Jérôme Kym is at a crossroads: Roger Federer’s coach Severin Lüthi speaks plain text
For a long time, the career of the Aargau tennis talent Jérôme Kym only went steeply. But now the rise of the 17-year-old has stalled. Kym is suddenly in the shadow of others. Severin Lüthi says where the problems are.
Jérôme Kym from Möhlin is almost two meters tall, and as a junior he regularly pounded the serve into the opposing field at 220 kilometers an hour. The ascent of young Aargau is as impressive as the appearance. With the U14 he became team world champion and at the age of 15 he replaced Heinz Günthardt as the youngest Swiss player in the history of the Davis Cup.
The opinions were clear: Jérôme Kym was chosen to follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka when the two most successful Swiss tennis players resign in a not too distant future.
But with the success the expectations also increased. From March to August 2019, Kym only made it through to the quarterfinals once. «This phase was really very difficult for me. I had to withdraw a few months in the summer so that I could concentrate on training and playing tennis again, »he said earlier this year.
Corona crisis and bear market
Then the corona crisis slowed him down, now Kym is struggling with a bear market, winning only four of his eight games since mid-June. At the Swiss Tennis Pro Cup he lost in the qualification against Dominic Stricker, just like a week earlier at the U18 Swiss championships.
Picture: Instagram / Dominic Stricker
In the meantime, the 1.95 meter tall Jérôme Kym is in the shadow of other Swiss juniors: the Bernese knitter leads the quartet as number ten in the junior world rankings, ahead of the two Zurichers Leandro Riedi (No. 11) and Jeffrey von der Schulenburg (No. 14).
Kym ranks 24th, but is a year younger. Nevertheless, the Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Lüthi speaks plain text. “At the moment, and this has been the case for a long time, he is at the end of the group in this quartet.” The world rankings don’t lie. «Jérôme has potential, but many construction sites in his game. He has to show that he has the passion to continue on this path. »
It is important not only to eradicate weaknesses, but also to work on the strengths. For the time being, that’s the serve, says Lüthi. “And it should also be the forehand, which has not yet been the case.” In addition, Kym should not neglect the base.
Sports environment not yet defined
“This means that he has to be physically stronger,” says Lüthi unmistakably. In addition, Kym is still looking for how he wants to shape his personal and sporting environment. Unlike Riedi, who works with the former double specialist Yves Allegro, and Stricker, who is managed by Sven Swinnen, Kym is still looking for a solution.
For the past four weeks, he has been training with Urs Walter in Winterthur, who trained Swiss youth hopes at Swiss Tennis from 2016 to 2018.
Urs Walter signs the words of Federer-Coach Lüthi on request. He says: “This is the reality.” Nevertheless, Walter does not want to speak of stagnation, “but it is no doubt that Jérôme has in the end no longer made the progress he would like”. That gnawed at Kym’s self-confidence, which created a lot of uncertainties.
Walter couldn’t judge why this happened. «It would be wrong to find guilty parties. It is now a matter of finding the setup so that Jérôme can again exploit its potential. » The path to becoming a top athlete is rocky in many ways, Walter points out. “But I am confident that Jérôme will find its way back to success.”
Kym said recently that the relationship with Stricker, Riedi and Von der Schulenburg had changed. Everyone looks more at themselves, a certain selfishness has arisen. Davis Cup captain Lüthi says he also wondered if he did Kym a favor with the nomination a year ago.
«But he played well at the time and I felt that Jérôme could help the team. I certainly didn’t want to burn him up. I also don’t know what the world would be like today if I hadn’t called it up back then, ”says Lüthi.
No financial worries
He was of the opinion that it would not benefit Kym’s development if he switched to an academy abroad, as is sometimes rumored.
What is certain is that Jérôme Kym can continue his career without financial worries. The Swiss Tennis board responded to the proposal by the elite sports department to generously support the four talents over the next five years.
An umbilical cord that the Swiss association wanted, but came earlier than planned. Talents have the same dream, but their needs are different. The association can no longer comply with these. And the break caused by the corona pandemic in the last year of junior accelerated the process.