Jerzy Janowicz talks Davis Cup, journalists, and Darren Cahill

Original source: http://sport.se.pl/inne-sporty/tenis/jerzy-janowicz-dziennikarze-tworza-fikcje-na-moj-temat_646978.html

Super Express: The joy of winning that final point against Stakhovsky was bigger than after winning an ATP tournament?

This is a special tournament, you get into a kind of trance. Also because we don’t play only  for ourselves but also for the country. There’s more adrenaline than usual, hence my excitement and joy.

This victory allowed you to forget about Wimbledon? 

There was no need, I forgot Wimbledon very quickly.

After the first match against Dolgopolov on Friday, many reproached you for snubbing the press – you answered their questions very sparingly.

My answers were short because sometimes I feel that journalists write about me what they want, so there’s no point in making long answers. No matter what I say, they make up stories about me.

But not everybody is unreliable?

No, not everybody. There are fair journalists who write the truth.

Your performance at Wimbledon will be remembered by many not because of how you did on the court but because you asked one of  the Polish journalists to leave the presser room…

Did anything extraordinary happen at that presser? I asked a journalist, politely, to leave the room. I’ve known him for 10 years, I know how he works, what he says about me and how it goes against me. What was written about that presser later was pure fiction. It so happens that I’ve been recording my pressers so that I can listen to them later. We can replay it – they are recorded by Wimbledon organizers – and everybody can listen for themselves. The media reported that I said that fans had bothered me, that I blamed them for the loss – that’s absurd, a story made up by journalists. I was asked who was yelling at me during my serve and I said – some Pole. Some of the journalists fabricated a story that fans had bothered me and I was blaming them.  Maybe that’s why it’s better to answer in two words because the longer I speak, the worse it gets for me and they will still add words that I didn’t use.

Why have you decided to work with Darren Cahill?

I’m sponsored by Adidas and Mr. Cahill works with them, that’s how we got in touch, discussed some details and I’m glad he’ll be in my team of consultants.

How about your plans now? Are you thinking about the US Open?

It’s way too early to be thinking about it, every tournament is important and all points count towards the rankings. I’m leaving for the Bastad tournament today.

~

Translation by @jesna3

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Frederik Løchte Nielsen: Revelations make me mentally stronger. Part one of three.

Part one of a three part interview by Philip Ørnø on the Danish tennis site Tennisavisen.dk with Danish pro Frederik Løchte Nielsen, who won the Wimbledon doubles title with Jonathan Marray in 2012.

Frederik Lløchte Nielsen has managed the transition from junior to senior as few other danes have done. So it seemed natural to ask him how he tackled the mental side of the game. In this conversation he spoke of the “revelations” and tennis player can get – both on and off the court.

When I here revelation, I think of a turning point in your live where you suddenly see things from a new angle and in an extremely constructive way. It’s an “aha” moment or a moment of clarity.

Løchte Nielsen has had an astonishing number of revelations, but three stand out for him:

A couple of weeks ago, just before the Davis Cup, I saw a documentary about football in Colombia, about drug money and players who were killed when they lost. It struck me that they were playing for their lives, and that tennis had absolutely no consequences for my life. I play because I choose to and because it makes me happy.

The only consequence tennis can have for my life is that every time I don’t compete happy or with peace of mind, it’s a match lost on my record. The only consequence ihas is that I can lose the opportunity for many more experiences. There are no existential consequences.

I have a roof over my head, food and a bed, and even when things go badly, I’ll likely figure something out, so that aspect of my life is never in danger. So why do I get nervous, why do I get angry and disappointed in myself? The are no consequences with losing. They’re imaginary.

That revelation goes seems to segue into the next.

Problems are imaginary. They don’t exist. They’re only problems when I make them problems.

There are no bad balls

It’s likely happened to most players that their forehand or backhand is suddenly a problem. But it’s only something we pretend, thinks Løchte Nielsen. If we conclude that we’re hitting the ball badly, then we’re hitting it badly because we choose to.

It’s the same with bad conditions – bad balls, courts, situations, that my opponent is cheating – “bad” is a value you attribute to it which doesn’t help you as a player. It’s something I’ve become very aware of.

Løchte Nielsen has a rule: he mustn’t use adjectives with words like balls, courts, tournaments etc. He must only use constructive sentences like: “the court is slow so I need to prepare myself to play longer rallies.” That way he’s simply trying to control what he can control.

No one is afraid of losing

The third and last revelation for Frederik was as much a theory as a revelation:

No one in tennis is afraid of losing. I think players are afraid of facing their demons, which are much more exposed by a loss than a win. We can disguise it better when there are good results on the board. We can forget our demons when we win, or we can in any case be blind to them.

With a loss we’re reminded of our demons and the things we don’t like about ourselves. I think we’ve all had the experience of leaving the court as losers when we’ve played really well. So it isn’t losses were afraid of – we’re afraid of performing badly. And that’s also why so many defence mechanism come out.”

Instead of throwing excuses around, you need to prepare yourself, thinks Løchte Nielsen. Accept the level you’re at, accept that there are limitations. In that way you can be fair to yourself and not be so hard on yourself when things go badly. Or as Løchte Nielsen says:

When things go badly, it’s not because I’m doing it on purpose. I can’t control the outcome, so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I can be hard on myself for only three things: intention, intensity and concentration. Those are the three things I can control.

Translated by MAN

Eduardo Schwank talks injury, comeback, goals

Original source:  http://www.ole.com.ar/tenis/Arranco-cero_0_1348665421.html

“I’m starting from scratch”

Eduardo Schwank will make his comeback at the Villa María Futures Tournament after nine months of inactivity, product of the fractures he suffered on his left arm in a bicycle accident in Gstaad. “I felt like giving up, but I miss the adrenaline of tennis, and I have a lot of energy”, he said to Olé.

His last match was on July 24th 2014, a defeat in doubles with Marcel Granollers in Gstaad, the same place where a few hours later he fell from his bike while training in the mountains, turning his tennis career  into a huge question mark. The fractures on his left arm kept Eduardo Schwank away from a racket for too long… nine months.

“At the beginning I didn’t wanna deal with it. I was pretty depressed, and I was constantly remembering the accident. But everything happens for a reason. Inactivity made me realise the important things. Right now I have a lot of energy, and I really appreciate this return to the courts,” says the 29-year-old while preparing to play the Villa María Future in Córdoba, starting on Monday.

-How are you preparing your comeback?

-I’m feeling better every day, I started to train eight weeks ago, and in the last two weeks I started hitting backhands. I’m lacking competition, but I’ll start with some Futures to get some rhythm. I wont be looking for results, I just want to be fine and feel no pain.

-What is it that you missed the most during this nine months?

-I missed the adrenaline of tennis. I’ve been doing some other activities, but I couldn’t find anything like it. The tension before a match… those things that when you’re on the tour you take naturally, and you don’t really appreciate.

-Do you see the tour differently from the outside?

-Yes. You get used to packing your bags, getting on a plane, living in hotels. You don’t have time for anything else. The first two months without playing went by really slow for me. I miss that too… having your head wrapped around the competition.

What are your targets now? You are starting without ranking in singles…

-If everything goes well in Futures in this country, I’m thinking about traveling to the Challengers in Europe, playing quallies and trying to gain points. That’s the only way to start. When I start getting rhythm I’m dangerous. Results will come as I feel better.

-You turned pro in 2005. Is it hard to set up your mind to start again?

-Yes, it’s like starting a new career. I’m starting from scratch. But I have the support of a team, and I’m also doing this for self-pride, because I want to go back to play ATP tournaments. I know it will take time. But I’m going to do this with more professionalism than I did before.

-How do you stand the daily struggle with the body? Del Potro is living the same thing.

-It’s hard when there’s a retrogression. I was well in December, but then in January I had to have surgery on my elbow, that delayed the comeback and got into my head. Everything fell apart for me when the doctor told me it was going to take four more months. It’s frustrating to not be 100% phisically. It must be really ugly to have to retire from your career because of an injury.

-Did you ever think of quitting tennis?
-Many times. I thought of leaving everything and moving forward with my Academy (Schwank Tennis Center) and having more time for my Fundation (Estar Eduardo Schwank) that keeps opening schools for disabled kids. But I still think that tennis can give me things. I thinl I have a lot of years ahead in my career. [Nowadays] players stay longer on the tour.

-What goals do you still have?
-Tennis gave me more than I ever expected. I’ve done great things in doubles (N: He was a finalist at Roland Garros 2011 with Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal), but I neglected singles, and that’s something I want to fix. I want to have a good ranking again (48th in the world in June 2010). My head was not 100% at the time.

-Does Davis Cup motivate you? You played some great battles with Nalbandian, and you went to watch the tie against Brazil.

-Yes, that’s one of the main reasons I want to return. I’ve never felt anything quite like representing my country, it’s a huge responsibility and it’s not the same as playing on the tour, mainly when the crowd is in your favour. It’s one of my targets. I hope I can play it, even if it is just once more.

~

Translation by @WTAenespanol

Florian Mayer exclusive interview: “I’ve got the desire back for tennis!”

From http://www.tennismagazin.de/interview/florian-mayer-exklusiv-ich-habe-wieder-richtig-lust/2/

Translation of article in German from Tennis Magazin by Florian Vonholdt 19 March 2015

Florian Mayer exclusive: “I’ve got the desire back for tennis!”

After more than a year away from the game through injury, Florian Mayer (returned) to the tour in early April at Monte Carlo. As preparation for this, he (played) in a Futures tournament from Monday in Rovinj, Croatia. The 31-year-old spoke to tennismagazin.de about his time on the side-lines, any thoughts about ending his career and his objectives for the 2015 season.

Florian, you’re (made) your comeback on 13 April at the ATP tournament in Monte Carlo on clay. Why there in particular?

Mayer: After my long lay-off, I’d like to get started in particular during the clay court season, and Monte Carlo is the first major tournament on clay.

Why did you delay your return so long? You were out of the tour for a year.

Unfortunately, the injury was even more prolonged than originally thought, which means that the rehab and work to build up my strength could only happen slowly and gradually.

You were diagnosed last March with pelvic swelling. How do you get an injury like that? Is it from overexertion?

I’ve been on the tour for 12 years now. And although I’ve been largely injury free for that time, your body is still subject to strain. The injury that I had is not uncommon in sport. It occurs fairly frequently in football, for instance.

What treatment did you receive for it? Was it conservative or did you also have to undergo surgery?

Only conservative treatment was given. The most important thing was that I needed to be patient.

Was it painful during everyday activities or only when you exerted any strain on it?

To begin with, I felt pain everywhere, no matter whether I was moving about or lying in bed. Then it gradually got better over time, to the extent that I could, for instance, start slowly doing things, such as cycling.

How did you spend your time during your enforced break? Could you do any kind of training or was it complete rest that the doctor ordered?

At the start, it was very important for me to rest. Then I began some gentle cycling. Later on I could do power training for my upper body, and I also began to do some slow jogging. What was important was not to overdo things, but to build up my strength rather slowly.

Was it clear from the outset that your injury break would last so long or were there setbacks during the healing process?

No one could have expected that it would last so long. But the doctors had told me already early on that I should come to terms with the fact that it might take a whole six months for the injury to heal completely.

During that difficult period, did you also have any thoughts about possibly ending your career?

No. Obviously, it wasn’t always easy to have the patience that was needed. But I was basically optimistic as the doctors’ prognosis from the start had been positive, which was that I’d make a full recovery from the injury.

In the meantime, was there any contact between you and your “fellow patient” Tommy Haas?

No, we weren’t in touch.

Was the operation you had on your groin in January a consequence of the pubic bone injury or was there no connection at all with it?

No. The one injury had nothing to do at all with the other.

When was the first time you got back on the training court with a racquet in your hand?

End of January. Before that, I was constantly training to build up my strength.

What objectives have you set yourself for 2015?

Basically, I’d first like to get through the season healthy and fit. I’d like to simply enjoy playing. At the moment, I don’t have any specific objectives, such as reaching a particular ranking.

What protected ranking have you been given? And in which tournaments will you be using it?

My protected ranking is 34. I will definitely be using it in the Grand Slams and Masters Series tournaments like Monte Carlo or Shanghai in the autumn. I also hope to get the odd wild card for tournaments in Germany.

There was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the Davis Cup team during your absence. What’s your view of the events between Carsten Arriens and Philipp Kohlschreiber? (translator: Arriens dropped Kohlschreiber from German team last year for refusing to play a dead rubber)

I followed everything that went on just from the outside and don’t know the background to what happened. So, I can’t make any comment about it.

You know them both well. Did you speak to either of the men involved about the situation?

No.

What do you think about the new management set-up, with Michael Kohlmann as team captain and Niki Pilic as an adviser?

I know Michael Kohlmann very well. He offers a good solution and is very popular with the players. And what can we say about Niki Pilic? He has an incredible amount of experience, especially when it comes to Davis Cup.

How do you feel about getting back into the Davis Cup team?

At the moment, I’m not giving it any thought yet, quite frankly. I need to be fully fit again and wait to see how things go for me. If I stay healthy and my performance is at the right level, I’ll be available again for the team in the future.

In 2008 you also had to have a break for different reasons and for a longer period of time, and you came back even stronger, getting into the top 20 for the first time. How confident are you that you’ll manage to make a similar comeback yet again?

Top 20 is still a long way off. My first target is to get into the top 100 again by the end of the year. Then, we’ll see what happens from there. But, I’m optimistic and I’ve really got the desire back for tennis.

Translated by Gerry.

The Lighter side of Timea Bacsinszky – an interview by Svenja Mastroberardino @svenja_mastro

Interview by Svenja Mastroberardino from this piece on Lets Talk Tennis.

With 21 wins this season, of which 13 are consecutive, Timea Bacsinszky is off and running. The high flyer took the time to answer some rather more unusual questions from us at Lets Talk Tennis. In our interview we asked the 25-year-old about being mistaken for another, autographs and her music “sins”.

When did you last get an autograph?

It’s been quite a while. Several years ago I met Roger Tennis in the car park near Swiss Tennis in Biel. But I didn’t dare ask him for an autograph myself, so I sent Pierre Paganini after him and he came back with the autograph.

Hmm … it just occurred to me that wasn’t the last time. At the US Open in 2007 I had sore foot, so Martina Hingis lent me a pair of her shoes. I put them back in her locker after the match. The next day they were lying in my locker. Martina thought she had enough shoes so I could keep them. Then I asked her to autograph them.

When was the last time you were confused for someone else?

-That happened just recently in Acapulco. I was jumping rope to warm up and someone went up to my coach Dimitri and asked if I was Maria Sharapova. That made me laugh. Thank you so much, dear fan, but I’m not that big [laughs].

When was the last time you shared a room with a player?

It was quite a while ago. The last time I shared a room was with Imane Maelle Kocher at the Swiss club competition in 2010. She’s super nice and we laughed a lot together. On the tour it’s even farther back than that, 2007 I think. A former coach once told me that eating and sleeping are the most important things and to get enough of them. Whenever it was financially possible I’ve taken single rooms. Privacy is important for a tennis player.

When was the last time you bought a souvenir?

In Acapulco I bought about 20 small stuffed parrot key fobs. I’ll take them back to Switzerland to give to my nieces, my mother and my friend as small souvenirs. I always try bring a small keepsake from each place I’ve been to. Usually they’re magnets for my fridge – I have about 40 of them. So if someone doesn’t know what to give me, I’m always happy with magnets [laughs].

What was your worst experience travelling?

That would be in 2010 from Los Angeles to Miami. Fires broke out twice on board in the middle of the flight. They turned out to be nothing serious, but there was real panic on the plane. I was very happy when we landed safely.

When was the last time you were complemented by a player?

I have to say I received a lot of congratulations for my two tournament wins, from Aleksandra Krunic among others. I had a long talk with her last year at the ITF tournament in Kreuzlingen. We talked about how difficult it was to come back and climb up the rankings. After my win in Acapulco she hugged me and said, ‘Do you remember our talk? This is great, I’m so happy for you.’ At Indian Wells, Lesia Tsurenko, whom I beat in Acapulco and Monterrey, also congratulated me. It’s nice to hear that from opponents. It doesn’t happen often. I’d like to take this time to thank everyone for the many kind words and messages.

When did you last follow a tennis match on a scoreboard?

Last week for the Davis Cup. I followed all the matches and almost missed breakfast. Huge congratulations to the guys who almost made the impossible possible. Congratulations too to Henri for his performance, it was unbelievable. It was quite exhausting, almost fever-inducing [laughs].

Which musicians/bands on your Ipod are most cringe-worthy?

Hmmm … I have a song by Justin Bieber on my Ipod I thought was pretty good a few years ago, now I hardly listen to it. I have two songs by the Backstreet Boys I never play unless I’m with friends. They give me very funny looks. I still have some Britney Spears, but I’ll delete them soon.

How did you celebrate your wins in Acapulco and Monterrey?

After the win in Acapulco I had dinner with Dimitri and Andreas [Timea’s friend – Ed.] They both drank a glass of wine. I didn’t  because I had a flight the next morning. We captured the moment with a couple of Polaroids. It’s a very nice memory.

In Monterrey we got back to the hotel a 3.30 AM. I then spent 10 minutes alone outside. It was cold but it did me good. I listened to a Massive Attack song then enjoyed the peace and quiet. Then I had to go quickly back to my room and pack my things. Our transportation to the airport was arriving at 5. So we’ll celebrate properly when we’re back in Switzerland. We’ll organize something lovely and invite our friends. I’m really looking forward to it.

Who is your dream partner in doubles and mixed doubles?

With the women, it’s obviously Kim Clijsters. I found her super nice. I’m convinced we’d have a lot of fun together. Justine Henin would also be a great partner. With the men, it’s Roger. But it would be cool with Stan too. What do you think, should I ask him for the Olympic Games in Rio [laughs]? I’d like to play with Nadal too. He’s a defensive wall.

Translated by MAN

Gala León and the battle over her appointment

Original source: http://www.tennistopic.com/rod-laver-arena/noticias/el-caso-gala-leon-llega-la-moncloa/

The Spanish Tennis Federation has asked for an audience with Spanish President Mariano Rajoy after the National Sports Council recently requested the written proceedings of the meeting at which Gala León was selected as captain for the Spanish Davis Cup team. According to Fernando Fernandez-Ladreda, vice-president of the Federation, “This is a ploy by Miguel Cardenal, Secretary of State for Sport, to dismiss the first female captain of a male national team.”

“We’ve sent a telegram – attached to her election certificate – to the President of Spain , Mariano Rajoy, who has always supported this sport, and was present at the Davis Cup semi final in Cordoba – a match that gave us our entry to our last Davis Cup in Sevilla – asking him to straighten out this mess, considering that this manoeuvre of Miguel Cardenal comes eight months after the appointment,” explained the Federation in a press release. “Since July 2014,  Miguel Cardenal has neither visited nor congratulated Gala León, and she was forbidden from using the Sports Council room for her introduction, acts for which Cardenal has been reported to the National Court; and now he casts doubts about the legality of her appointment by demanding proceedings that have never been asked for previously, for example with Albert Costa, Alex Corretja or Carlos Moyá, just to mention a few examples.”

“In sport there must be people who know about sports,” Nadal said after beating Simon at Indian Wells. “In sports there must be people that understand. It’s as if you put me as a director of a hospital! I don’t know anything about medicine and how things work there,” continued the world number three when he found out about the situation in his press conference. “The people who run, who make the decisions, must know about the sport. It’s always a good thing when the people that make decisions have experienced all the levels of the sport: as coach, as a player, as a kid when you go and play a tournament … it’s important to have experienced all those levels to make important decisions,” continued the winner of fourteen Grand Slams. “And not only in terms of Davis Cup captaincy, but also at the federal level. It’s complicated, the way of choosing the people that make decisions in our sport. In my honest opinion, it’s complicated to find people that really understand what they need to do.”

How did we get to this point? Two regional federations (Castilla Leon and Aragon) reported to the Sports Council that the election of León as captain of the Davis Cup team wasn’t done according to the regulations. The policies of the organization that rules tennis in Spain say that the board of directors must vote on the appointment of the person who will direct the team. However, after Carlos Moya stepped down as captain last September, Jose Luis Escañuela offered León the position without a vote, even if the federation insists she had been ratified by the directors twice and they have shown “total unanimity” in supporting the first female coach of the men’s team.

That’s how the conflict came to the Senate, where the government had to answer the question of how they would fix the mess. “Prior to any possible action in the matter, it should be noted that the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation [RSTF] should clarify and examine the appointment of Gala León as Captain of the Davis Cup team as doubts have been raised about its legality. That is the responsibility of the board of the RSTF,” replied the government in a statement to Narvay Quintero Castañeda, Canary Coalition senator. “Independent of this issue, proposals and sports projects of the RSTF, monitoring and approval, are coordinated with the General Department of High Competition Sports Council, like the rest of Spanish sports federations. Finally, regarding the debate generated by the designation of Gala León as captain of the Davis Cup team, the players have already stated publicly that they have focused on sporting criteria, not gender.”

Now, while León tries to convince tennis players in Indian Wells to take part in the next event in July (Spain travels to Russia looking for their first win to return to the World Group, and many of them haven’t even talked to her) smoke is seeping out of the offices and trenches are being dug for what is coming. The message is clear: the Federation, with the men’s team in the second division and the women’s fighting relegation to the third,  is in a war that is not being played on the court.

~

Translated by https://twitter.com/MSharapovaWeb with an assist from @markalanix

Interview with Umpire James Keothavong

From an interview with chair umpire James Keothavong conducted by B92’s Saša Ozmo during the first round of Davis Cup in Serbia.  Brit Keothavong earned the ITF’s “gold badge” rating in 2010.

On officiating the 2014 Wimbledon final between Djoković and Federer.
“You know what, it was my first Wimbledon men’s singles final.  To be given that assignment is a great honor.  That the All England Club and the Grand Slam committee believe in my performance as a chair umpire—it’s great to have that feeling walking out on that court.  It was  fantastic: a classic five-set match between the two best players in the world, Novak and Roger.  It was about four hours and ended up being one of the greatest finals of all time.  For me to be part of that was a great feeling and an honor.”

On his impressions of Serbia.
“This is probably my fifth time here, all for tennis: Fed Cup and Davis Cup.  It’s great to be back.  The previous ties have been in Belgrade, so this is the first time we’ve actually experienced life outside the capital.  It’s slightly different, slightly smaller, Kraljevo [laughs; the city’s population is 70,000].  But it’s great for the federation to bring the tie here and promote tennis in this part of the country as well.  As you could see, it was a capacity crowd—everybody wanted to see Novak, of course, Viktor, and the Serbian team.  Overall, it was a great atmosphere.”

“Unfortunately, we haven’t had that much time to go on a tour—we’re here for four days and three of those days are for work.  But what we’ve seen so far has been really nice. . . . The people, above all, have been really warm and friendly to us, which makes our job worthwhile.  As you know, we get to see quite a bit of the world, we travel to many different countries, meet lots of different people; so, it’s great to come back to Serbia and have good memories.”

On working with “Hawk-Eye” & the challenge system.
“When it initially came out [in 2006], the chair umpires didn’t know what to expect.  But, over the years, we’ve all found a way of umpiring on a ‘Hawk-Eye’ court.  How I deal with it is that I pretend it’s not there; so, I step in when I have to, I overrule when I have to.  I think that’s the way officiating is going at the moment—all the top chair umpires are doing that.  It’s not just about calling the score or sitting there and not seeing anything.  I think it’s important that we still do our job, and we use ‘Hawk-Eye’ as a tool for officiating.  The players appreciate that and we appreciate it; but, at the same time, we still have to do what we have to do and not just rely on technology.”

“Obviously, when you sit up in that chair and things are going right, it can be the best seat in the house.  But when things start going wrong, it’s a lonely place.  There’s only you sitting up there.  Occasionally, you have players on your back—or, in Fed Cup and Davis Cup situations, captains on your back.  You know, that’s part and parcel of what we do.  If we make a wrong overrule, then we have to deal with it.  We’re human, just like the players—they make mistakes; umpires make mistakes.  But we try to keep those mistakes to a minimum.  The majority of the players now, they don’t really mind when we step in; and if we get it wrong by one or two millimeters, it’s not the end of the world.  I think they prefer us to officiate the match like that than not do anything.  I don’t think there are many mistakes made by the top chair umpires, but it’s a good officiating tool and we’re glad to have it.”

Did he refuse to shake Xavier Malisse’s hand in 2013?
“No, I have to say on record that it’s not true.  It was a misunderstanding.  It was a long match, and I shook the opponent’s hand, Garcia-Lopez, to the right-hand side and I didn’t realize that Xavier had offered his hand. Somebody got hold of it and made it news. . . . Touch wood, there hasn’t been too much controversy [in my matches].

On match fixing
“No, I haven’t had any connection, any communication, or noticed any players doing anything out of the ordinary.  So, I can’t comment on that….  You know more than I do.  To be honest, we have to do what we do—we concentrate on our matches—and whatever happens outside the matches is up to whoever decides [those matters].  But I’ve never been approached and I don’t know of any players who’ve been approached.  I haven’t umpired a match that’s had any sort of suspicion.”

On relations with players
“Let’s face it, we travel with the players week in, week out, and we see them at the tournament hotels.  As I said before, we’re human as well: it’s not us versus them.  But they have their teams, their entourage, and we have our colleagues.  It’s all civil: “Hello, how are you?”  The only thing we don’t do is go out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with them.  It’s a professional set-up, as you would expect from organizations such as ITF, ATP, WTA.  We do our job, they do their job, and we like to keep it that way….  We don’t have friends or favorites—we treat the players equally.”

On his favorite tour destination
“I love Australia… You know, it’s winter over here in Europe during that time—the end of December, January—and it’s always cold.  Then you go to Australia and it’s right in the middle of their summer-time—it’s just great.  Straight after Christmas for us, we go over there and there’s sunshine, everyone’s happy, everyone’s wearing shorts and t-shirts, you can play tennis outside.  I couldn’t think of anything better.”

On officials’ salaries
“That’s the million-dollar question.  All I can say is that we don’t get paid enough.  You can write that” [laughs].