Great interview with huge motivation from Tommy ! Richie,watch out,Tommy is 100% fit for the USO ĄPartly I play complete nonsenseď
24. August 2008. This Monday kick off the US Open. Shortly before that the German tennis professional Tommy Haas, who lives in Florida, returned to his former coach Thomas Hogstedt. In the first round Haas faces the French Richard Gasquet. In the interview with ĄFrankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitungď he talks about killerinstinct in tennis, his Ąhome tournamentď and his image as playboy.At the US Open you work again with Thomas Hogstedt. How did you get around to do that?
We were in dialogue already for a longer time. I had for some months a closer look on Dean Goldfine, but I wasnít satisfied with several things concerning my game and my future. Dean is a nice guy, but I missed the practice with Thomas and his mentality. We had two bloody good years and this is simply connecting. We were always in contact and now he had time again.What does he as coach represent for you?
For me itís important that someone stands behind me who believes in me. And Iím simply much happier with the way we approach the things and work. I feel very comfortable with him, and he understands me. He simply knows how to train me. And that he has to take many things with humor. Because in many things Iím off my rocker. You were always percepted a bit differently of the public. Many connect with your name fast cars and good-looking women. Do you like the playboy image?
Actually I could never understand how I got this image. Every man who can afford a nice car would buy it. Maybe it appeared more often in the papers because I drove a Ferrari or had a new girlfriend. I always was the Sunnyboy, live above all in Florida. For many people that is certainly fitting. But I am simply the guy I always was. Someone who concentrates on tennis and pursues his goals there.Are there headlines to be expected like of Boris Becker?
No, not that. And even if, I would keep that more private. I have my opinion on that, but I donít want to comment more on that. At the age of eleven you practiced for the first time in Florida at the Academy of Nick Bolletieri. How did you feel this step back then?
That time was very hard, and at the beginning I was very homesick. But that went away. Many of them who practiced there, flew back home after a few weeks, because they couldnít bear it. For me it was immediately like a second home. Maybe I was already then a bit different. I always had only this one goal: to become a tennis professional. I never doubted to reach it. Not even when I was 17 years old. For me it was only about when I would reach it. And when would I reach the Top 10.You went early the hard way. The German players are often accused to not excruciate themselves enough. What do you think of that?
Itís all a pure matter of attitude. Iíve always been practicing very hard and disciplined. This is a must. Nowadays many are content with having a job they can earn money with. They donít have the very grit you need, arenít hard enough. They all have talent, but maybe itís a matter of mentality, because everything goes well in Germany. Those who are always ahead in the tournaments, are more ambitious and want it more. You have to have the killerinstinct.Sounds as if many losers fall by the wayside.
Itís a brutal sport actually. Everybody will lose at this tournament except of one. But the question is how to define losing. When you gave everything and lose in the first round, you can be satisfied though. Also when you fight yourself through the quali to fulfill a dream, or is, like me, participating for the 13. time, you can feel yourself as winner. On the other hand, when you donít give everything and donít prepare properly, you should ask yourself if it is worth it.To prepare for the US Open you didnít play the Davis Cup. Was it the right decision?
Yes, I was focused very early on the US Open. It was my goal to be as fit as possible, and that is now the case. The shoulder is doing ok, and I played better in the last five weeks. Iím in good shape, but unfortunately not seeded. There are immediately waiting the tough nuts.Just as your first opponent, the French Richard Gasquet. But the toughest nut in the draw is Rafael Nadal. Is he a worthy new Number 1?
In every case he deserved it. He won the French Open, Wimbledon and the gold medal at the Olympic Games. In case he now also wins the US Open he will maybe have a better year than Roger Federer had it ever. But itís nonsense to pretend Roger wouldnít know to play tennis anymore. In the last years he was the king and set the bar incredibly high. And even in this year he still achieved what for every player between the number 4 and number 100 an absolute dream year. You must not forget that.What do you expect of yourself in New York?
I would like to defend my quarterfinal of last year, and it would be nice if it went still a step further. If there should wait again Nikolai Davydenko, I would be ok with that. I want to have revenge, and the fire is still burning in me. When I am fit, itís hard for anybody to beat me. For you as American by choice the US Open are your Ąhome eventď. Three quarterfinals in the last four years show how much you feel comfortable there. Why is that?
Itís hardcourt, and itís simply the US Open. I try here to get the 5% extra out of me. I like the whole athmosphere and the frills here. And I like the american way of life, I like to be here. Life is relaxed, the weather is most of the time good. And the american fans adopted me a little bit, I sense that also at other tournaments like just in Washington. I always play there on the Center Court and I am happy about that. I feel like a half American. Six years ago your parents had a severe motorbike crash. Do you know to appreciate more the daily things since then?
Absolutely, even if you donít perceive it every time on the court. There I am a very ambitious guy and also a perfectionist. I always have to play the ball 100% exactly in the corner, what is partly complete nonsense. But it is the way I was raised. And when I lose there is a day when itís impossible to speak to me. Earlier that took much longer. But I percieve the most off-court that I calmed down very much. Iím fine, I earned enough money, have a great girlfriend, my family and Iím simply thankful for that. Are there things in sports terms you regret though?
A tournament victory in Hamburg would have been nice, but I let go this dream for long now. I havenít played there in the last two years, and now, when it will be played in midst of the hard court season, I most likely wonít be able to do it anymore. The slow court is simply difficult for my shoulder. Thatís a pity, but the saddest thing is actually that there is no big indoor tournament in Germany. We all like that the most. The women have Stuttgart, I donít know, why we donít wangle it in fall. That ticks me off.