Mannarino: Hope tennis will have greater promotion in Bulgaria

Adrian Mannarino is the new Sofia Open Champion. In all-lefty battle he used his greater experience and stopped 14 year younger Briton Jack Draper from winning his maiden ATP title. Mannarino won the final 7:6 (6), 2:6, 6:3 in 2 hours and 17 minutes on the court.


What moments in the firs and third sets were the deciding?

You know, it was really close. Jack has been serving really well today. He didn’t give me a lot of possibilities to break him. You know, I was just trying to hold my serve it the third set. I was thinking “May be I will have one occasion or two, and at this moment I have to be brave and try my best to seize it.” So, you know, it came up 2-3 in the third set I had one break point and I went all the way the return and it made a winner. It’s a sort a bit of luck. This kind of matches are really close. Sometimes just one or two points. I took my chance at least and it worked out.

Congratulations, for the very first time Sofia Open final is all-lefty. How did you feel playing another lefty?

I don’t think it is something special. I think, last year a lefty won the title here. Just the fact that Jack is a lefty don’t change anything in my game. In my first match here, I played another lefty. We used to switch all the time. When I am on court, I am not focused on my opponent. I am just trying my best. I have my game plan and I am not changing it anytime depending on my opponent. So, my goal was just to do my best, do what I have to do and not focusing what is happening on the other side of the net. So, you know, it is not changing anything for me.

Congratulations! This is your third title this season and probably this is your best year in the Tour. Why are so many 30+ players are winning? Are you now much stronger than you were when you were 30-years-old?

I definitely feel that I have more experience now. Physically it is not as easy now as it was easy in the past, because you know when you are 35 and you waking up after a tough match it is harder than before. For sure physically I am a little bit weaker than I was in the past. But I got the experience on my side now, so I think it is a good balance now. I think tennis is getting more and more professional as well now and everybody has a good team around now. It helps them to have a good work out, good treatment at the daily it helps players to last longer trough over the year.  Back in the past I don’t think the players were traveling with physiotherapists and all this stuff. So now players are taking more care of the team. This is the reason that they are able to play longer than before.

Congratulations! Novak Djokovic said that he is going to play as long as he is still winning. What do you think about you? How satisfying is for you to beat these young guys in such big occasions?

Well, if I have to be honest with you, I will keep on playing as long as my ranking is good. Tennis is a nice job. It is also job that is making me winning money. So, when I am going stop playing obviously I am going to have some difficulties to fin a job that is bringing me a lot of money. So why not continue till I hold on in the Top 100 or something like that. I enjoy my life on the tour, I like playing tennis. For me it is not a problem to go back on the court day after day, going back to the gym, I still enjoy it. So, I think that as long my motivation is still on, then I am going to try keep playing tennis.

Did you have any preferences who would be your opponent in the final?

I was not asking myself this question because I don’t have any powers on the future. So, you know, yesterday, during their match, I was trying to get ready for mine. So I was not even watching their match. For me they are really same type of players. They both have really strong serve and they are really powerful from the baseline. One is lefty, one is righty. But you know, at the end of the day that was not going to change anything that either Struff, or Draper are really good players. For me I was just hopeful to be at the final, I was not really care who is going to be against me today.

How do you feel in Sofia and would you consider coming back without tennis?

I am not suer yet. I still have a lot of destinations to visit before coming back here. I am lucky, tonight I don’t have a flight. So, I will enjoy my night here. Probably I am going to celebrate tonight with my friends and I will try to see a little bit more in Sofia.

Your last words to Bulgarians fans and organizers.

I think Bulgaria is a nice country for tennis. You had some nice players in the past, you still have good players like Grigor, who are doing well. I hope that this tournament will give some motivation to young kids to continue to play tennis. Whether they stood on the stands, or watched on the TV, I hope it is going to bring them to the tennis court. I remember myself as a kid I was really motivated when I was watching tennis on TV. So, this is one of the reasons that I have played tennis. I hope that tennis will be promoted well and kids after football they will go to the tennis court.

The tournament is held with the support of Inbet, Nova Broadcasting Group, А1, Diema Extra, Electrohold, Sofiamed, First Investment Bank, Europa Bullion, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Tourism.