- About the tournament
- Ecology Day
– How do you explain that in the second set in the last games, the opponent simply didn’t know how to deal with you? Was it because of your victory in the first set? Did you manage to put pressure on him psychologically, technically? What happened?
– It’s difficult to find a reason every time. I have such matches every time, so I think it is due to the style of my game. I heard that Egor Gerasimov said about me that I am like an octopus – I cling and do not let go. This is true, I try to create as many problems as possible for the opponent, and very often in the second set they just crack because of this. My opponents didn’t crack break in the first three rounds, all matches were very difficult, but today I did what I do most of the times. I managed to break Coric’s game with my tactics and my game. Then we saw errors that he shouldn’t have made, that’s why we have such score.
– What great players have influenced you at different times in your tennis career?
– First of all, it is Marat Safin. When it Evgeny Kafelnikov played on the circuit I was too young and didn’t witness all his victories and matches. When I was 8-10 years old, when I began to understand tennis at some level, Marat Safin enjoyed the best years of his career. I remember very well how he beat Roger [Federer] in the semifinals in Australia, and the Hewitt in finals (in 2005), when the whole stadium was against him, and me and the guys I trained with tried to support him as much as possible in order to outshout the Australians. Now I understand that this was kind of stupid (laughter). So my tennis idols were Marat Safin, Nikolay Davydenko and Mikhail Youzhny. You try to look up to your compatriots the most, and they really were great tennis players, maybe not legendary, but really very good ones. I also look up to Roger, Novak, Murray and Nadal. I could not even dream about at least be with them at the same locker room or at least take a photo with them, let alone play against them on a court. And now I can say that I’m one of them in some way, at least because I am a professional tennis player like them.
– It seems that the more difficult the opponent is against you, the more interesting your game turns out, as if you are more interested in such a complex game. Is this really so?
– No. I always say that every match, no matter who I play with, I try to play from the first ball to the last. Another thing happens, as yesterday with Egor Gerasimov, I do not cease to repeat that for me he is a Top 50 player in terms of his game, but still you go out, you seem to know that he is ranked like 120th, and suddenly he starts to fire aces to your baseline and you can’t handle it, even if you usually return well. You say to yourself: “Well, how is it, why precisely today he plays so great again?”. Only if something subconscious works in this regard, and so, speaking about the way I prepare for the match, I prepare for each opponent equally, be it Rafa Nadal, be it Egor Gerasimov.
– Last year you said that it is important to catch a wave in tennis. You definitely have caught the highest wave of success. How do you plan to handle all of those newly appeared media duties, contractual onesetc.? How do you think you need to coordinate it, to make sure you keep winning and won’t lose the wave?
– First of all, for sure, I, probably, have just ridden the highest wave in my entire career. Nothing compares to it. To be honest, it is true they say – “The higher the wave is, the harder it is to hold onto it”. I do understand how important it is to keep going all the hard work and practicing. In my opinion, it is impossible to stay at one place in tennis. You either grow, go further with each day, or you just fail. Even if you are still at the same ranking position, it still means that you keep pushing yourself forward. You just don’t stop becoming the better athlete. I can tell, that before St. Petersburg Open 2019 I had questions to ask myself – “Will I repeat the success I had in USA? Will I be able to keep demonstrating the same level of tennis? Will I handle all media activities?”. I think, I proved to everybody that I can handle it and I will keep going at the same pace and in the same way.
– Daniil, you are the leader in terms of number of matches you played and won this year. You’ve already played 25 tournaments in this season. Are you planning on reducing the pressure?
– To be honest, I don’t know how many tournaments I played this year. Anyway, I take good of my body. For example, the decision to come to St. Petersburg and play wouldn’t have been made if I were not physically fit. But my team and I decided that I am ready. But, to be honest, the hip I hurt during the match against Wawrinka, hurt a bit during the tournament. The day after tomorrow I will come back to France, talk to doctors and we will decide how to organize the rest of the calendar for this season.
– Has your main coach sent you a message?
I didn’t have time to look. I’ve seen 55 messages on my phone and didn’t even bother looking to find out who wrote me and what (laughter).
– The TV commentary of your finals at US Open 2019 from Marat Safin is still a hot topic on the Internet. Tell us, can you imagine yourself in 10-15 years as a commentator at St. Petersburg, commenting on the game of a guy who was a ball boy at your today’s match?
– I’d rather read more books. Because, unfortunately, I live in Monaco, I must be honest. So, my wife is usually the only person I get a chance to speak Russian with. Sometimes I speak grammatically incorrect during interviews, what I am a bit ashamed of sometimes. I hope I will be able in 10-15 years to comment. I think I understand a lot in tennis. To be honest, 3 or 4 days ago my main coach recorded me an audio-message. We always talk about upcoming matches and past matches. So, he tells me that he is insanely laughing at my audio-messages, because he clearly sees me in 10 years as a commentator due to how I speak. He sees me describing and explaining everything what is happening on the court.
– The season is close to its end. You are at the unbelievable top. Could you shortly explain what the reason for this quality career growth is?
– There are lots of reasons but will try to single out just two main one, if I am not mistaken, the first one is I was working hard especially during the last 2,5 years I’d like to say since I was 6 but the truth is the last 2 years and the second one is experience. It is also very important. In my first ATP season I haven’t won a match in Masters and had only one Grand Slam victory v. Stan Wawrinka. That match was a bit unusual. Every tournament I play, every victory and every finals I reach I gain experience that is priceless. That is what helped me to reach these heights.
– Daniil, once you will become a father, will tennis be among the sports you’d like your child to play?
– It is a tough question and I have no answer to be honest.
– We know you are following the regimen and keep on a diet as well. But today you could relax a little bit. Which restaurant will you go to celebrate your victory and will you let yourself to eat panna cotta?
– Yeah, after the tournament I allow myself everything even if I lose in R1, no matter how odd it sounds. Naturally today I will celebrate, now there are only my wife and Igor Andreev (coach) here so we will celebrate together. To be honest we will celebrate in the hotel I think and I can explain why: after the US Open the Pastry Chief of Four Seasons hotel in St. Petersburg Nicolas Lambert and during the tournament he was celebrating my victories sending some pastries to my room but I wrote him that I am not eating pastries during the tournament but after it is over I will sample everything with great pleasure. And he answered: “OK, then we will celebrate on Sunday your victory. I will bake you lots of desserts”. That is why I think I will try lots of those desserts baked by a super chef”.
– Novak Djokovic is famous for his strict diet as well as lots of pro tennis players. What can you tell us about your diet, how important it is and what type of diet you have?
– My diet is not the most strict. Novak is unique in that. He said it had helped him a lot. I am working with my team if they tell me keep the same diet Djokovic does I will. Well, in a nutshell, what does a sportsman need? Carbohydrates and proteins and not to eat sweets. This is my diet, it is clear it is a little bit complicated as we count what time before the match should I eat and what to eat to let everything digested.
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