Back to Paris for Bjorn Fratangelo

Bjorn Fratangelo says he has come a long way since winning the French Open junior title five years ago. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

You are a 22-year-old qualifier coming off your exhilarating first ATP World Tour-level victory, against No. 48-ranked Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia. And now, in a rush of adrenaline and emotion, you have just won six of eight games in the desert at Indian Wells and taken the first set from world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

How do you process that? You don't.

"I really wasn't thinking at all," Bjorn Fratangelo told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "I was just trying to block out any thoughts in my head, good or bad. I had a game point for three-all but couldn't convert.

"I learned a lot about myself from playing with him. Finding that confidence was huge for me. It's been a bit of my downfall, questioning my ability. Everybody's always told me I have the game to succeed at this level. At times, I really didn't believe that. Now I do, and it feels good."

After a trying end to the 2015 season -- struggling with fatigue, injury and a death in the family -- Fratangelo, in a back-to-the-future piece of symmetry, finds himself headed back to Paris, the scene of his greatest title.

Truly out of nowhere, he won the 2011 boys' junior tournament at Roland Garros. After five years of searching for himself, Fratangelo will return as a main-draw player.

He won the 2016 USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge on Tuesday when Jared Donaldson lost his first-round match at the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger. Fratangelo accumulated the most points in the Challenger events in Savannah, Georgia, and in Sarasota and Tallahassee, Florida.

The women's wild card will be determined next week at an event in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida.

"It's unreal to be in the tournament, which obviously I have so many great memories from juniors," Fratangelo said. "It will always be a special place for me. Earning the wild card, not just having it thrown at me, makes it even better. Hopefully, I can make good use of it."

This will be his third straight appearance in a major main draw. He lost to No. 6-ranked Tomas Berdych in the first round of last year's US Open and, as a lucky loser in qualifying, fell to Stephane Robert of France earlier this year in Melbourne.

The win on the fabled red clay in Paris, as an unseeded 17-year-old, was a signature moment. But it came with some unforeseen baggage.

"I don't think I was ready for the amount of attention I received for that," Fratangelo explained. "I was always a good junior in the United States, but not a standout guy. To have all the eyes on a kid that was from as small suburb in Pittsburgh, thinking about going to college, took a lot of time to adjust.

"You learn and grow," Fratangelo said. "It was part of my journey. At 22, I'm way more mature about things.

"I'd like to think I'm very professional now with my career. I try to do everything, on and off the court, to maximize things. When I was young, I didn't do that as well. There's much more to the game than how you hit the ball."

He's now working with coach Brad Stine, who helped shape Jim Courier and Mardy Fish, among others, and is based at the USTA Professional Development facility in Boca Raton, Florida. Fratangelo started slowly this year, falling in the final round of qualifying in ATP events in Memphis and Delray Beach, but won the Challenger in Savannah, beating Frances Tiafoe -- the winner of last year's French wild card -- in the quarterfinals, Denis Kudla in the semifinals and Donaldson in the final.

Kudla, at No. 61, is one of eight Americans ranked among the ATP's top 100 players. Fratangelo is ninth-highest-ranked American, at No. 117 -- and rising toward his career-high of No. 106, achieved last summer. His immediate goal is to break into the top 100 in time to make the main draw at Wimbledon.

While that might put some pressure on Fratangelo, his long-term expectations are quite a bit higher -- if we're analyzing his first name. Is it a tribute to a certain 11-time Grand Slam champion from Sweden?

"Um, yes," Fratangelo said. "My dad, Mario, was a big fan of [Bjorn] Borg. He played growing up, and Borg was his idol. He met him at a senior event and they chatted. He and my mom decided to give me the name -- God knows why."

Fratangelo might have groaned at that point.

"It's a good first paragraph for you journalists."

Or a last paragraph.