Martin Klizan: «St. Petersburg Open is a really special tournament, one of the best in the ATP”
-Why do you think you won this match? Was it because you opponent helped you to win? Or you managed to break him mentally And how is your injury? You had a bad fall on the court, how do you feel now?
First of all, it’s my win. It was a very tough match. Of course, he was one set up and 5/3 in the second, and he did couple good points, but I found out the way to break his serve. After that I was pretty confident as you could see on the returns as well. So it was a great match. I think in the third set I was a little bit better on the court.
I don’t know yet. I think it’s gonna be good. But at that moment I felt a little pain in my heap and in my knee. It was a very scary moment, but I’m happy I could finish the match and win. It’s great.
You don’t get to play a left-handed players a lot on the circuit and you are a lefty yourself. Is there something special to play against lefties? And who do you beat more often – lefties or righties?
I don’t know. Check the statistics. I don’t really know the statistics. But, of course, lefty players are only, let’s say, 10 % of all players on the ATP tour. So obviously it’s really rare to play against lefties, but there is nothing special about it. It’s just a match like all others.
You said that confidence was a factor, but what did you do specifically in terms of tactics? Did you come up with some special tactical schemes to finally beat your opponent? Or was it just about confidence?
I absolutely started to read his serve. It was a key moment in the match. He was serving very-very well until that point when I found out where exactly he was serving. I must say that’s why I was pretty confident on returns as well and that’s why I didn’t miss many returns.
You won the title here five years ago. Now you are in the semifinals. Could you compare your feelings back then and now? What does it mean for you to be in the semifinals, because it’s already an achievement by itself?
I won the title in St. Petersburg 5 years ago, I will remember it all my life, because it was the first title in my career, so it’ll always be special. This year also, of course, it’s great to be in the semifinals at such a nice tournament. I think it’s one of the best or even the best tournament for me, because everything is just great. Us, players, we really appreciate the organization here, because they take care a lot about us, which we really like. It’s just great. It was a great fight today. I didn’t expect to win, but it happened and I’m in the semis, so it’s a great feeling.
When did you play better: five years ago or now?
Your next opponent isn’t determined yet. Will anyone from your team be watching this match Wawrinka vs. Dzumhur? And what can you say about either opponent?
I’m alone here at this tournament. I’m gonna watch it, of course, a little bit. About Wawrinka: he is a great player, everybody knows him. The last time we played together I lost to him in five sets at the Australian Open. It was a really close match back then. And Dzumhur is defending his title here. He is a great player. Obviously, he likes to play here on this surface. It’s gonna be an interesting match against them. We will see who is going to win and I hope it’s gonna be a good match for the crowd as well.
You already praised your opponent on the court saying that it was really good match. What do you think overall about new upcoming generation of young players? At some point you were also young player and you also belonged to the new generation, so what do you think of this present Next Gen of the ATP tour? What do they bring to tennis – Shapovalov and all these guys?
It’s good that the ATP is making progress on promoting those players. When I was 20 or 21 there wasn’t such a promotion like now. And it’s good there is such promotion now. It seems lke there are a lot of very young U23 players, which is great for tennis. It’s gonna be interesting to see the fight for the №1 sport or maybe for the places in Top 10, when Federer or Nadal or other really top guys retire. In a few years it’s gonna be interesting to see the generation change. That’s all I can say on this topic.
Did you get a feel that maybe the crowd was more behind Denis, because he has Russian roots or the crowd was fair to both of you? How important is for you to feel the support of the crowd?
No, I think the crowd was good. I think they were very fair to both of us. When I was losing they were cheering for me, when Denis was losing – they were cheering for him. I think, it was a fair match. We will see. When the stadium is gonna be filled better, for sure, it’s gonna be great to play in front of those people. I’m just looking forward to playing the semifinals and I think here the crowd is very fair, so I like it.
Denis was serving for the match 5/3 in the second. What was missing in his game, in your opinion? What did prevent him from winning the match?
Ask his coach (smiles).