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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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.

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

“I can be very tough on myself”: Interview with umpire Louise Engzell

“I can be very tough on myself”

From an interview by Johanna Jonsson on Tennis.se.

After the Swedish tennis miracle, a new blue and yellow has taken over the tennis world. In an interview, umpire Louise Engzell talks about the work behind the scenes on the international professional tennis tours. “We take a lot of crap sometimes,” she says.

Umpiring Grand Slam finals on the tennis world’s greatest scene was far from a childhood dream.  As a youth, Louise Engzell had her eyes opened to umpiring when, much against her will, she umpired matches at her home club of Sollentuna.

“We were forced to take a course when we were quite small, and that’s the way it went. I didn’t think much of it at all at the beginning. Later on we took another course and it began to be fun. We could take part in the Kalle Anka (the present SEB Next Generation Cup) in Båstad, start to travel a little and then take part in the Swedish Open and the Stockholm Open,” says the 34-year-old whose career starting point came after taking an Elite-level umpiring course.

No one needs to force her into the umpiring chair today. She said yes to going home to Sweden for the Davis Cup tie in Jönköping to work during her holidays.

“The best part of being an umpire is the challenge. You never know what awaits you when you go to work,” says Engzell, who has lived in Paris for the last few years.

What is the worst part?

“We take a lot of crap sometimes. But you learn and grow all the time. We talk a lot with our colleagues and bosses, we go through and analyse what you did or didn’t do and always try and better ourselves. Sometimes it isn’t even a mistake and there’s still an uproar.”

Scolded by Berdych

One good example was at last year’s US Open when she was yelled at by Tomas Berdych. The Czech exploded after a correct umpiring decision but said he was sorry on Twitter the day after. Only she knows what went through her head, as she won’t talk about particular situations or individual players. On the TV screen, she looks like a calm umpire in the chair—something which Engzell sees as one of her strengths.

“I can keep my cool without getting too stressed. I can read different personalities quite well and see how to tackle the different players and their personalities.”

Are you good at taking criticism?

“It’s something I can improve on. I can be very tough on myself, which can also be good. I get angry and it takes a while to get myself together. Especially if you’re not 100% sure if you could have explained things in a better way and had the match better under control. In those situations you can sit and ponder and think,” she says.

“Swedish umpires have become a thing on the tours”

Together with, among others, her fellow Swede Mohamed Lahyani and Lars Graff as well as a group of tournament officials of a high international level, Louise Engzell is part of Swedish umpiring elite.

“I don’t know why we have so many umpires. It’s actually become a thing on the tours—especially now, when we don’t have so many players at the top levels, but a lot of top umpires.”

The 34-year-old has umpired Grand Slam finals at the French Open and the US Open, as well as the Olympic final in London in 2012, but still thinks she has a ways to go to reach the status of fellow Swedes Lahyani and ex-umpire Graff.

“I’m on my way there. I haven’t been at the job that long yet. It takes many, many years to get the same respect. It’s very much about trust, that they can trust you. You can win a lot with trust. It means you can handle a match better.”

After the finals in Paris and New York, Engzell has two matches on her dream list.

“I’d like to do one final in all the different Grand Slam tournaments. So Wimbledon and the Australian Open are there.”

Louise Engzell on …

Hawkeye:

“It’s just positive. The advantage with Hawkeye is that it’s a final judgement. Whether the player agrees or not, there no one to complain to or yell at. They accept it and play goes on. It’s fantastic and makes things so much easier.”

Psychology in the umpiring chair:

“Different players react in different ways. Some players you need to be harder with right from the start, others you can use a softer approach with. Some players want you to tell them if they’re taking too long between points while others just want the warning directly. It’s about getting to know the players.”

Relations with the players:

“We have no relations with the players. Those are the rules. There can’t be any semblance of a reason to doubt your fairness because you’ve had dinner with a player. There cannot be any question. And you don’t, if at all possible, umpire a player from your own country. You try and avoid all problems that could possibly arise.”

Her best matches:

“The US Open final in 2012 between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. I think it was one of the longest women’s matches ever.”

“The Olympic final in London is a special memory. The atmosphere was fantastic even if the match was rather short. Serena won 6-0, 6-1 against Sharapova.”

“One of my best matches was the 2012 Davis Cup match between Romania and Finland. It was the deciding match and it took almost five hours. It was extremely close and tense, a really good atmosphere and ambiance. It doesn’t need to be top players playing each other, it can even be at a lower level. The atmosphere is one you can only get at a DC match.”

Her favourite tournament:

“I hadn’t been in Båstad for a very long time, so I was there this (last) year. It was really cool coming back to Sweden. I like the atmosphere, the mood; everyone’s equal and eat together no matter what their job is. Besides that, I like the Grand Slam tournaments a lot. Each one is different from the other.”

Translated from the Swedish by Mark Nixon.

Many thanks to Victoria Chiesa for the tip.

Juan Martín Del Potro talks injury and Davis Cup in radio interview

From a 12 February interview with Juan Martín Del Potro on the Argentine radio show El Grupo de la Muerte from Vorterix Radio. You can listen to the original here.

Question: Hello, Juan. It’s been a long time—how are you?  How’s everything?

Juan Martín Del Potro: Very well.  Resting before the afternoon practice, and the hand treatments later; I’ll finish with everything tonight.

Q: Well, for many of us, myself included, to hear you saying “the afternoon practice” is already big news—the fact that you are working physically already.

JMDP: Yes, a couple of days ago I started hitting forehands, serving, volleying. Obviously, backhand will be the last thing I’ll start to practice because I’m still doing mobility exercises for my wrist.  If everything goes well, next Monday I’ll start going to the gym and trying to strengthen it; and possibly by the end of next week, I’ll start hitting with my left hand to continue to advance my rehabilitation.

Q: What did Dr. Berger explain to you about this surgery compared with the last one you had?

JMDP: It’s a lot easier and a lot simpler than the other injury.  In my backhand movement, before the impact with the ball, I had some injured tissue, the product of bones that were colliding and rubbing that tissue and damaging it.  It was very hard to fix it with other treatments, and when he saw me he recommended the surgery, one that was not as serious as the one I had before—and I didn’t want to waste any more time.  The time for this rehab is much less than the time for my previous rehab, and I’m looking forward—I’m very anxious to play again, whether it’s in the upcoming tournaments in the US, Indian Wells and Miami, or it’s in the clay tournaments in Europe.  It’ll be great if [my comeback] could be in that span of time.

Q: There’s a big difference between this surgery and the other injuries and procedures you had—you’re looking at much closer targets, you’re talking about Indian Wells and Miami, that would be March; and the other tournaments you were mentioning would be in April.  If we understand correctly, your comeback could be really soon.

JMDP: Yes, well, obviously with the hand like this it’s difficult to set exact dates because I’m going day by day; but compared with the other process, I’m going much faster.  After a week without the cast, I have almost 100% mobility, I’m starting to do strengthening exercises.  Last time it took me months to start doing all that, so… I don’t know today exactly what tournament I’ll be coming back.  I think that when the hand allows me to—when I don’t feel any discomfort or fear or any serious pain—I’ll go out and train during competition, during tournaments, because that helps me so much more than just staying in one place with my coach.  I feel like I advanced so much during my run in Australia, during those matches I got to play in Sydney.  That helped me much more than if I’d kept training in Buenos Aires.  That’s what I need: competition-level rhythm against big players.  Those things that I can only get when I’m on the tour.

Q: In the little time you got in the tour this year, what was it like to come back? Who greeted you?  How did your occasional rivals react when they saw you again on the tour?

JMDP: The truth is, everyone was really cool.  Sydney was my first encounter with my colleagues.  Leo Mayer was there, Charly Berlocq too; we were training together in Buenos Aires and we get along well.  Fognini, the Spanish players, players from other countries.  People from the ATP, the Australian fans—I had won that tournament the year before, so they were happy to see me.  Then, when I arrived in Melbourne, I met Rafa, Roger, Djokovic, their coaches… Going back to the world of tennis that I missed so much for so long was really nice; it lasted so little, yet I enjoyed it so much and it was very useful for me because it gave me energy to face the complicated period that I’m going through now.  Those days left me with a very positive feeling.  All the people that set their alarms to wake up early to see me, all the nice stuff that people were doing, I felt it, and they gave me strength to continue and to not give up.

Q: Did you feel in the match against Fognini that maybe you could let loose your arm and unleash your backhand?

JMDP: It was hard.  It was hard because when you are playing every day, recovery time is very short, so treatments don’t really help with that.  The hand wasn’t responding like I wanted, and I think even Kukushkin realised that in the next match, because he started to hit everything to the backhand, and the effort that I had to do to avoid it was really big.  Because of that, I said to myself, “I don’t wanna lose any more time, I’m off to see Berger and try to solve this once and for all, and go out and play in even conditions.”  After that, it’ll probably be a long process of wins and losses, but the main thing for me is to be healthy and be in equal conditions [with my opponents].  That would be a great relief, especially mentally.

Q: There’s a little time now until the Davis Cup tie against Brazil.  Can you put in your own words your position on the Davis Cup and Argentine tennis?

JMDP: That was the thing that I was trying to say through the open letters that I wrote back in the day, when I started to speak out and try to communicate with some leaders.  Some time after that, there were some changes: Diego Gutierrez showed up, “Palito” Fidalgo, Cervone… We started to have a good dialogue, a respectful one, and together we started talking about what would be the road Argentine tennis should take to grow, beyond me playing or not in Davis Cup. Back then, I talked about Argentine tennis not having a top performance centre, about a lot of junior players not being able to afford to travel overseas, or about how hard it is to start playing tennis because of how costly it is, and lots of things that structurally didn’t work.  With being injured, I had a lot of time to think about all that stuff, about the path we should follow, and obviously about the day that I could return to Davis Cup, because I really love to play it.  All of this was done with the purpose of seeking that goal.  Luckily, the new leaders [of the Argentine Tennis Association] are heading in the same direction—we all want the same things.

It was not easy—everyone knows it.  I suffered a lot during this time, even more without playing.  When you’re playing and winning, you can handle it better; but this way, I lived it more in the flesh, and I learned a lot.  My best source of strength was my belief in my convictions, my trust in myself that I was doing the right thing.  I tried not to listen and act in silence, like I did before.  I tried not to listen to the lies—and with these new leaders, I felt like I was being listened to and I felt less alone, that I was not the only one thinking that things needed to change in general in Argentine tennis.  Today, things are going the right way and we have a positive message to give.  Particularly for me, the good news I have to give is that I will be playing Davis Cup again, as soon as possible.  It’s a beautiful thing that I wanted to share with a lot of people who were waiting for this—a lot of people who were waiting with me, suffering with me, listening to many painful things.  But that’s looking back, and the best thing we can do is to look forward now that Argentina has a lot of power, a lot of potential.  There are a lot of players raising their level and that’s really important.  We shouldn’t think so much about the Davis Cup—we should think about more global things, like the great federations of the world do.  We should start to change things so we can compete with those worldwide powers.

Q: Juan, in conversations I had with people who know about this subject, they were saying that obviously everyone knows the importance of Juan Martin playing Davis Cup, but there are a lot of other things about your presence that are influential: being close to the team, close to the young players, and so on.  What I want to know is if there’s any chance of us seeing you around in the tie against Brazil or not.

JMDP: Yes, well, [being around] helps a lot.  One of the things that I was saying before is that whenever I felt like there are other people who are willing to change Argentine tennis with me, I was going to be there in any form, if they needed me.  As of today, with my hand the way it is, I spend most of the day rehabilitating and working to come back to the courts; but I also know that I can help by being around in Tecnópolis [Argentina’s training center]—hitting forehands, serving to my teammates, spending time in the locker room, sharing experiences, talking.  The captain knows it; I gave him this message.  My teammates also know this, and they are aware of the situation today.  No doubt, I will be there against Brazil cheering and supporting the team—and I’ll be there for anything they need.  That’s all I can do these days, and hopefully if we win this round, I will be able to play in the next tie and be on court and not on the side—because that’s my thing, and I want to enjoy it, like I did when I played Davis Cup before, like I did at the Olympic Games, and like I always do on the tour.

Q: One of the things we heard your colleagues say about you this last time when you had to pull out of the tour again—I think it was Dimitrov and Nadal who said this—is that maybe you should try to change the way you hit your backhand. How long can it take for a player to change his style of play when he’s built a whole career playing a certain way?  Is it possible to change the way you do something, when you’ve done it your entire life in a determined way?

JMDP: Yes, I listened to those things.  Dimitrov even told me this in person, that I should start to hit a one-handed backhand.  I think if I start practising one-handed backhands today, I wouldn’t even be able to hit it like Franco [Davin] hits it today (laughs).  But, it’s too hard.  It would be way too complicated.  I’m not even considering it.  I want to recover my hand and be able to hit [my backhand] hard like I’ve done throughout my career.  I think they meant something like, “If this is a career-threatening thing, then you should try to hit it with one hand.”  If that was the case, I’ll take it as advice; but right now, I’m willing to make the effort to recover my backhand.  I want to have not only a powerful forehand but also a powerful backhand, like I always did.

Q: Since 2010, when the problems on your wrists started, were there moments of discouragement?  How did you feel when these issues started to pull you away for so long?

JMDP: Injuries are the worst thing that can happen in the life of an athlete.  In the last years, I’ve felt like my life had lots of ups and downs—at some point, I could go back to my best ranking, and then again things changed because of an injury and all the bad things came back.  And that’s how these last years have been for me.  It hasn’t been easy.  It’s not easy to live with an injury that pulls you away from the courts for so long.  It’s the hardest match I’ve ever played.  It tires you physically, it wears you out mentally, it fills you with fear, doubts, and uncertainty.  You wake up every day thinking, “Will this be the end of my career?”

But today I feel very strong—I won’t give up because of this.  I know this is a big rock in my road, but I’m really trying.  I have great desire to play again, and this Davis Cup news fills me with energy, with good vibes; those are the things I need to play tennis again.  After that, I will try to put together an intelligent schedule to take care of my hand, and to enjoy playing, because all this time I was out I had a really bad time—I cried a lot.  It’s truly ugly to watch on TV, to see that the big tournaments are opening up, and the big names winning Grand Slams are starting to change, and me feeling like I could be there and not being able to compete… It’s really hard.  But, well, I had to go through this and I have to be strong now.  After this, just by playing again, I will be happy and I’m going to enjoy it a lot.

Q: When Marin Čilić, who is your friend, won the US Open, it was like he was saying, “Juan, come back—we’re waiting for you.”

JMDP: Yeah, I was in touch with him, and I was very happy for him.  We’ve known each other since we were 12, and there he was living the same thing that I lived a few years ago.  Winning such a tournament is not easy and he really deserved it.  Nishikori, who reached the final, is also one of the kids that I grew up with.  I think it’s really good for tennis to see those new names winning Grand Slams, so people won’t get bored seeing the same guys winning all the time (laughs).  I did think, “That could be me, competing in the best tournaments against the best players, and instead I have to deal with this wrist.”  But, like I said, this is one more thing in my career and I’m making a great effort to get over it; hopefully, the things to come will be great.

(…)

Q: Did you feel during this time that your career might be over—that maybe you wouldn’t be able to play anymore?

JMDP: I felt that way five years ago with the injury to my right wrist.  Now, I am not at that point.  Obviously, in this situation, you tend to think the worst things almost every day.  You feel bitter—the worst feelings you can have come to you when you have a serious injury.  But, somehow, I’ve always found a way to find inside myself the extra motivation that covered up all those bad thoughts and made me get out of bed and go to the gym, or go hit forehands, or go to rehab.  In Sydney, I felt in those two matches the same feeling that I might have playing a Grand Slam final, when in reality I was playing an ATP 250 tournament; so, you can imagine how important that was for me emotionally.  That was enough for me to realise that tennis is what I love the most, and that I want to recover so I can enjoy it again, and the people can enjoy it too.  The fans, they’ve let me know that, because they were getting up at 2 in the morning just to see me, even if they knew I wouldn’t win the tournament.  To me, that is priceless and I’m so proud and super grateful to all those people.  They’re another reason for me not to give up.

Q: What is your ambition now?  What is your goal on the tour in the short term?

JMDP: After everything that has happened to me, all I ask is to be healthy and to be able to play any tournament I want to play, injury-free and with no pain. Knowing me, I’m going to want to win a match, then a tournament, and then climb the rankings.  I have faith that with my hand in good condition, I can fight with the best in the world.  I don’t know if I will be in top-5 level, or in top-10 level, but beating a top-20 player in Sydney made me believe that I can do that again— and that’s great motivation.  That’s what is keeping me confident and with great desire to come back to the tour in the best way possible.

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