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January 2, 2018

Borna Coric

Doha, Qatar

B. CORIC/P. Busta

5-7, 6-2, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That must be a quite satisfying way to start the year. Just talk a little bit about the match. And also there seems to be a controversy, do you know if you saved three match points or four?
BORNA CORIC: To be honest, I have no idea. But I think I played very good. I didn't know what to expect. It's the first match of the year. It's always maybe a little bit tricky, you know, but I can say from the beginning that I was playing very good.

The first set, I lost it, but also I can say that I was playing good. You know, it was two or three points. We decided the set. I just knew that I need to remain playing very good. And I need to make even more pressure. That's what I was doing.

Then in the third set, obviously it was luck as well. But I was always brave. I was running for the shots. That was feeling, I was going for the win. I was going on the net. And, yeah, I mean, that's it.

Q. Could you tell us what happened in your mind when you saved these three point matches? And when your chance came, how did you feel at that time?
BORNA CORIC: I was just saying don't miss, you know. Don't miss this point because we played actually very long tiebreak. I was a little bit tired and I also knew he was tired. I know how I feel when I'm match point down. I don't want to have very long rally. So I was just trying to make him play as much as I can. And that's what I did.

Then he gave me a little bit shorter ball and I just took advantage of it. It's very easy. You just come there and you just think what is the best thing to do at the moment and that's it.

Q. Pablo actually served for the match twice, and you were able to break him both times. What do you think was the contributing factor behind that? There was no pressure on you?
BORNA CORIC: Yeah, I think towards the end I actually -- the balls got much bigger, so we couldn't serve that well anymore. And it was a little bit darker and the ball wasn't coming through so fast. So he also broke me twice as well. So that's how I felt. I felt like we cannot do much with the serves, you know.

He didn't play great on 6-5, I think. But on 5-4, I played a very good name. On 6-5, I thought he played a not-so-good game. And that's it.

For sure, you don't have so much pressure, you can relax. Because basically you are losing anyway, so you can just relax.

Q. Since your knee surgery, you have made a super comeback. Like last April, you won in Marrakech. Now this year you have a great start. The bottom half looks very good for you in this tournament. How do you look ahead?
BORNA CORIC: I didn't look at the whole bottom half to be honest because I'm playing against a guy who beat me twice in last year. He's a tricky opponent to play. And I've also played very long match today, and it's also late now. So it's not going to be easy, for sure. So that's my main focus; that's my only focus, to be honest.

I don't know who I'm going to play in the quarters. To be honest, I really haven't looked at it. I'm not very interested in it, to be honest. Because I have played very good today but it doesn't mean anything. Tomorrow is a new day. It's a new match. So I just need to focus on that.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about playing the net? I think you won 27 of 33 points up there, which is pretty impressive?
BORNA CORIC: That was my feeling as well. I was playing very good, to be honest. I was feeling it very good. Luckily I had played doubles yesterday as well. That might made some -- how do you say it -- like it made it a little bit better because I have played many volleys yesterday.

Also in the offseason, I was working a lot on the net. I was playing very good on the net, that's for sure. I'm very happy with that stat, yeah.

Q. You beat Andy Murray last year. How would tonight's victory compare to that, would you say? And your expectations for this season, many expect you to raise in the rankings and be one of the stars. What are your expectations?
BORNA CORIC: Well, you know, this is huge win, for sure, especially because it's the first match of the season. I normally don't start the season very well, so I'm very happy with that. But you cannot compare it over the win with Andy. He was World No. 1 and stuff like that. So you cannot compare that.

But obviously I'm also very happy with this win. You know, I'm going to take it.

And what was the next question? About the season. You know, I'm going to try to focus on my tennis a little bit more this season. I'm going to maybe play -- I'm not going to play so much tournaments this year, maybe. Just try to improve my game. I see, and my team, we can see there is big gaps where I can improve. Also physically. So that's my main goal, to improve.

But in the ranking-wise, I think I can do it. But I need to play very good for the whole season, which last season I haven't done at all. I had many ups and downs. I lost many first rounds. So I'm going to try to do that now this season.

Q. You were at the ETB Finals in last year in Milan where they tried out all sorts of new rules, with the short sets and no-let. Do you think it will be a good idea to maybe implement some of those rules on the regular tour or even Grand Slams in the future?
BORNA CORIC: I think now on Australia, there is going to be a rule with the 25 seconds, right? If I'm correct. Yeah, so I think they are already pulling it now a little bit step by step, obviously, which is good in my opinion.

I mean, I quite liked everything there. You know, it was very good to try. I didn't like only that we were playing up to four. It felt a little bit weird, to be honest. But with no-let, I think it's a very good rule. No-let, maybe. It depends. And with the 25 seconds, for sure. I love that rule. I think it's also very important to have that for -- and also for the game. So but they put it now that, so that's quite cool.

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