“I am very happy to come here, in Bulgaria, in Sofia”
“I am very happy to come here, in Bulgaria, in Sofia. Thank you very much for the invitation and the chance to play this week. I’ve been having 6-7 months difficulties, I played my first matches in Melbourne few weeks ago. I wasn’t really much ready. But now I am feeling much better and I am really happy to be here today.”
– How do you feel physically now?
– I feel much better since Australia. The first day home I started practicing really hard, especially fitness-wise trying to get my knee better. I know I am not yet at my top level because it takes more time. I need matches, I need tournaments. That is the reason I am here because right now I am at a place where I need to play matches. I need to start to try to win, to get used to play matches, to stress it on. So it is good to be here and to play tomorrow.
– Last time you played ATP 250 – in Geneva, you won. What are your expectation for this tournament?
– I am at a different place than I played last in Geneva. I was playing full then, a lot of tournaments, and a lot of matches. Now it is different. It is the beginning after my big surgery. So I am trying not to look too far. It is good for me to be back on the court, back in matches, to play. Most important is to play tomorrow, try to win and take it day by day. That is the only way I can start to win again. Always I want to win when I am on the court. It is day by day.
– What do you know about Bulgaria and especially – about this tournament?
– I talked with Grigor last year, when he played here. He told me that it was a great tournament, the atmosphere was amazing, the Center Court is really big, and there were a lot of people. So I am happy to see it with myself and to be here to play at the tournament.
– You first play with Martin Klizan. He already have some experience to play here in Sofia. What is your expectation for this match?
– He was struggling last year with injuries. But I played him at Australian Open last year, it was tough match, I won in five sets. He is a really dangerous player especially at this time of the year. It will be interesting to see how my knee will get that challenge.
– What is your comment about Grigor Dimitrov’s success last year?
– Grigor has always been fun layer to watch when he is on the court. I think he works really hard since he stared working with his coach Daniel Vallverdu and they did great job together. We used to practice together and played some doubles together. I was really happy for him when he won last year in Cincinnati and also – at the ATP World tours finals. He deserve because I know how hard he works to get on the top.
– What more do you dream to achieve? Wimbledon?
– I already achieved more than my dreams was – to win a Grand Slam. I’ve never dreamed, or expected it, and I won three of them. For me, most important is the way I am walking, the way I am practicing, the way I am getting ready for the tournaments. I just want to give my chance to be at my top level, to have a chance may be to win another big tournament.
– You’ve won big tournaments on clay and on hard. Right now – what is your favorite surface?
– For me, I don’t try to compare and I never try to choose. They are all different, there is difference regarding the moment of my career. They all mean defense, emotions. I appreciated all of them because it was different year, different opponent.
– What about now?
– I am born on clay, so many years clay was my favorite surface. I’ve learned to enjoy out court. I prefer now to play out court. I am always happy to change surfaces. I just try to follow the tour,
– We saw Roger Federer’s 20th Grand Slam title. Is there any special Swiss recipe for a champion’s longevity?
– No. But there is Roger. This is Roger. He is the best player to play in the Tour. And it is amazing to play at this level at this age, after so many years in the Tour. He is just amazing. We all enjoy and love to watch him play.
– You lost your last four matches to Grigor, is he your nightmare in the Tour?
– He is a tough to play with. But he is still a good friend to me. On the court we both try to fight best, but off court we are good friends and we enjoy to spend time.
– Is there any need for change in the ATP Calendar regarding the many top players’ injuries?
– We can all choose a little bit how much to play. Yeah, there are some mandatory tournaments, but the rest of the year we can adapt and to choose to play more or less. I think that most of the injuries last year were because we have been playing for twelve-fifteen years. This was a sort of normal. The most important is to look every case separate and to adapt, to choose not to overplay.
– Is the absence of Grigor Dimitrov is a good chance for winning the tournament here?
– I would love that for sure. But I still have to start to play the tournament. It doesn’t matter what is your ranking in tennis, or what you achieved in the past. I need to focus on the first match, and the next match. I just arrived and I will try to practice a while and to try to be ready and to play a good match tomorrow. I will see day by day what is going to happen.