said. “I am learning a lot of things at lots of different new events.”
Away from court, Van Assche is a sports fanatic. The Frenchman enjoys watching football and rugby with friends, while he spends any downtime he has with close friends and family.
“I love football. I am a fan of PSG, so I watch the games. We had a lot of emotions during the World Cup with France, especially during the final. I love Kylian Mbappe, he's an incredible player,” Van Assche said, recalling France’s run to the 2022 World Cup final.
“I also like watching YouTube and rugby and seeing my friends. Also spending time with my family because I'm not home much during the year, so I just spend my time my sisters and brothers.”
For now, his focus will be on Wimbledon, where he hopes to earn a second tour-level win on grass against Karatsev in the first round.
“I'm very happy to be here in Wimbledon,” Van Assche said. “It’ll be my first Wimbledon in the main draw, so I'm very excited about it. I will really enjoy my first match. It's very beautiful. I came here two years ago to play the juniors, but it was a little bit complicated because of Covid. It was very difficult. It is maybe the most beautiful site in the world.”