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Ritschard Stuns Sousa, Lehecka Books Ruud Clash In Gstaad

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2022

Ritschard Stuns Sousa, Lehecka Books Ruud Clash In Gstaad

Martinez and Delbonis also advance at ATP 250 event in Switzerland

Perseverance paid off for Alexander Ritschard at the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad on Monday afternoon.

The 28-year-old wild card upset eighth seed Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-3 to notch his maiden tour-level win at the clay-court ATP 250 event in his homeland.

“[It’s] very special. I’m very happy with the result. There’s no better feeling than winning your first ATP Tour match at home,” said Ritschard after the match. “I just played my game, which is very aggressive. I was just brave enough to go for my shots.”

After playing in qualifying in Gstaad in 2012, 2013 and 2016 without reaching the main draw, Ritschard banished the memory of those disappointments in style on Monday, breaking the four-time Tour titlist Sousa’s serve four times in a 92-minute victory.

Ritschard impressed on tour-level debut at Wimbledon three weeks ago, when his powerful shotmaking pushed World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas to four sets on the London grass. His reward for the victory against Sousa in the Swiss mountains is a second-round meeting with fourth seed and 2019 champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Also on Monday, #NextGenATP Czech Jiri Lehecka completed a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 victory against Tomas Martin Etcheverry to book a second-round showdown with top seed Casper Ruud. Lehecka dropped just five points behind serve in a one-hour encounter to avenge his defeat to Etcheverry in the Santiago quarter-finals in February.

In a meeting between two Spaniards making their tournament debuts, fifth seed Pedro Martinez sealed a 6-4, 6-3 win against Carlos Teberner. Martinez, who won his maiden ATP Tour title in Santiago in February, broke Taberner’s serve four times to set up a second-round meeting with Benoit Paire or Elias Ymer.

Federico Delbonis was another straight-sets winner on Day 1 in Switzerland. The Argentine defeated 2021 quarter-finalist Mikael Ymer, 6-4, 7-5.

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First-Time Winner Spotlight: Francisco Cerundolo

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2022

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Francisco Cerundolo

Argentine lifted first Tour trophy on his second championship match appearance

Francisco Cerundolo’s breakout 2022 season hit a new milestone on Sunday at the Nordea Open in Bastad, where the Argentine defeated countryman Sebastian Baez to clinch his maiden ATP Tour title.

Cerundolo’s early season form saw him break the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time in February and reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in March. Last week in Sweden, he upset top seed Casper Ruud for his first Top 10 win and also defeated Pedro Sousa, Aslan Karatsev and Pablo Carreno Busta to take the title at the clay-court ATP 250 event. The triumph lifted the 23-year-old to a career-high No. 30 on Monday. caught up with Cerundolo after his win over Baez to find out what the victory means for the in-form Argentine.

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Cerundolo Overcomes Baez For Maiden Tour Title In Bastad

What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
To win my first title is amazing. It feels fantastic and it is a dream come true. I’m really happy because I played a really good week, some amazing matches, with good wins against very tough players. So I’m very proud of myself.

Could you take a moment to acknowledge some of the key figures in your life and career who have helped you to reach this milestone?
My family is important in my tennis and my life because my parents are both coaches. They have an academy in Buenos Aires, so I think tennis is a big part of my family. They helped me a lot since I was a kid. I chose to play tennis myself, they did not [force] me, but after I made that decision, they helped me a lot.

My family and my friends are key in my life, because they give me stability when I am away, and it is fantastic to go back home to be with them to not feel like a tennis player.

How would you describe yourself as a player, and how would you describe yourself off the court?
As a player I like to play aggressive, like to dictate with my forehand. I think everyone notices that. I also can defend really well, but my most important element is to be aggressive.

Off court, I think I am a chill person. Relaxed, not stressed, and really happy. I like to study, but mostly a relaxed person who doesn’t get stressed with everything.

You and your brother Juan Manuel Cerundolo now have one ATP Tour title each. Are you motivated by each other’s success?
It’s really nice that I have tied my brother with one ATP title now. I think it’s amazing to share life on Tour with my brother, because it is tough, and you always travel alone. Of course, you have friends on Tour, but being with your family is an extra motivation, I think.

Back in Buenos Aires we practise a lot, we discuss a lot of tennis, a lot of knowledge, and we can share a lot of knowledge and experiences. There is no pressure or competition between us, it is all positive.

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You are studying an online degree alongside your life on the ATP Tour. What motivates you to do that?
I finished high school when I was 18 years old and after that I went to college in the U.S. and did seven or eight months in economics. I left because I wanted to go pro, but then I found out I had this option to keep studying while playing on Tour.

I will continue to do it because I like economics. It’s not that I love studying, but it is cool to not only be thinking about tennis. It’s always good for me and my brain, and I will continue studying until I get my degree hopefully one day.

Your favourite school subject was math… does that apply to tennis too? Do you enjoy looking at your match stats to work out where you need to improve your game?
I love maths, and that’s why I study economics. I didn’t study engineering because it is impossible with tennis, but I love everything with numbers. I love looking at stats. It is not that I use it too much in tennis, but I probably discuss with my coach or my parents some stats that I’ve seen. Brain games are also fun for me.

We’ve read your dream job would be to be a singer…do you sing often?
I sing all the time. In the shower, when I go to my room and put music on. That’s my passion. I don’t have a favourite karaoke song, but I like reggaeton a lot, and Bob Marley is one of my favourites. It’s not that I listen to one type of music. I like rock, I like pop. It depends on my mood.

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Musetti Saves 2 MPs, Rallies To Lajovic Win In Hamburg

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2022

Musetti Saves 2 MPs, Rallies To Lajovic Win In Hamburg

#NextGenATP Italian is fourth in Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan

Lorenzo Musetti was on the brink of an early exit on his debut at the Hamburg European Open on Monday afternoon, but the #NextGenATP Italian dug deep to rally to a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-3 first-round victory against Dusan Lajovic at the ATP 500 event.

It marks a first tour-level win for the 20-year-old since May, when he came through qualifying before defeating Ilya Ivashka and Sebastian Korda en route to the third round at the Mutua Madrid Open. Despite his struggle for form since then, Musetti showed admirable resilience on Monday in Hamburg, where he saved a match point when serving at 4-5 and then again at 5-6 in the second set of his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Lajovic.

After taking the second-set tie-break, Musetti claimed the only break of the decider to seal a hard-fought two-hour, 56-minute victory. The win over World No. 75 Lajovic will be a boost to the Italian, who currently sits fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan, as he seeks to qualify for November’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in his homeland for the second consecutive year.

Musetti, who now holds a 14-16 record for the 2022 season, will face third seed Diego Schwartzman or Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round in Germany as he seeks to reach his fourth tour-level quarter-final of the year.

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Exclusive: Getting The Thiem Train Back On Track

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2022

Exclusive: Getting The Thiem Train Back On Track

Austrian earned his first tour-level win in 14 months last week

‘Game, set, match, Thiem.’

They were the words Dominic Thiem had been waiting 14 months to hear. When they came, following his first-round victory over Emil Ruusuvuori last week in Bastad, the 28-year-old could finally exhale.

For the Austrian, it was a special moment and a landmark point in his return from a right wrist injury that forced him to miss the second half of last season, a layoff that was followed by a struggle for form in the opening months of 2022.

“The win felt very good and it was much needed,” Thiem told “The ATP Challenger [Tour] event in Salzburg the week before was also a step in the right direction, with a win there and with a tight loss in the next round. I felt there was a big improvement compared to Roland Garros and the other tournaments.

“Crucially, I was able to back it up in Bastad with two very good wins against two Top 50 opponents, so that was very good and amazing for my confidence. It is way more fun to win some matches and build some momentum and confidence, and that is exactly what I am going to take forward.”

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Thiem, who also defeated Roberto Bautista Agut en route to the quarter-finals last week, was No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings last June when he was forced to retire against Adrian Mannarino in Mallorca due to injury.

After being sidelined for nine months, the 28-year-old sat at No. 50 when he returned to competitive action at a Challenger event in Marbella in March.

Despite being a 17-time tour-level champion, Thiem struggled to make an impact in matches during the European clay swing, holding a 0-6 tour-level record on the year before he finally tasted victory in Bastad. It was a testing time for the 2020 US Open champion.

“In the spring it was not easy to stay positive as I lost one match after another,” Thiem admitted. “Also, the way I played, I felt it was not enough for the level of those guys. I went into those matches with the knowledge that I am not even able to win, so that was very difficult.

“Mentally it was not easy. After Roland Garros, I sat down with my team and said I needed another training block to get back to the basics and get somewhere close to my old level. Now it is getting nicer again. It was not that nice in the spring. It is very tough if you lose and go to the practice court for five days and then the next match you lose again. It is very tough.”

<a href=''>Dominic Thiem</a>
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
With the nature of sport, injuries occur and challenges will arise. For Thiem, the difficulties he has faced over the past year have changed his outlook on playing on the Tour.

“I feel now a bit like I did at the beginning of my career, where every win was something very special. I reached the quarter-finals in Bastad at an ATP 250 and it feels huge to me,” Thiem said. “It was similar at the start of my career. When you are used to going deep, a match win is not as special anymore. But that is not the way it should be. The level is so high, all the players are playing so well, so every match win should be special and that is how I am feeling again now.”

Since making his ATP Tour debut in 2011, fans have become accustomed to seeing Thiem time the ball immaculately and demonstrate precise footwork. The Austrian felt that his lack of match action for nine months meant these areas of his game suffered, impacting his level.

“The problem was I just didn’t hit enough because I didn’t have enough time. That was the biggest problem along with the fact that I was missing those match situations,” Thiem said.

“I am a player who always needs a little time after such a long time off. Even after the off-season, I need some matches to get my anticipation back, and footwork, and then I was out for one year, so all of that suffered a lot. I also didn’t have more than one match a week, so it was impossible to improve. It was a bad time, but I’m pleased I am out of it.”

Last summer, Thiem spent the first four weeks of his recovery travelling as he looked to make the most of a rare bit of time out, enjoying a trip to Berlin while he attended sporting events around Europe.

Although a frustrating period of rehabilitation followed, the Austrian admitted he continued to keep a close eye on the Tour.

“I started to watch again from the US Open onwards. It is a little bit different if you watch from some distance. For 10 years I was almost at every tournament, so watching on TV is different,” Thiem said. “But now you see way more stuff and I also thought ‘How good are they playing!’ It is unbelievable I was there just one year ago, so you appreciate the level much more.”

<a href=''>Dominic Thiem</a>
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
While Thiem was impressed with what he saw, two players stuck out.

“I played against Jannik Sinner at an exhibition and hit with him at many tournaments, so I knew he was coming to the top and he was good [to watch],” Thiem added. “He has been there for a while and he will probably be even higher soon.

“I knew Carlos Alcaraz, but he made the big breakthrough when I was not there. But I saw him quite a lot because he won Umag and then he played in Kitzbuehel and he lost to an Austrian guy [Alexander Erler] and I saw that whole match. You could see it was not going to take long for him to break through. You could see he was going to be in the Top 10.

“Hopefully I will play them soon as it is always exciting to face new players as I have faced most of the guys already and know them quite well. I can imagine it is not that fun to play against Alcaraz. It must be really hard!”

With his game on an upward trajectory, Thiem may meet Alcaraz and Sinner in the coming months as he bids to gather momentum and climb the Pepperstone ATP Rankings again, starting at the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad this week. The Austrian’s aims moving forward are clear.

“The main goal is to regain my best level by the end of the season. To play the way I was before when I step on court. To think I am able to win against any opponent,” Thiem said. “That is not going to happen now or probably by the US Open, but by the end of the year, that is the goal.

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Foki Fells Botic In See-Saw Hamburg Opener

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2022

Foki Fells Botic In See-Saw Hamburg Opener

Molcan also advances on Day 1 at ATP 500 event in Germany

There were breaks of serve aplenty in the opening match of the 2022 Hamburg European Open on Monday, but it was Alejandro Davidovich Fokina who prevailed in a topsy-turvy first-round clash against fifth seed Botic van de Zandschulp.

Despite his own serve being broken twice in each set, Davidovich Fokina’s return game carried him to victory in northern Germany. The World No. 35 broke van de Zandschulp’s serve six times on the way to a 6-4, 6-4 win that improved his record against higher-ranked players this year to 8-12.

The most notable of those wins came at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April, when Davidovich Fokina upset then-World No. 1 Novak Djokovic en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 final.

The Spaniard also reached the quarter-finals on the grass at The Queen’s Club in June, when his run was ended by van de Zandschulp in straight-sets. Monday’s victory in Hamburg restored Davidovich Fokina’s lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head meeting, with the Spaniard moving into a 2-1 lead.

The victory was Davidovich Fokina’s first in Hamburg, after he fell in the first round on his only previous appearance at the event in 2019. His second-round opponent will be Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik or 18-year-old German wild card Max Hans Rehberg.

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Also on Monday, Alex Molcan defeated 18-year-old home qualifier Marko Topo 7-5, 6-3 to reach the second round in Hamburg for a second consecutive year.

Molcan, who has reached tour-level finals on clay in Marrakech and Lyon this year, broke Topo’s serve three times and dropped just 11 points behind his own delivery in a 92-minute encounter. The Slovakian will next face fourth seed and defending champion Pablo Carreno Busta or #NextGenATP Italian Luca Nardi in Germany.

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ATP Kicks Off 'Game Changing' 50th Anniversary Campaign

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2022

ATP Kicks Off ‘Game Changing’ 50th Anniversary Campaign

The campaign celebrates the 50th anniversary of the ATP’s formation

The ATP has today unveiled ‘Game Changing’, an integrated campaign celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the ATP’s formation in 1972.

Founded as a players’ association at the 1972 US Open, ATP has since undergone a journey of evolution over the course of its rich 50-year history. Today boasting hundreds of millions of fans, a global Tour across more than 30 countries each season and iconic superstar athletes, the ATP Tour has grown into one of the world’s pre-eminent sports entertainment platforms.

To mark this major milestone, ATP has today launched ‘Game Changing’ – an integrated campaign celebrating 50 years of iconic moments, influential figures and changing styles that shaped the game known and loved by fans around the world.

From the ATP’s humble beginnings under a set of stairs in New York, to the creation of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and the famous ‘Parking Lot Press Conference’ that led to the formation of the ATP Tour in 1990, the campaign looks back over the fundamental building blocks of modern tennis. Charting a course through landmark moments, influential figures, new rules and Tour destinations, to OneVision, ATP’s transformational strategic plan that repositions tennis for the next era of growth, ‘Game Changing’ tells the colourful story of a sport that continues to embrace the future and positive change.

‘Game Changing’ kicks off this week with a 12-part series of original editorial and social content, presented under a standout new visual identity. Each week the series will explore a key theme, spanning Matches, Rivalries, Comebacks, Fashion, Innovation, Venues, and many others. Further original programming will be introduced over the course of the campaign.

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman: “The game has a rich heritage and has never stood still. This campaign is a celebration of that incredible story, the people that made it happen and the diversity of our global game. Importantly, it also gives a nod to the future. It’s a privilege to mark this major milestone, as we look ahead to building on ATP’s incredible 50-year journey.”

Andy Murray, former ATP World No. 1: “I think the game has changed a lot. Where we are now, the game is in a pretty good place. The guys that have been at the top of the game now for 15-20 years have played a big role in that. We get the opportunity to travel and play all across the world. The Tour is well supported by sponsors and fans. Even compared with the beginning of my career, you can see the improvements that tournaments have made in terms of facilities. There has been a lot of progress across the Tour and hopefully it continues to go that way.”

Stan Smith, ATP Legend and Founding Father: “It’s been amazing to see the ATP grow. We started off with just a hundred or so players who wanted to have an opportunity to play whenever they wanted to play, wherever they wanted, no matter what type of person they were. The ATP has come a long way. It’s exciting to see what’s happened.”

Join us in celebrating 50 Years of ATP at and ATP’s social channels.

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Cerundolo Cracks Top 30 Following Bastad Title

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2022

Cerundolo Cracks Top 30 Following Bastad Title looks at the top Movers of the Week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 18 July 2022

Following his victory at the Nordea Open in Bastad, Francisco Cerundolo has cracked the Top 30 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time, while Maxime Cressy jumps to a career-high No. 33 after winning his maiden tour-level title at the Infosys Hall of Fame Open in Newport looks at the movers of the week, as of Monday, 18 July.

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No. 30 Francisco Cerundolo, +9 (Career High)
The Argentine has climbed to a career-high No. 30 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after he captured his first tour-level trophy in Bastad. The 23-year-old earned his first Top 10 win when he upset Casper Ruud in the second round, before he dispatched countryman Sebastian Baez in the final on the clay in Sweden. Read Bastad Final Report & Watch Highlights.

View Latest Pepperstone ATP Rankings

No. 33 Maxime Cressy, +8 (Career High)
The 25-year-old has soared 8 spots to a career-high No. 33 after he lifted his won tour-level crown on the grass in Newport. The American, who was outside the world’s Top 150 last year, overcame Alexander Bublik in his third championship match of the season, having also enjoyed runs to the final in Melbourne and Eastbourne. Read Newport Final Report & Watch Highlights.

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Scouting Report: Alcaraz Stars In Hamburg, Berrettini & Ruud In Gstaad

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 32 Sebastian Baez, +2 (Career High)
No. 39 Alexander Bublik, +3
No. 54 Marcos Giron, +7
No. 56 Daniel Altmaier, +6
No. 62 Lorenzo Musetti, +5
No. 65 Jiri Lehecka, +5 (Career High)
No. 66 James Duckworth, +8
No. 85 Steve Johnson, +10
No. 99 Marc-Andrea Huesler, +9 (Career High)

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‘Not A Typical Lefty’: #NextGenATP Swiss Stricker On Federer Link & U.S Success

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2022

‘Not A Typical Lefty’: #NextGenATP Swiss Stricker On Federer Link & U.S Success

19-year-old is two-time Challenger champ and two-time ATP Tour quarter-finalist

When it came to choosing his tennis idol as a kid, there wasn’t much deliberating to be done for Dominic Stricker.

“Of course, if you live in Switzerland…My one big idol [had to be] Roger Federer,” the #NextGenATP Swiss recently told “Roger is Swiss and has a pretty similar game to how I would like to play.”

Now one of the hottest prospects on the ATP Tour and sitting at No. 187 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the 19-year-old Stricker no longer has to simply regard Federer as someone to be admired from afar. Stricker’s coach, Sven Swinnen, spent two years as the 103-time tour-titlist’s classmate and daily practice partner at the Swiss national federation when the pair were in their teens. His illustrious ex-classmate has been more than happy to offer advice to Swinnen’s young charge.

“It is lucky,” said Swinnen. “Roger invited Dominic to Dubai twice already to do some practice, some pre-season stuff, so that was really helpful. Roger knows us now pretty well and we got some really good tips from him.”

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Their shared nationality may have made it hard for him not to idolise Federer as a youngster but, as a clean-hitting left-hander, Stricker’s development has also been influenced by some top-class ATP Tour lefties. “[I love] Rafa [Nadal] as well, and some players that haven’t played since I started,” said Stricker. “There was [Michael] Llodra and [Marcelo] Rios. I watched them a lot.”

Stricker is not so sure how much those role models have influenced his own playing style, however.

“I would say [my game] is actually not a typical lefty game,” he said. “Lefties tend to maybe be more grinders, but I like to go into the court, also approach the net sometimes, mix it up with some serve and volley. I would say I’m an aggressive player with a good serve and a good forehand, and I try to take the game in my own hands.”

That front-foot approach made a strong first impression when it appeared on the ATP Tour in May and June last year. The then-18-year-old Stricker took out former World No. 3 Marin Cilic on his tour-level debut en route to the quarter-finals as a wild card in Geneva. He backed that up on the grass in Stuttgart three weeks later, defeating Hubert Hurkacz to earn his maiden Top 20 win and make it back-to-back ATP Tour quarter-finals.

In 2022, Stricker sits 11th in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan as he attempts to qualify for November’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the first time. The 19-year-old started the year in impressive fashion, reaching the final at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Columbus in January, before going one better a week later to lift his second Challenger title in Cleveland.

View Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan Standings

Those successes lifted the Swiss into the Top 200 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time, with Stricker reaching his career-high of No. 155 in March. Despite struggling to immediately back those results up, Stricker earned some impressive wins on the grass, most notably a straight-sets win against serve-and-volley specialist Maxime Cressy in Stuttgart in June.

“I think it has been pretty good,” said Stricker. “Everything started with the first Slam in Australia this year. I was pretty happy [just] to be there. A pretty successful two weeks in America, with one final and winning one. Some weeks I was injured and had some other problems but now I’m back.”

Swinnen agrees and believes Stricker’s positive mentality and willingness to put in the hard yards away from tournaments stands him in good stead. “I think we had a good off season, in December he was practising hard,” said Swinnen. “In Australia he had a tough second round in the qualies, but he was still confident in his game. It didn’t really affect him too much that he lost there.

“It was a good decision to go straight to the U.S. That was a long road trip, but at the end it paid off. After the U.S., he was struggling a little bit, some small issues, but I’m glad he’s picked it up again.”

Get To Know Dominic
Describe Yourself Off Court: That’s a tough question! I would say a funny guy, always up for a joke. Pretty relaxed and calm, likes to play games with my coach or other players.

Biggest Passion Outside Tennis: I would say it is golf. I really like to spend some time on the golf course. When I’m back home and I have a day off I’m always trying to find someone to come and play with me.

I played once on Tour, when I played the juniors in Australia, with my former coach. I lost.

Perfect Day Without Tennis: I think it would be sleeping pretty long, maybe until like 9 a.m. Then get up, have some good breakfast and do something with my family. Go for a little walk or play some card games, and then eat some lunch. Then I would go for a round of golf with my friends, and then get back home for a barbeque.

Favourite Music: Maybe just some Swiss songs, when I’m in the mood, or some rap. The music comes with your mood, I would say.

Favourite Food From Home: Actually a good story. I don’t like cheese. It’s tough to say as a Swiss guy. I wouldn’t say anything specific. I really like a lot of food when it’s well cooked. All food is good, and I’m not allergic to anything so that’s good.

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