MARIE KELLEY: Tommy, welcome back to Kooyong.
A. Thank you.
Q. Novak was fairly sharp today?
A. Yes. He's always - he's sharp. He had a great year last
year. He's one of the best players out there obviously.
You know, conditions a little bit tough, trying to get used
to it out there. I think the second serve was very
competitive. He came out with some great shots, 4-3 to
break me and serve it out. Overall, I'm pretty pleased
with how the second serve went and, you know, obviously
sometimes some things don't work out and I have to prepare
myself for next week. But that's the beauty of playing
here where you have a chance to do that, so it's great.
Q. Novak has been No. 3 in the world for two or three years
now. What do you think his new coach is talking about,
trying to make him more aggressive? Do you feel he was
more aggressive today, the way he played against?
A. Yeah. I mean, in a match like today where it's blowing
really hard, really there are things that you would like to
improve on. So you know I think, I'm sure - when the
opportunity presented itself to be aggressive, I'm sure he
will be in the future. We are going to see that maybe mix
in a few serve and volley, this type of stuff. But you
know, every player is trying to do that more and more
because, you know, if you can finish a point like that in
the end, that's the way to do it, especially if you go five
sets. But he's a great player. He's got pretty much all
the shots you need in a game and I'm sure we will see even
Q. Tommy, there's a great number of good players now at the
very top of their games. Who do you think will win the
A. I haven't really given that too much thought, to be honest.
You know, at the end of the day I'm always trying to focus on
myself, number one, and wait till the draw comes out and see
what it looks like. I think once you have the draw in front
of you and you see the match-ups - you know, I know quite a
bit about every player and their records and, you know, I
think once you have that in front you you can kind of make a
better assessment about who has a chance to obviously maybe
win the tournament. You know, there's the top three, four
guys, five guys that are obviously going to be some of the
favourites going in and, you know, it will be very
interesting, I think, to see what the match-ups will look
like once the draw is out.
Q. Can you recall the time when you had five, six guys who
could win it all in the same draw?
A. It's been a while, I mean with the exception of last year or
the year before. I mean, before that, Roger was pretty much
always the favourite going into them. But since last year
no, maybe year and a half, I think a lot of the players
waiting for Andy Murray to maybe have a break through, or
Andy Roddick having a good Wimbledon. But we have Murray who
is going to be a force to reckon with and, you know, even
Davydenko has been playing unbelievable tennis. Who knows?
Maybe he can have a breakthrough in a Slam. There's a lot of
great players out there. Some players are not going to be
seeded that are dangerous and maybe have a great tournament.
Obviously, there are the best players in the world, so it
should be a very exciting Australian Open this year, that's
for sure; maybe the most exciting one in a while.
Q. You talked about a lot of players trying to add variety to
their game playing, why do you think that's happening?
A. Well, I think it depends on the game how you play. But you
know, like I said, if you go best of five I think you want to
try to be aggressive and change up the pace and change up the
game. I mean, you don't want to always be on the baseline
and wait for your opponent's mistake. You want to try to
finish it off or just bring variation to the game, and most
of the players lately have been playing a baseline game.
It's very tough to serve and volley these days, with the
racquets and the strings these days that you can play with,
and the movement and how good everything is. So it's a
really tough time for serve and volleyers, people that are
aggressive, except maybe on a grass court where it's
extremely quicker, you know. But still, if you have a chance
to have an all-round game and improve that then everything is
going to look forward doing that.
Q. Tommy, have you heard anything about a proposal for a World
Cup that has been presented to Wimbledon, to Tennis
Australia, to the US Federation? Is that anything that has
come across your - - -
A. No. First time I hear it.
Q. I suppose, with the difficulties of Davis Cup and the
schedule, a ten-day event every two years with 32 nations,
ought to be - I mean, is that something you think might
work, or do you thing Davis Cup, for example, needs
A. You know, I've been on the tour now for a long time, but I
think after three or four years being on tour, maybe
beginning of 2000, 2001, there was already talk about maybe
doing something like that. You know, anything you can do to
maybe shorten the schedule a little bit would be great.
By the time this happens probably my career is going to be
pretty much sort of over, so if they could make it happen
quicker I think it would be a great idea. You know, I
haven't played Davis Cup the last year or two because of the
long season, because of my injuries in the past, and I had to
really pick my battles well. It worked out for me well last
year, so it's a tough thing. I'm more than for what you were
just recommending, doing something like that. I think it
would be very good, and the commitment to doing something, I
guess, every two years. I mean, World Cup, it's such a
fascinating event to follow, and you follow your country. So
I think some players who are playing Davis Cup in the second
week of December, and even the World Cup, the Masters Cup is,
you know, middle end of November so it's tough because, it's
really tough to pick your two to four weeks throughout the
year where you can maybe do some training again to rebuild
your body and get it strong for the end of the season. So
it's definitely something to look into, and maybe do
something about it and not always talk about it.
Q. How much shorter would it have to be, Tommy?
A. I think, if you can do it, maybe it should be maybe done, you
know, by the middle of October, latest. I think that's my
opinion, because if you have a full year and you have a
successful year, or if you didn't have a successful year, you
are still playing pretty much every other week. So if
have, say, middle of October your last tournament and you
want to just take two, three four weeks where you do
absolutely nothing and maybe spend some time with your
family, friends, and then you have middle of November, that
will give you a good four to five, six weeks to prepare for
the Australian because you need maybe a tournament or a
couple of matches before. Everybody is coming down here
really early. Some people leave right away after Christmas.
So you need some time also to do some changes. I mean, how
much is that really going to do you any good? That's when
your body is trying to rebuild, and then you stop again, so
it's tough. You know, it's not such a sport, like American
football or AFL, rugby, where you get beat up like every game
you play and you need five days, six days to recover from
that. But at the same time when you are out there playing
two or three hours, moving left, right ... (reads) ... doing
that week after week, it would be nice.
Q. Do you think there is a realistic chance of getting that
A. There's so many politics in the way, the ... (reads)...
people that run the tournament, Paris indoors, they have
sponsors. It's a big tournament and it's a great tournament,
and people want to play this and it happened to be the
beginning of November, so it's tough, you know. If you move
that one to the middle of October what about the ones that
are currently booked in those time slots. So it's not as
easy as it sounds. So I mean we've been talking about it
also for quite some time now and nothing has been really done
yet and, you know, I don't know what it takes to make
something happen. I'm not one of the guys in the Player
Council. I don't, really haven't been asked to maybe do
something there, as well, with the other players. I mean, I
don't know what good it will do to make a change. What do
you have to do? That's really the question.
Q. Tommy, is that your emphasis? Do you think that the end of
the season should be where it's changed, or should it be at
the start, or elsewhere?
A. I think if the top one hundred players would come together
and show you a schedule we could come up with that pretty
quickly and tell exactly how we would like it. We would
still have the biggest tournaments there, and the ones we
like and the ones that are being watched all around the
world. I think we can make it really nice. The question
is whether it should be a little bit later. Somewhere like
the middle or end of February would be a nice start. Then
you could still have the season finish beginning of
November, and you wouldn't have to come down here till
maybe end of January beginning of February. So either way,
like I said, it's a long look at it and maybe the guys that
are working on it, especially in the Player Council - I
know that Federer and Nadal and Djokovic are looking into
it now also because they are the current players and they
are still young and maybe they want to have a change while
they are still playing. So maybe something will happen in
MARIE KELLEY: Okay. Thanks Tommy.
A. All right.