- About the tournament
We don’t know about Croatia but in Russia we do love anniversaries and round numbers. It has been 10 years since you hoisted a trophy here and now you are in the finals again, so do you see any symbols in that?
Round numbers are always great. I won’t say we love them in Croatia as much as in Russia, but when there is a significance like this it is, of course. very special. And for me to be here after I won the title in 2011 is a dream come true. In the week before I was not expecting anything, I did not think how the tournament is going to be, I was just focused on playing great tennis and as the week unfolded I was playing amazing and I am so happy to be in the second final here in St. Petersburg.
How would you rate the level of your game today? We saw you before and we saw you today and this match definitely should be somewhere in the Top5.
One scale of one to ten I would say it is definitely 8,5. Obviously you can always pick something in the match that you did wrong, but today the match as a whole was great. Especially getting the first break in the first set, carrying that momentum in the second set 2|1 and keeping the pressure. And even though in one game I was 0:30 down. I can’t remember any more moments like that through the whole match. Again fantastic serving, giving myself breathing space. The only thing that I could have done better today is better returning on some occasions. so that is why it is a 8,5 and not a 10.
We remember that you said you are feeling like it’s your second home here in Russia. Maybe it is time to learn Russian?
Can you believe it?! I was just thinking that for the next year I should learn more Russian to give answers in Russian as well! And I am being really sincere. I think, as I said on the court. this is a perfect invitation for me to come back here more often.
You said that you are quite a religious man and you mentioned that you were amazed by the interior and the icons of the St. Basil Cathedral in Moscow. Can you share with us what are your beliefs? And you are 33 now – we call it the age of Jesus Christ, do you have any philosophical thoughts about it?
No, just that my number says I am old though I don’t feel that way. I am a catholic, I am coming from a very religious town – Medjugorje. It is very popular in the catholic world for St. Mary’s appearances since 1991. The town’s population is only 5000 people. Me and Ivan Dodig are even from the same town and we have more than one million tourists every year that do come. It is very spiritual to come home and fill myself with good energy. I hope that next time when I am in St. Petersburg I will be able to visit St. Isaac’s cathedral.
We had the impression that you have been not only technically perfect today, but you were also mentally stronger. And you won the match because you showed that you have that mental strength. At what juncture in your career you have realized that you are playing very good tennis, that you have mastered tennis skills and this gave you the confidence that we saw today in the match and the mental strength?
Great question. It happened 5-6 years ago when I played in Davis Cup and these kind of matches, where it helped me to understand that I can also improve my mental state and use that on the court. Yesterday I had a difficult match, I was tired from playing Karen and didn’t have great rhythm, so my mentality helped me. And today a big focus for me was having this positivity and good energy that can help me to play good tennis. This is obviously a big part of the game.
We know that Croatian footballers play here in St. Petersburg, do you stay in touch with them? Are they coming to support you?
I actually spoke to Dejan Lovren (playing for St. Petersburg’s “Zenit” football club) yesterday after their amazing win over Dinamo. He said he is going to meet me later for drinks in the hotel. Obviously I am in touch with him, we met each other a few years back and I am always following and supporting him.
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