Tommy Robredo: "I Want To Say Goodbye To Tennis In Front Of My people" - UBITENNIS
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Tommy Robredo: “I Want To Say Goodbye To Tennis In Front Of My people”

Now close to retiring, former No.5, Tommy Robredo looks back at his career, recalling pleasant memories and a good deal of self-awareness: “Very few players have been more professional than me.”

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Flushing, NY, 2013, 3SEPT2013 US Open Tennis Championships. TOMMY ROBREDO JUBO DANCE

By Pellegrino Dell’Anno, translated by Michele Brusadelli

Hostalric is a quaint municipality in Catalonia with less than 3,000 inhabitants. It may not be known to many, but it means everything to Tommy Robredo.

It is the village where he was born almost forty years ago, and he is just as attached to it as he is to the Barcelona tournament, where he triumphed in 2004 and was runner up in 2006. No surprise it is the place he chose to bid his official farewell to tennis next month.

The Spaniard has never really recovered after the elbow injury he suffered at the beginning of 2016, but formally he is still a professional tennis player, and wishes to end his glorious career in front of his family, as he said, opening up to PuntodeBreak:

“I am thrilled about this last challenge, this last tournament I’m going to play in Barcelona, ​​even if I will try to play in Murcia as well, so as to get some pace and match play under my belt. My last flight will be at home, that’s the way I wanted to say goodbye to the tour, even though I’ve been missing for some time. My dream was to bid farewell to the public, to my people… last year could have been an option, but with COVID and everything it involved I didn’t even consider it. I couldn’t imagine saying goodbye without my parents being in the stands, so we decided to wait another year.”

Robredo has always been a man before being a tennis player, a passionate, instinctive, genuine man – many still remember the way he celebrated his win at the Hamburg Masters in 2006, ripping his t-shirt off – and above all, still thoroughly attached and grateful to tennis:

“Tennis gave me a lot, it taught me everything, it raised me, gave me the education and values ​​I still have. In tennis you fall and get back up every week, you learn how to win and how to lose, you rise to fame, you earn amazing money while you’re still very young, you’re constantly striving to reach your goals… What a normal person experiences in 70 years, players experience in 20.”

There were many memorable moments of Robredo’s career. He is considered one of the most important Spanish tennis players of the 21st century with his12 ATP titles and peaked at No.5 in the ATP rankings. Yet, it is curious to see how very often, Robredo’s career was defined more by a famous defeat than a victory: On October 26th, 2014, in the ATP 500 Valencia final on indoor hardcourt, he lost to Andy Murray 6-3 6-7 (7) 6-7 (8) in an epic duel which lasted 3 hours and 20 minutes and also made history with its unique epilogue: Robredo jokingly showing Andy both middle fingers instead of shaking hands, then the two players warmly embracing at the net.

Robredo himself claims this is the match of his life: “It was the cruellest match of my career but, at the same time, it is one of the matches I have the best memories of. That match was spectacular, I’ve seen it several times and I always get goosebumps. We both played at an extraordinary level, as Djokovic and Nadal did at the 2012 Australian Open final. A match with five match points that I missed, and also with Andy, someone I really appreciate. After that we flew together to Paris-Bercy in his private plane: he was celebrating with champagne and I was in the back drinking water. It is a match that I lost but that I really treasure”.

That is only one of the marathons that the Spaniard played throughout his career, thanks to his mentality: “You have to be very strong physically, and then be very tough mentally, never give up until the end. Whenever I reached the fifth set, that always gave me a chance, because that was where I felt that the opponent was not as good as me, and luckily I was able to enjoy high level tennis on many occasions in my career. This is what really counts in that kind of match, the body and the mind.”

In line with his career as a humble, working-class hero who never aimed for fame, he ends the interview taking stock of a career that has spanned over 25 years, from 1998 to 2022 and left him with no great regrets.

And he concludes on a sweet note, recalling his qualities, and making it clear that nothing is born by chance: “I gave my best, this is one of the things I’m very happy with. Even if I talk about making different decisions throughout my career, I can actually blame myself for very few things, very few players have been more professional than me on a tennis court. I remember that my friends used to go to parties in the summer while I went to bed at midnight, but I was very focused on what I wanted, and that kind of effort didn’t mean paying no price. I have always been very disciplined in this respect, my father educated me that way, he taught me to work every day to achieve my goals.”

And those goals, Tommy, rest assured you have achieved them all, especially in the hearts of those who still cherish your memories and ever will.

Barcelona is waiting for you for one last, great battle.

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World No.32 Davidovich Fokina Replaces Long-Time Coach With Verdasco

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Fernando Verdasco was spotted earlier this week briefly watching Ons Jabeur play at the French Open but his focus this year is on another player.

The former top 10 player has landed a new coaching job after being hired by compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Somebody who he once played a Tour-level doubles match alongside back in 2020. Fokina has opted to stop working with Jorge Aguirre, who has been his mentor since he was a child.

The change comes after what has been a mixed start to the season for Fokina who has only managed to win back-to-back matches in two out of 11 tournaments played before the start of Roland Garros. His sole win over a top 20 player occurred at the start of 2024 when he beat Hubert Hurkacz at the United Cup.  

“I will be very brief. I have left it with Jorge (Aguirre) and I start with Verdasco, with whom I have had a good relationship for years. He has not officially retired, but I knew that he was training other players and it was time,” Fokina told reporters after beating Valentin Vacherot in the first round of the French Open.
“It was time to close a stage and start a new one. With his experience, Verdasco can help me a lot to face the games, to assume that pressure and tension of the competition.”

Verdasco has won seven ATP titles during his career and reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Australian Open. At this year’s Madrid Open, he briefly helped Jabeur whose main coach Issam Jellali was unable to attend the tournament. 

Fokina will next play Casper Ruud in Roland Garros.

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Roland Garros 2024: Casper Ruud Explains Geneva Decision, Martin Etcheverry Talks Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Two-time finalist Casper Ruud is into the second round with a straight sets win over Felipe Meligeni Alves.

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Casper Ruud has explained the decision behind playing in Geneva last week after he defeated Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3 6-4 6-3.

The world number seven is into the second round after a straight sets win over the Brazilian qualifier.

Ruud has reached the final the past two occasions here having lost to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in those respective finals.

Now the Norwegian is targeting more success in Paris this year and spoke about his opening round performance after the match, “Yeah, I was honestly very happy. I think it was a good start,” Ruud stated in his press conference.

“I think Felipe is a dangerous player, and obviously I didn’t know him so well. So not easy to know what’s going to come out of his racquet. I think he was firing pretty good serves and forehands.

“Overall, I think it was a pretty high-quality match and happy to be through in straight sets. That’s just what I was kind of hoping and looking for. Yeah, I’m very happy to be through.”

Given Ruud’s history at Roland Garros, there would be no reason to suggest that the Norwegian would need to play his way into form.

However that’s exactly what he did in Geneva the week before Roland Garros as he won the title in Switzerland.

After his opening round match Ruud was asked about why he always plays in Geneva instead of practicing on-site in Paris, “No, I decide based on the fact that I enter the tournament, and with the purpose of going. But of course, if you do super well in Madrid and Rome and you play, let’s say, 10 matches or more within those two weeks or the two tournaments, maybe, depending on how your body feels, it’s kind of easier to skip it,” Ruud explained.

“But that wasn’t the case for me in Madrid and Rome. I played only four matches there. I lost early in Rome. If I didn’t play Geneva I would have had 17 or 18 days since I lost in Rome until starting in Roland Garros, which in my eyes, my feeling, is just a bit too much. For some players, they don’t think it’s too much. They don’t have a problem with it.

“But for me I like going into tournament kind of mode and feeling in the zone when you’re playing an official match. That’s why I like playing. It gives me kind of confidence and match feeling going into a Grand Slam, which is the Grand Slam that I personally feel like I have the most chances to do well in.”

Ruud will aim to continue his good run of form when he takes on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round.

Martin Etcheverry Speaks On Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Finally Tomas Martin Etcheverry defeated Arthur Cazaux in four sets to seal his place in the second round.

The Argentinian is a big Novak Djokovic fan and after the match spoke about his love for Roland Garros and has tipped Djokovic to win this year’s tournament, “I think it’s my favorite tournament since I was a child, and I always want to play here,” Martin Etcheverry explained.

“This is a moment of the year that I want to be here and try to play my best tennis because I want to get a good result here.

“Yeah, is he my idol, and he is the No. 1 of the world. I don’t know, like six years right now. Yeah, I always try to watch him, trying to improve the game. I always trying to saw him. Yeah, I think he’s going to be No. 1 a lot of time. I don’t know if they have a good year this year, but I think it’s Novak Djokovic. Maybe he can win this tournament.”

Martin Etcheverry will play another Frenchman in the form of Arthur Rinderknech in the second round with Ruud being the potential third round opponent.

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Grand Slam Quarter-Finalist Van De Zandschulp Pondering Retirement After French Open Exit

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image via https://x.com/Boticvdz/

Botic van de Zandschulp has revealed he is losing his passion for tennis and is considering retiring from the sport following his exit from the French Open on Monday.

The 29-year-old was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by Fabio Fognini, who eased his way to a 6-1, 6-1, 7-5, victory. It is the second Grand Slam in a row where he has fallen at the first hurdle with the 2022 Wimbledon championships being the last major event where he won back-to-back matches.   

“I don’t look forward to competitions at all anymore,” Zandschulp told Dutch media.
“I have been asking myself more and more lately whether I want to continue.
“You have to do work that you enjoy. Everyone has a bad day every now and then. But if there are too many, then you have to ask yourself whether you want to continue.” 

Zandschulp has been the top-ranked player in his country with his most notable achievement being a run to the quarter-finals of the 2021 US Open. The former world No.22 is a two-time runner-up at the Munich Open but is yet to win an ATP Tour title. He has registered a total of six wins over top 10 players, including Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev. 

However, recent difficulties on the Tour have left the Dutchman questioning if he wants to continue playing.  

“I like the training. Those are great days. But when I get up in the morning, I no longer look forward to the matches at all.” He commented.

Zandschulp’s remarks could be a reaction to his frustrating loss to Fognini. However, he confirmed that he has been considering retiring for a long time. 

“It was the worst match I have played in my life,” he said. 
“Of course, it is now fresh after the match. That plays a role in my mind, but the thoughts of quitting have been there for a long time. It is not an easy life as a tennis player. You really live your life, play thirty weeks a year and travel from pillar to post.
“If you don’t play, someone else will pass you by (in the rankings). That’s why I now play extra tournaments instead of charging myself at home.”

Zandschulp is currently ranked 102nd in the world and is scheduled to play in the French Open doubles event on Tuesday.

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