Tommy Haas ready to go to all lengths in Rafa clashWhat an article--Tommy
EVEN a no-nonsense tour regular such as Tommy Haas expects to be chatting to the chair umpire more than normal on Rod Laver Arena tonight.
Haas, respected for his fairness, is prepared to use his three Hawk-Eye challenges each set, if necessary, as he pushes the court boundaries to try to bring down Rafael Nadal in the third round.
"You're going to have to go out there and try to find the lines, go for a little more than usual, open up the court and be quite aggressive," Haas said.
"If you're going to stay on the baseline in long rallies with him, most people are going to come up short. So I'm going to have to have a good game plan and, as I said, go for my shots.
"He's going to run down balls that most others won't get to and he's going to pass you in a way other people won't do.
"If he can do that on the big points all the time, you've just got to tip your hat and say too good."
Haas, who turns 31 in April, won't be intimidated by Nadal or the big occasion.
Don't be fooled by his 79th ranking.
The German has been as high as No. 2 in the world and reached the Australian Open semi-finals three times - the last in 2007 before a shoulder operation prevented him from returning 12 months ago.
He's buoyed that Nadal has only five tournament matches behind him this year and the world No. 1 is yet to be tested at Melbourne Park.
"I'm looking forward to playing him right now. I wouldn't want to play him in the third round of the French Open, so this is better for me," Haas said.
"It's still pretty early in the tournament and I think sometimes it takes him time to find his range and to get confidence early in the year."
Haas said his shoulder problems were behind him after he conceded only four games in the second round to collide in the draw with Nadal, who has won their previous three meetings.
"A big match on Rod Laver (Arena), it always makes it worthwhile coming all the way down here and playing against the No. 1 player in the world is always something special," Haas said.
"I really have nothing to lose and just try to focus on my game and stay strong and win the big points.
"On paper, it doesn't look like that (chance to win), but I've been out there quite a few years and I've played him a couple of times and always felt like I had a few chances here and there.
"I came up short, but I like the way he plays. I'm happy to have two matches under my belt after not playing for a long time.
"I'm starting to find my range and I'll just go out there and give it my best."