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Cressy “wants to be world No 1” with his ultra-aggressive game

Maxime Cressy was runner-up in Montpellier and has big ambitions for his future

Maxime Cressy Maxime Cressy in Montpellier (JB Autissier / Panoramic)

Maxime Cressy is a 25-year-old player who knows what he wants and where he’s going. The Franco-American, unlucky to fall just short at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier last week, has a very clear goal in mind for his career: to be No 1 in the world.

“The key is to be very ambitious, that’s what’s going to help me reach the top. I visualise every day that I’m going to be number one in the world, that’s my ultimate goal and I’m not afraid to say it,” he said in a press conference after his defeat in the final of the ATP 250 tournament in Montpellier on Sunday against Jannik Sinner.

Born in Paris but representing the United States, he is currently ranked No 40 in the world, just nine spots below his highest ranking of No 31, which he achieved in August 2022 after winning the first title of his career on grass in Newport. Cressy has been in the Top 100 for the past year and has a very specific plan to move up the rankings until he reaches the top.

Cressy wants to play attacking tennis – all the time

The American, who has brought the serve and volley back to the forefront of the ATP Tour, is convinced that constant aggression on the tennis court will help him realise his dream. He has already mastered the art of the second serve, which he plays like a first serve, “with very light spin” so that it “almost never goes below 215 km per hour” – a perilous exercise that he has practised for a long time in matches and training to make it a reliable weapon.

Cressy’s goal now is to practice the same philosophy on return of serve, an area he is currently lacking. The 25-year-old was the 47th best returner on the tour in 2022, winning 13.21% of games on return (95/719). The American wants to commit to all his shots so that his opponent is constantly under pressure on his service games: a game of risk that he is developing right now, trying to control it like his first two balls on serve. Even if he makes unforced errors, Cressy doesn’t get frustrated and bets on the long term, convinced that this philosophy of play, his “vision of tennis”, will pay off.

“I have a very dangerous game for everyone, if I manage to master it well it can hurt a lot and make me win a lot of titles. This is a very positive week for me, especially on my return of serve. I’m starting to take more risks and commit a lot more, I even wrote it down in my notebook, yes.

“I’ve had a lot of thoughts about that, about the return, and I find that playing a risky game that I can control like my serve and my first two balls, that can pay off tremendously in the future. I have an investment mindset so even if I make a few mistakes now, if I get used to that commitment on every return, going forward on every shot and putting tremendous pressure, that’s how I can get to my goals.”

In addition to a game that could be described as a permanent aggression of the opponent, Cressy has also surrounded himself with a consistent team to help him go higher, as he explained: “This week I invited a lot of people here in Montpellier, there was a great atmosphere. I had my nutritionist, my physio, my coach and a friend of mine, we were a great team. I’m starting to push and invest to have a great team this year. I like it when there is a good atmosphere and it usually pays off in the long run. I have a game with huge potential and can beat anyone so I’m very excited for the future.”

And the future will inevitably involve better results in major events and especially in the Grand Slams, where he has only reached the round of 16 once, at the Australian Open in 2021. With only one major win in 2022 between the French Open and the US Open, the 25-year-old could score big points if he performs well in 2023 – and scare a lot of people.

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