SONY OPEN TENNISTommy Haas: My Dream Came True
It took 11 years, but 34-year-old Tommy Haas finds himself in the round of 16 at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami for the second time after posting an impressive 6-3, 6-2 victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov on Sunday in front of his strong support system.
Following his win, SonyOpenTennis.com sat down with the German to talk about being greeted by two-year-old daughter Valentina on court, the family-friendly activities he recommends tennis fans check out during their stay in Miami and his fourth-round showdown with top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
A number of family members were in attendance for your match. How nice is it to be able to put on a performance like you did today for your close supporters?
I'm happy [my dad is] still around. His motorcycle accident took a lot out of him, because he's in really good shape. Because of him, I have some of that in me, with all the injuries I've had. I have the strength and desire to still keep going. My dad still works out every day and tries to keep in shape. He's 65 and looks pretty good for his age. That's motivating to me. It was nice also having my daughter there too. It was a small dream come true for me. I've always said when I became a father, how special it would be to see my daughter in my box. I know it's a little cheesy sometimes, but to have those memories one day is going to be fantastic.Was today the first time Valentina rushed the court to greet you after a win? And how quickly do you forget about winning a match at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event?
I think that was the first time. She came out in San Jose to hit some balls, but it wasn't right after I won the match. So today was really the first time she came on the court to congratulate me. But you still think about the match being over and having a good win. Obviously it's very exciting to have my daughter there. It's very surreal.
There’s a lot to do in Miami and its surrounding areas. What sorts of family-friendly activities would you recommend to tennis fans who are visiting for the first time?
There are many things. Here in Key Biscayne, you have the Seaquarium. If you like the beaches, you go to South Beach. If you want to people watch, you go to Ocean Drive. There are also so many nice, little restaurants. I like Lincoln Road a lot, which is like an artsy area meets crazy, funny people. There's a lot to do. Taking a bike around town is usually the easiest way to see things.
You’ll play two-time reigning champion Novak Djokovic next. How meaningful is it to get a crack at the World No. 1 at a huge event at this stage of your career?
For me, this is something I look forward to the most. The reason I'm playing is to play those big guys, on big courts, in front of packed crowds. It's very exciting. I'm really looking forward to it. It's something special. You do the hard yards and work to get to those matches.