EXCLUSIVE: David Goffin On Motivation, Goals And Life After Tennis - UBITENNIS
Connect with us


EXCLUSIVE: David Goffin On Motivation, Goals And Life After Tennis



On Friday at Wimbledon David Goffin took to the court to play his third round match almost exactly 11 years after he reached that stage of the tournament for the first time.

The Belgian is a former world No.7, a four-time major quarter-finalist and has claimed six ATP titles on the Tour. However, he currently finds himself outside of the top 100 due to the after-effects of an injury-related break. It is a frustrating situation to be in but Goffin sees it more as a challenge than a blow.

At Wimbledon, he was granted a wild card into the main draw following his run to the last eight of the tournament 12 months ago. Initially, he was set to lock horns with Nick Kyrgios before the Australian pulled out of the draw. Instead, he played and beat Fábián Marozsán who is known for upsetting Carlos Alcaraz in Rome earlier this year. Then in the second round, he dismissed Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera in four sets.

Goffin was eventually stopped in his tracks by seventh seed Andrey Rublev but he refused to exit the tournament quietly. He clinched the second set and boasted a 4-1 lead in the third but it wasn’t enough for him to seal the win. Instead, Rublev rallied to a 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-2, win.

After Goffin’s ninth Wimbledon appearance came to an end, he spoke at length to Ubitennis about the past, present and future of his career. At the age of 32, he is becoming a veteran of the Tour but that doesn’t mean his passion for the sport is evaporating. He has more goals in his career before retirement. As for life after playing on the Tour, don’t expect him to go too far away from tennis…..

UBITENNIS: It wasn’t the outcome that you would have wanted but can you take any positives from your match against Andrey Rublev?

GOFFIN: It’s never easy to play against Rublev. He has been a top-10 player for a long time and has proved again that he has the firepower. It was a tough match. I had opportunities, especially in the third set when I was 4-1 up but he started to swing like crazy and hit the ball really well.

The level was high from both of us toward the end of the third set but unfortunately, things were turning in his favor. Then he played really well in the fourth.

Overall, it was a positive match for me. At Wimbledon, I won two matches to reach the third round again. I used this tournament to try and continue with the way I am playing and to raise my level further.

UBITENNIS: In recent months you have gone through difficulties with a knee injury sidelining you from the sport. What motivates you to keep wanting to play on the Tour after such an injury?

GOFFIN: It’s never easy to come back from an injury. It’s always easier to do so when you’re younger. When I was injured at 20 it was easy. I would just come back, hit the ball, and feel great after some practice sessions.

Now I am almost 33 and it is different. It takes more time and you have to trust the process with your team. The schedule and everything to make sure you come back 100 percent.

The last few years have not been easy. I was playing with pain in my knee all the time and checking with doctors if I needed surgery. I ended up continuing to play as my ranking was still there.

I used painkillers but for my head (mentality) and level, it was not good. Now, I’m just playing for those kinds of tournaments where I can have great matches like I did against Rublev at Wimbledon this year. This is why I wanted to come back. To have a few more years of playing a lot of good matches and enjoy playing on the court which is the thing I love the most.

UBITENNIS: How is the knee now? Are there still some ongoing issues?

GOFFIN: It’s completely fine, so I’m really happy. Hopefully, I can stay away from injury. We (my team) will continue to fight and find a way back into the top 100.

UBITENNIS: You said top 100 but do you think it is possible to return back into the top 50 or even top 20?

My goal is to be inside the top 50 and be seeded again for a Grand Slam. That would be great. I have the level to get there but I have to be more consistent. I can beat the top guys and if I stay consistent for months I know my ranking would be there (top 50).

Also, staying away from injury is another goal.

UBITENNIS: Further ahead, have you ever thought about what you want to do after your career as a tennis player ends?

GOFFIN: My focus at the moment is on tennis and after that, I don’t know. There are a few things in my mind such as staying in tennis by coaching or even as a tournament director, you never know.

We will see but I am not thinking about this at the moment.

UBITENNIS: Looking at Belgian tennis as a whole, there are currently no men in the top 100. Do you think you could play a role in the future development of the sport in your country? Would this be something of interest to you?

GOFFIN: We are a small country but the level of our academies and federation is really good. We have had amazing players like Clijsters and Henin. On the men’s Tour, we have had a lot of top 100 players, including myself. It is normal sometimes that there is a gap where you don’t have played in the top 100 but I am sure that some players will come back to the top in the world of tennis.

If I can help with this, we will see. Maybe I can do something with the federation or players. We have some young talent and really good teachers.

UBITENNIS: Finally, you have been on the Tour for 15 years. How would you describe the development of men’s tennis during this period?

GOFFIN: It’s strange to have 15 years on the Tour already, it has passed by in like a second.

It has changed a little bit. When I came on the Tour I was in the top 100 at the age of 20 and it was not easy at that stage when you are young. Now you have a new generation who are so fast, quick, and strong already. Players like Sinner, Alcaraz and Rune.

The Tour has also changed a little bit. All players have bigger teams than before. When I started on the Tour, having a physio and fitness coach on your team was only for the top players. Now all players have bigger teams and you can see they are all really physically fit.

Hopefully, I can stay on the Tour for a few more years to fight with these guys. Then it will be time to stop playing but not right now.


Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence



Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

Continue Reading


Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils



Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

Continue Reading


Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis



Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

Continue Reading