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August 8, 2012

Tommy Haas


T. HAAS/G. Simon
6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:テつ Tommy moves into the round of 16 and plays Radek Stepanek, his partner in Bradenton.テつ Your thoughts about playing Radek.
TOMMY HAAS:テつ Yeah, you know, we played actually this year in Key Biscayne second round.テつ He got the better of me there.テつ We've had some tough battles over the years.テつ He's a very difficult player to play in many ways.テつ He plays a lot of different shot selections and uses the whole court quite well.
He had two good wins already this week as well so he's feeling it.テつ But I look forward and try to avenge.

Q.テつ One of the current trends in tennis, at least in men's tennis it seems, is that a player's peak seems to be expanding to a longer stretch of time.テつ Obviously with you playing Radek, you're both in your 30s now and enjoying a resurgence.テつ Can you talk about how the game has changed to allow for this sort of expanded prime?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ I mean, I don't know if the game has allowed that change really.テつ I think it's really a matter of your own goals, your mental state, you know, what you want to achieve, do you still love the game, do you still want to grind, doing all the stuff that comes with it off the court.
So I think that's really the main question.テつ And then if you're still having success and still believe in yourself and your body allows you to play at 32, 33, 34 and you still have some success where you always feel like you can still do well, why not keep going?
You know, you know it's going to be over at some point, right?テつ You're not going to play in your late 30s, early 40s anymore.テつ You can't play like golf for long periods of time, so you might as well enjoy it while you can and make the best of it.
I think that's maybe the mental state.テつ I can only speak for myself.テつ As well I've had some injuries that obviously some of them were quite severe that I probably missed three, if not three and a half years in my career.テつ You could say I'm in my early 30s, not mid‑30s.

Q.テつ To come back from some of the stuff that you have come back from really takes that special level of dedication.テつ Do you see a commitment that you put into the game that other guys on tour don't maybe?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ You know, I think the game has gotten a lot more physical over the years.テつ You know, I think Roger put it into another level, and then people like Novak Djokovic or Rafa Nadal came along who is such a physical, strong player.テつ These guys, what they can do with the ball, how fit they are, how they play on the run...
You know, I think that Wimbledon final with Nadal‑Federer that Nadal won 9‑7 in the fifth, or even this year the Nadal‑Djokovic final at the Australian Open, that type of tennis that they play at that level for that many hours, those kind of points every other point, it's really something.
You sort of look at that and tell yourself if you want to actually play with those guys, you really have to dedicate yourself off the court and try to get to a certain fitness level so you have a chance.
Everybody knows the better you move on the court, the better you feel on the court, the more time you have to hit a clean stroke.テつ That gives you a better chance to be a better tennis player.
So having said that, I think some of it is also hard work.テつ Some is talent.テつ Some of it is genes.テつ Some guys can practice a lot harder than others as well.テつ Some guys like to practice three, four, five hours a day.テつ Some guys can't do it mentally or they can't do it physically.
You have to really figure out what's best for you.

Q.テつ Talking about the game becoming more physical, do you find yourself spending more time in the fitness room working on weight training more than before?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ Not more than before.テつ I've tried all different types of things.テつ I've been in the gym for two, three months really lifting hard weights.テつ I've done it where it's just more cardio and just trying to get fit.テつ Due to ups and downs and injuries I've gained a few kilos here and there, and it takes me longer to get rid of those the older I'm getting, but now I'm back at a weight I'm really happy about.
I think, again, whatever works for you.テつ But you have to find a combination that's good for you.テつ Again, some guys don't lift any weights at all but they do a lot other things.テつ You can go so much with your own body weight or different sort of exercises that can get you fit.テつ Or you can just do it on the court, whatever you like.
I think at some point everybody goes through a phase where they try out everything and see how they feel about it.

Q.テつ Andy Roddick commented in London that he's been getting a lot of questions about career summary or career appreciation.テつ But for yourself, playing at 34, if you had to advise someone who was facing that hurdle psychologically, 30, and yet still wanting to play, what is the toughest aspect of convincing yourself that there is still more time and more to be done?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ Well, I can't speak for Andy obviously.テつ He's had a terrific career.テつ He's ten years in a row I think in the top 10, so he had a different career than me where he just played every year and really just fully gutted it out and made the Masters so many times.テつ You know, just obviously as good as it gets in many ways.
So if he's starting to have these thoughts at age 30, I think he just really has to maybe at the end of the year ask the a main question.テつ You know, how much more does he want to achieve?テつ What are his goals?テつ What does he believe he can still achieve?テつ How hard does he want to work off the court as well.
I know that he's married now, and maybe he's looking to start a family.テつ When all that comes along too, you have to really commit and find time to do the things you want to do.テつ If tennis is really still his goal or if he still believes he has a chance of maybe going that far in a slam, then he really has to find the team around him that's going to make him and push him to get there.
It starts by asking the questions for yourself.テつ You know, he's such a competitive guy.テつ He's one of the most competitive guys that I've played against in my career.テつ I think he's either going to make that decision to continue and fight, because I don't think he's a guy that's going to hang around and just sort of accept the fact that he's going to win a few matches here and there.
You know, he just won two titles again in the recent four, six weeks, so I think that gives him some motivation, so I'm sure we're going to see a little bit more of Andy Roddick.

Q.テつ Obviously he burst onto the scene sort of at the end of the Sampras and Agassi era, so he's had to deal with those kinds of expectations of what American tennis has come to expect from its top players.テつ In the years after Becker, did you ever to have deal with that in Germany, or is that more of a U.S. kind of we've‑got‑to‑be‑number‑one kind of thing?テつ Did you ever have to deal with those expectations?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ We have the same problem.テつ In Germany tennis is actually very big.テつ It's a big sport and we have the same sort of sure issues, same sort of pressure, if you want to put it that way.
I never looked at it that way.テつ I thought it was always a pleasure of being in those group of names with Boris Becker or Michael Stich.テつ I think I'm one the guys that have done a pretty good job in German tennis to keep that spirit and that mentality alive.
I unfortunately never won a Grand Slam, but how many people do, and how many have in the recent years besides Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal ‑ and maybe Del Potro in between once?
You know, I think in the end of the day when you come from a country that had a lot tennis history these questions always come up.テつ Where is our next top player?テつ You know, it just has changed a little bit.テつ Now you have it from Switzerland and Spain and maybe Serbia for these years.
But maybe ten, twenty years from now it looks different again and you have a few American superstars.テつ Or maybe some German guy comes out of nowhere, like Boris did in '85.テつ You just don't know.
So you just have to worry about your own career and try to make the best of it.テつ Doesn't matter where you're from.

Q.テつ You've gone from sort of No. 200 to now close to top 20 in just a few months.テつ How much of that has surprised you and how satisfying has it been?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ Yeah, I mean, I won't lie.テつ In some ways it's very surprising; but at the same time, it's a feeling of, yeah, a lot of satisfaction.テつ It's just when you really keep going and you really keep training hard and believing and keep at least, you know, wishing for things to come your way again, you know, it's great when it does.
I sort of don't want to look back now from the last weeks or months with the way I've been playing.テつ I would just like to continue.テつ My mind is on my next match with Stepanek tomorrow, and my mind after this will be Cincinnati and the US Open and I'll continue the rest of the year.
Once the year is done, I'm sure I'm going to look like back and just be like, Holy shit.テつ What kind of year did I have out of nowhere really?テつ Because six, nine months ago my career was looking a lot different.
Six, nine months ago I was having also different thoughts and just waiting and seeing how this year was going to go.テつ I have a family of my own now as well, and if it wasn't going to go as planned with injuries or if I'm not going to catch up anymore, who knows what I was going to do.
Now I'm just going to continue and act as professionally as I can on and off the court and try to play good tennis.

Q.テつ Is there a different response from the fans now at this stage of your career?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ I mean, a little bit, I think.テつ When I went to Germany this year, for instance, like in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Munich, this could have been my last year at that time.テつ So I think they really appreciate me playing in front of them, and I hope it is like that wherever I go, the fans enjoy watching me play or they like my tennis.
I feel like they appreciate the effort that I still give, and hopefully get to see me a little bit more.

Q.テつ The roof closing at the Australian Open in the semifinal against Safin, do you feel sometimes that was really bad luck for you in eventually trying to win a Grand Slam title?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ Yeah, you know, that was maybe a good chance for me that year.テつ You learn from those things.テつ I've actually never done well when the match started and the rain comes.テつ I don't remember ever wining a match.テつ That was one of the first ones.
I made a mistake by getting stretched or lying down a little bit, and when I came back on the court 30, 40 minutes later, I had no legs left.テつ It was really strange.テつ But, you know, that's the way it was.
You know, obviously I think every player, when you're young you have goals and dreams of winning the slams.テつ You've played in Wimbledon finals or US Open finals, and for someit makes to happen and for some it doesn't.
At the same time, all of us that are playing on the tour, you know, we're living the dream of being professional tennis players, and that's pretty cool as well.

Q.テつ What are your goals for the rest of the season?テつ Talk about Cincinnati and if you're able to play or not.
TOMMY HAAS:テつ Yeah, I mean, I think said it yesterday.テつ Like I said, my goal was to maybe reach top 50 again and win a title, but I've achieved that now, so I really haven't been able to really have time to sit down and think about my new goals, except going on the court and trying to become a better tennis player each time I get out there or try to work on things that I think are going to help my game to be even better.テつ That's my main goal right now.
Cincinnati, I don't know how many out I am.テつ Maybe Sharko knows.テつ The cut at that time, I think my ranking was right around 50, and the cut was like 39, 40, so I was like eight, nine, ten out.
So I'm sure it's going to be a little bit tougher draw than here, so we'll have to see how it goes tomorrow against Stepanek.テつ If it goes well, who knows if I play Cincy quallies.テつ If it doesn't go well tomorrow, I'll decide to see if I can make that turnaround quickly and play quallies there or not.
Then the next one would be just US Open.

Q.テつ Did you ask for a wildcard into there?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ I did, yeah, but it's not going to happen.

Q.テつ Being quite a bit of time around the tour, what kind of things does your mind produce at the right time during the matches?テつ Can you give me a few examples?
TOMMY HAAS:テつ That's a tough one.テつ You know, so many different thoughts go through your mind in a match.テつ You know, I can't begin to explain it.テつ The beginning you just hope you feel good.テつ If you have break points, you think, Play aggressive, keep the ball in play.テつ Do I come in?テつ You just try to figure it out.
Every second you have time to change your thoughts, so you just go out there and sometimes go with your gut feelings and instinct and hope that that's going to be the good answers.

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