- About the tournament
- Ecology Day
– Congratulations on your win! Your next opponent is Salvatore Caruso. What do you think of him? Do you have any plans for this match?
– Well, I played him once before. I think it was last year at the beginning of the season. I remember a little bit that last match. I’ve been seeing him around for a couple of years. So we played a lot together on the challenger tour. So I know him a bit. I think, tonight I will go to the hotel and plan a little bit what to do tomorrow. Of course, I will analyze his videos a bit more. It’s been a long time since I played against him last time. We both developed our game during those couple of years. So I think it will be a tough match. I am ready to give him a good fight and looking forward to another good match.
– You have just come back from a Davis Cup tie against Georgia on clay courts. How do you feel yourself here, on hard courts?
– Yeah, it’s a little bit different. It’s been tough the first days. I arrived on Monday. I got to practice one time on Monday, and I didn’t feel so good. But then I got an extra day to practice, what was nice for me to get used to hard court. I played on hard before Davis Cup’s tie, so it wasn’t completely new to me. But indoors it is a little bit different. It is my first time here in St. Petersburg, to play here is a little bit challenging. I feel like today I played better than I expected from myself.
– How popular is tennis in Norway – it’s question No.1, and the second one is about your father who was a professional tennis player. So, how often did you watch him playing on tour?
– Tennis is not really big in Norway, it’s still a small sport. I think it’s growing a little bit step by step, especially when I got to play February this year at the French Open. It was some sort of a turning point, and people started watching more. Now a lot of people are watching tennis at TV Open, I guess, following me when I play on the big court and tournaments. So, yeah, it’s growing a little bit, but still nothing spectacular or anything huge. You know, we have the winter sports we are very, very good at, cross-country skiing and alpine ski, and in all winter sports we are doing very well – of course, they still remain the most popular sports, but I hope with years tennis will be growing in Norway. You guys in Russia are also a country up in the North like Norway, but you still have many good players. I think that this should go for Norway too and someday we will have many players, maybe in the Top100 of the ATP and WTA. I think it’s a long way up there to make it possible. As to my father – I was too young to remember when he was playing on the circuit. He retired pretty early comparing to today’s players. So I think he was about 30 years old when he stopped and retired, I was only 2-3 years at that time. So I think I can’t remember anything. Of course, I look back at some biggest matches in his career and watched him play a little bit on the computer or wherever. It’s fun to see him play. I always looked up to him, because he was the only one from Norway in the Top100.
– Do you think you would play tennis if you father wasn’t a former professional tennis player?
I don’t know, it’s a tough question. I grew up playing tennis and soccer, ice hockey and golf, so I thought that everything that has something to do with a ball or something like this was fun – all this ball sports. When I was twelve years old I put away all the other three sports and focused only on tennis. I think it was natural for my father being involved and he was there for me, so I think it was natural choice for me. I also think that I enjoyed more being alone than playing team sports. Looking back either golf or tennis were the best options for me, but tennis was more natural. I’m not sure it would be the same without the father on my side and on my team. So I think it was natural choice for me to go for tennis.
– How good are the conditions for training in Norway, or do you have to leave for some southern countries to practice?
I think we are missing one really good site, where we would have fitness, physio, massage, courts – where you have the whole package in one place. It’s really tough to find something like this in Norway. I have to practice in one place, then I have to drive 20 minutes to go to massage, and to find a good fitness I need to go to another place, so it’s difficult to find the whole package in one place. You probably have something like that in Moscow or in many other big tennis countries. I’m talking about big places, where you have everything you need for professional sport and we don’t have anything like that. That’s why when I was 15 years old I went out and I started to train in Spain, in Alicante. I was there for about three years and really enjoyed it. Now I’m at Rafael Nadal’s academy in Majorca, which is really good. They have everything, they have really good players: I get to practice with Rafa sometimes, when he is there and learn from him. I think we are lacking tennis club or center or whatever you call it, where you have everything in one place and that’s something that will appear in Norway one day, I hope.
– To follow up on the topic of winter sports, we know Johannes Boe and Tarjei Boe support you a lot and post videos in social network cheering for you. Do you know each other well and are you supporting them as well?
– Yes. You know I played tennis with them a couple of times. They are not very good to be honest, they have to work on their game, especially Johannes, the younger one, though I don’t really remember who of them is a little bit worse than the other… When they started they were pretty bad but they are getting better, I have to say. They have some time in summer to practice their skills so whenever we have the chance we try to play together. They are very nice and humble guys. I also try to follow them as much as I can. I am maybe not the biggest winter sport guy myself, I think it is a little bit cold and I prefer to stay in warm places. You know my season is very odd; the tennis season is very long it is tough always to follow other sports except our sport, tennis. Of course, I follow when they win and try to congratulate them; it is easier because the media are writing about winter sports all the time. I have never been to one of their races but I’d love to go one time if I have a chance.
– Do you play football and do you support any football team? Or bandy?
– Oh, yeah. I was playing bandy, football and ice hockey when I was young. My favorite team in soccer is Liverpool. It is fun is to support Liverpool now because they are doing very well. When I was younger they were not doing as well as now so now I enjoy the support of Liverpool, they won the Champions League last year, now we are at the top of Premier League. It is a good time to be a Liverpool supporter. In general, I think it is nice to watch big Champions League matches, it is not like I follow every single match in soccer but if it is a big match I like to watch a little bit and of course Liverpool as I have already said Liverpool is my team. I also try to follow the National team of Norway, they are doing better now. We have a young team. So I hope they could start to do well in future.
– And the very last question – about St. Petersburg. Have you had a chance to look around?
– Not yet, unfortunately. You know we drove a couple of time through the city on our way to the arena. Well, the hotel is really, really nice. I think all the players who are staying there can say that. I know that we always cross the river on the way here. I have heard great things about the city; I hope I will get a chance to explore when I will have time. But these days have been about tennis and the matches. Maybe after the tournament I will get a day or so to explore a little bit. This would be nice.
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