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Tennis is back home with the 2024 Wimbledon as action reaches the 9th day. French people might have a say in crediting the invention of tennis in England, but for now, the focus is somewhere else. Fans are now only musing with the sound of rackets hitting the ball as it glazes the grass courts of Wimbledon. Elias Ymer will also have a chance today to make his racket do the talking, but he’ll be faced with a crowd thoroughly against him. After all, he’ll be taking on Jack Draper under the flag of Union Jack.

Ymer might have to endure some foul criticism of his family as well in front of the tough crowd. But why such hostility toward an unseeded opponent? Who exactly is Elias Ymer?

Born to an Ethiopian family in Skara, Sweden, Elias grew up in a family of athletes. His father Wondwosen Ymer, a runner by profession, wanted his sons to follow in his footsteps. And yes, by sons it means Elias and his brother Mikael, 2 years younger than him but more on him later. In 2014, he made his ATP Tour debut against Grigor Dimitrov but was beaten in the first round. Taking inspiration from Rafael Nadal, his journey continued.

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“In tennis, I draw inspiration from Nadal. He has an unbelievable mentality and fighting prowess. If people could fight like him, they would go up the ranking. Nadal is very special player,” Elias said in an interview in 2017. By then, he was already under the wings of Swedish legend, Robin Söderling.

Poll of the day

Do you think Mikael Ymer's doping scandal will overshadow Elias Ymer's career?

Yes

No

Only if he doesn't perform well

It already has

The improvement was evident as Elias breezed through the 2018 French Open qualifiers but fell to Fabio Fognini in the first draw round. But improvement was seen nonetheless. That year he reached his career-high ranking of 105. Now, at rank 206, it hasn’t been a fairytale for him, but rather a year of disappointments on and off the court. The disappointment is over his performance and his brother, Mikael, who made the news for all the wrong reasons.

Elias Ymer’s brother Mikael’s doping scandal

Mikael Ymer followed his brother to the world of tennis. From playing against each other in their modest home in Skara to playing together in the doubles tournament, it was a journey of fulfilment for the Ymer brothers. But Mikael surpasses his brother with his tennis prowess as he climbed the rankings far swifter. Mikael touched the ATP top 50 rankings in 2023 but since then it’s been all downhill.

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In July CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sports) suspended Mikael for 18 months. The reason was Mikael’s failure to attend three separate out-of-competition doping tests that had to be done within a span of 12 months.

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“Having already been cleared once, and wholeheartedly standing by the fact that I do not feel that the third offense was committed, I find their decision to try me again and subsequently find me guilty, unfair,” Ymer responded via an X post. “On top of that, I find it difficult to comprehend that they found an 18-month suspension to be a just punishment.”

After appealing, the suspension was upheld as Mikael was treating his ailing younger brother, Rafael. The sleepless nights were the reason behind his missed dates for testing. But that was all a ruse. It was found out that his brother was at a junior tennis tournament in Finland at the given timeline by Mikael and hence the suspension was imposed once again. Now with his brother’s antics on his back, Elias will face Draper and he can rest assured that the crowd will remind him of his brother in a most forgettable way possible.