Tennis | The Finnish success story in tennis doubles again – “Now it’s easy to play when the ranking goes in the right direction”

Harri Heliövaara and his British partner are gaining access to even bigger ATP tournaments.

7.3. 14:16 | Updated 7.3. 20:34

One or two returned to professional tennis a year ago after a long break from competition Harri Heliövaara has become a top Finnish doubles player at a fast pace. Heliövaara, 32, was already in the top 100 on the world list of doubles just over a year ago, but now the ranking is already 50 for the second week.

“When I started making a serious return in 2018, then maybe that’s when I thought I was in the top 50 right now. The first couple of years were not as fast-growing as I would have liked, but in the last year and a half, things have really started to work, ”Heliövaara says.

At the end of 2020, Heliövaara, who had played challenger-level competitions with different pairs, found a British Lloyd Glasspoolwith which the game fell into disrepair.

“We had had a bit of a distant relationship with Lloyd before, but the joint games got off to a good start. We would lose in the finals of the challenger race at first, and here we are still, ”says Heliövaara.

“We’ve both been in the duel at least at the challenger level, which means we know the basics of tennis well. When combined with the right kind of chemistry, practice and, in particular, the know-how from Britain, it’s a pretty good combo. ”

Heliövaara and Glasspool, 28, won their first ATP tournament in Marseille a year ago, and recently added two more ATP finals in February. In October of last year’s second ATP tournament win, Heliövaara took over the Dutchman Matwe Middelkoopin with.

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Heliövaara his first tennis career ended in 2013 as a wall. As a young player, the Finn tried to break through in a doubles match and rose to the top 200 on the world list, but various factors messed up the development.

According to Heliövaara, tennis is a heavy sport when things don’t go the way you want them to.

“There were some injuries and at the same time mental fatigue. It was actually a whole year when everything went a little bad. I had a plan b, and that’s when I felt like leaving a career was the right thing to do. ”

With Plan B, Heliövaara means studying and working life. He studied at Aalto University to study for a master’s degree in production economics and received good job offers, but blood drew back to tennis.

“I thought I would enjoy playing more anyway. In addition, getting into the Tokyo Olympics felt like a good project for a few years and a suitable goal. Henri Kontinen was the world’s number one player in the top four when I started to make a comeback, ”Heliövaara points to last summer’s Olympic opportunity, which, however, narrowly failed the Finns.

About the risk of helium has become a bit surprising for Finland’s four-player unit, when the Finnish pioneer of the sport, the grand slam tournament winner Kontinen, has taken a distance to the sport during Korona.

“An unfortunate situation, but he [Kontinen] has been number one in the world and has shown what he can do. It is difficult to go and advise himself on what he should do himself, ”says Heliövaara.

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“It’s a great thing that he’s involved in the Davis Cup as a coach and wants to share the know-how with me and others. [suomalaispelaajille]”, Heliövaara referred to last weekend’s national team event, where Heliövaara took over Emil Rose Mountain with a handsome victory over the Belgian couple in front of the Espoo home crowd.

Heliövaara and Glasspool are the 11th highest-scoring doubles pair in the ATP rankings this season, with the top eight duo taking on the final tournament in Turin this season. However, entering a final tournament would require good results in big tournaments, and the tournament gates at the Masters level, for example, have not yet opened for the couple.

The prestigious Indian Wells and Miami Masters tournaments in the United States in March will be missed by Heliövaara and Glasspool.

“There are pretty small charts at the Masters level, but big money and points on offer. You can really make a difference there, ”says Heliövaara and continues with his short-term goals.

“A year ago, I rose to the top 100. Now it’s halved, so if in a year the ranking is halved again, then it’s pretty well gone. Now it’s easy to play when the ranking goes in the right direction and there are bigger races all the time. ”

Heliövaara admits that frequent travel on a tennis tour is difficult in some places when the wife and the couple’s less than 1-year-old daughter are in Finland.

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“Sometimes it feels really bad, sometimes you can live with it. But of course, I feel like my wife is getting pretty hard, and family life requires reconciliation. I was [alkuvuonna] In Australia for almost a month and recently in the United States and Mexico. We hope that the family will be able to take part in the European Games this year. ”

Correction 7.3. at 20.33: The final tournament of the ATP season will be played this year in Turin, not London.

Harri Heliövaara

Harri Heliövaara has risen to 50th on the doubles ATP list.

  • 32 years old, born on June 4, 1989 in Helsinki.

  • Length 188 cents, weight 82 pounds.

  • Tennis professional, specializing in doubles, standard pair of British Lloyd Glasspool.

  • Lives in Helsinki, the family includes a wife and a baby girl under 1 year old.

  • Coach Boris Chernov, physics coach Erik Piispa.

  • Graduated from Aalto University with a master’s degree in production economics.

  • In the doubles world ranked 50th, in the doubles the best ranking 194 from 2011.

  • Had a competition break from tennis 2013–2017.

  • Achievements in doubles: ATP250 Tournament wins in 2021 Marseille (paired with Lloyd Glasspool) and Moscow (Matwe Middelkoop), two ATP250 Tournament losses with Glasspool, 13 ATP Challenger Tournament Wins, 20 ITF Tour 3 Tournaments, Grand Slam in Wimbledon with Glasspool, winning the Australian Open tennis boys ’doubles 2007 with Graeme Dyce of Britain.

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