Thursday, September 3, 2009
T. HAAS/R. Kendrick
6 4, 6 4, 7 6
An interview with: Tommy Haas
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. The other day after your first round match, you were saying there were some things in your game good things in your game and bad things in your game that you needed to address. Do you feel today you've sort of addressed those things that were troubling you the other day?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, I think it was better. I think the statistics show it, as well. I think my serve today was extremely better than it was my first round match. And, you know, it has to be. Every match you play, everybody can play these days, so you have to try and improve.
You know, when you serve well and you play the big points well, sometimes it can make life easier. You just never know until you go out there and battle, so..
Q. I know it's difficult to look ahead. Do you see yourself right now in a position where you can go deep into the second week of this tournament?
TOMMY HAAS: I mean, you never know. That's the beauty of the game. Anything is possible if you're feeling good and you're competing hard and things fall into place.
But, you know, next match most likely will be Fernando Verdasco. That's as far as I'm going to look. He's obviously a very tough competitor and he's been playing extremely well. You know, it's going to be a tough one. I look forward to that. I will try and play my best and play smart that day.
Q. You said in Toronto last year that you continue to play despite the shoulder injuries because you love being on big courts entertaining the fans. This year, how do you sum up big courts in all the tournaments, playing Roger and Rafa?
TOMMY HAAS: It's been great. If you look at the Grand Slams so far, playing Rafa in Australia in the third round on Stadium, he was just too good. I actually played very good myself. He was just too good that day and ended up winning the tournament.
And at the French Open, being back on Philippe Chatrier was a nice feeling, and back on Wimbledon centre court. It's great. You know, there is no guarantee for any of those things to happen.
You know, you do have to play well, unless your draw is not so good and you play one of the big guys right away so you can get on the big courts.
But that's where you want to be, you know. If you can get far into these tournaments, which sometimes even third and fourth round can be far for some people which, you know, definitely I include myself in that if you get in those positions, you know, you've won some matches and you're feeling pretty good. Anything is possible when you compete hard and play well.
Q. Compared to when you were No. 2 in the world years ago, how happy are you on court now this year?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, deep down I'm extremely happy and thankful for the chances I've gotten, you know. Overall having three shoulder surgeries, it's a lot. The other shoulder is pretty much beat up, but, you know, I've done good work with rehab and had a good doctor doing my shoulder surgery, so it's good.
Other aches and pains come along as you get older. Anybody will tell you that. But it's still good enough for me to go out there and compete. Deep down I'm really happy. On the other hand, I like winning and I hate losing just like many others out here. Doesn't maybe always look that way on the court. I can definitely show some emotions more to the negative side sometimes.
But deep down I'm pretty happy for what's been happening and having such a great turnaround this year so far. It's phenomenal, so I'm happy.
Q. At Wimbledon, the match against Llodra, after it ended you hung around the court and you played with ball kids for around ten minutes and had a good time on the court. Would you have done something like that four or five years ago?
TOMMY HAAS: Four or five years ago maybe. Ten years ago for sure probably not. When you're young, you don't really know much. You think about doing a lot of things, but sometimes you might just feel a little bit silly doing certain things.
You're just coming up. Sometimes you just say the wrong things, or, I don't know, you behave maybe not as you should. You try to be yourself. But there is a lot of things going on outside the tennis world sometimes that many people don't know. So that was just something I felt like doing.
And, you know, the last couple years I think more and more things you do what you think is right. And when you have a lot of experience and been around a long time, you don't question yourself anymore.
Q. Can you give some thoughts about this match against Kendrick in particular? What was ultimately the key for to you win in straight sets?
TOMMY HAAS: He's been playing good tennis. His ranking speaks for itself. I think it's been as high as it's ever been for him. He is a tough competitor. He serves big and goes for his shots. You can never can underestimate somebody like him, so I certainly I didn't do so today.
I knew I had to serve well and move well and compete hard, and that's what I did. Even in the third set I had a lot of break point opportunities. He fought them off pretty well, and came down to a tiebreak which I'm happy to have played quite well.
Q. He seemed a little annoyed, I don't know, with the time that it took for you to challenge or not. Do you think that that was an issue at all? Do you think he had a right to be a little annoyed?
TOMMY HAAS: Yeah, in some ways you can. Sometimes when you watch matches, you wonder, like I took a little bit too long. Maybe they need to make a rule that within three or four seconds you should be making a call on that.
Sometimes it's very hard. You know, when you're trying to reflex or return a serve that comes at you at 125 miles per hour, the first thing you think about is to challenge it maybe.
So you kind of just look around. Sometimes when the balls are new you can see the mark. I saw the mark clearly out when I walked up to it. So either you you can't challenge it or you can. There needs to be maybe a rule for that.
I think sometimes some people wait too long. I agree it's annoying, but at the end of the day, it's good for everyone to at least see in the end how it was.
Q. What's the reason for your resurgence this summer? Is it just health?
TOMMY HAAS: It's a lot of things. Just being happy with yourself, No. 1. Having a good team around you and just, you know, competing hard, training hard, and, you know, still believing in yourself and thinking that you can still win some big matches, which I certainly have in the summer.
These things give you confidence and belief, and, you know, sometimes when you're not winning a lot of matches or you're losing a lot of close matches and you're battling another injury and you don't know what's going on, it's tough.
It's tough out there, because you feel like you're always one step slower or one step behind. That can cost you the matches every single time.
Q. What's your goal? Another major? Is it certain rounds? Certain ranking?
TOMMY HAAS: My goal is to just, No. 1, is to keep staying healthy and keep improving. I still feel like I can improve my game, get better. Each tournament, you know, I think when you are, you know, lucky enough to play a couple matches, I think you get better each round.
That's a big thing. Obviously the matches get tougher and tougher. But, you know, that's it. Just looking forward to this tournament, playing hard, and then couple more indoor tournaments and then see what happens.
Q. Boris Becker obviously cast a long shadow on tennis. How would you describe the state of tennis in your country?
TOMMY HAAS: We can sit here a long time talking about this, but, I mean, I don't see any problems with it, to be honest. I mean, if we would go by this year with some of the success other German players had, including me.
Or last year when I wasn't successful, many other Germans had a very successful year. Recently we've gotten into the semifinals of Davis Cup two years ago, so you can look at it many ways. But overall we have a lot of Germans that are in the main draw here, I think as many as ever, and a lot of guys in the second round, as well.
You know, we're just a country that was very spoiled, you know, many years ago with Becker, Stich, and Graf. You know, even I think, besides the U.S., there was no other country like that in tennis.
You can say whatever you want, but I think we're in good spirits. I don't know what the juniors are doing much, but I think even juniors we have a few guys that are ranked pretty high.
For them to get to the next level it's always a bit tricky, but I don't see a problem with the German tennis. I see a problem sometimes maybe with the tournaments that we have. Other German players like indoor or faster surfaces, and the majority are on clay, heavy clay, as slow as it gets.
That doesn't make any sense to me, but that's just my opinion.