Wimbledon 2013: Beanpole Jerzy Janowicz proud to strike blow for Poland
In the French capital, he defeated top 10 players Andy Murray and Janko Tipsarevic. But had things turned out differently, he could have been representing Qatar at Wimbledon after he was offered citizenship by the tiny Gulf state in his junior days.
He's the beanpole Pole who could have been seduced by the dazzling power of Qatar's petro-dollars.
But Jerzy Janowicz is a proud Polish player who 12 months ago was ranked 136 in the world and had to qualify for Wimbledon.
A year on, he is in the quarter-finals for the first time with his country assured of a spot in the semis after the shock-ravaged tournament pitted him against Davis Cup team-mate Lukasz Kubot, the world 130, in the last eight.
The 22-year-old Janowicz hit the headlines in 2012 when he climbed 195 places in the rankings to finish at 26 in the world after finishing runner-up at the Paris Masters having come through qualifying.
In the French capital, he defeated top 10 players Andy Murray and Janko Tipsarevic.
But had things turned out differently, he could have been representing Qatar at Wimbledon after he was offered citizenship by the tiny Gulf state in his junior days.
"This was in 2006 when I won my first junior title in Saudi Arabia. One guy came to me and talked about the situation. I actually said straight away, no," said the six feet, eight inches (2.03-metres) tall native of Lodz.
The Middle East's loss has been Poland's gain with Janowicz and 31-year-old Kubot giving their country a place in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time since Wojtek Fibak lost at the last-eight stage in 1980.
Things got even better on Monday for Poland when Agnieszka Radwanska, the runner-up to Serena Williams in 2012, also made the quarter-finals of the women's draw.
Janowicz reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final with a 3-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over experienced Austrian Jurgen Melzer while Kubot defeated French left-hander, Adrian Mannarino, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
"It's unbelievable what is going on right now. We have two players in the quarter-finals and a woman in the quarter-finals. I think this is by far the best what possibly could happen to Polish tennis," said Janowicz.
Poland can also claim a share of Germany's Sabine Lisicki, who knocked out defending champion Serena Williams in the shock of the fourth round.
Both her parents are from neighbouring Poland and she speaks the language.
This year's Wimbledon is just Janowicz's third grass-court tournament.
After making the third round in 2012, he then lost in the first round at Halle on the eve of this year's Wimbledon.
Janowicz and Kubot are good friends who have helped Poland into the Davis Cup World Group play-offs for the first time where they will take on Australia in September for a place in the top flight in 2014.
But first comes their Wednesday quarter-final where Kubot will reprise his can-can dance celebration if he wins.
"I have seen it many times," said Janowicz. "Everyone is doing whatever. If he likes to do a can-can, he can do it. If it's celebration, he can do whatever he wants."
Janowicz said he will be happy to get on to Centre Court or Court One for his match on Wednesday after criticising the conditions on Court 12 which he slammed for being 'awful'.
"I slipped really badly. Court 12 is unplayable. If I have to compare this court to Centre Court, it's a completely different story. The surface was awful for me. So many bad bounces," he said.