Attila Savolt Compares Playing Federer and Rios
Yesterday I had the enormous pleasure of meeting up with Attila Savolt at Stabucks at St. Armand’s Circle. The former ATP #58 agreed to meet up after his afternoon of work at the Water Club on Longboat Key, just a few miles north, to discuss in detail his 2002 Australian Open match against Roger Federer in exchange for a copy of my book about Marcelo Rios. Well, he would have chatted anyway, he’s a great guy, I just wanted to give him a copy.
Savolt retired in 2005 from the ATP Tour. He was a top 60 player from Hungary, good enough to have set point vs. Federer at the Australian, and record Top 10 wins over Tim Henman, Jiri Novak, Thomas Berdych, Nikolay Davydenko, David Ferrer, Mikhail Youzhny, Fernando Gonzalez, Nicolas Kiefer, Karol Kucera, Gaston Gaudio, Guillermo Canas, Sebastian Grosjean, Rainer Schuettler and Paradorn Srichiphan.
Savolt competed for Hungary at the 2000 Olympics, made the third round at Roland Garros twice and posted a 20-15 Davis Cup match record.
Today, Savolt has a successful private coaching career in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. He also has done some sports commentating in Hungary for Sports 1. Check out his website www.AttilaSavolt.com
Our entire discussion lasted about 20 minutes (I’m going to save the rest for the Federer book), but here is an interesting excerpt about Savolt’s comparing of Rios and Federer:
“They had very different styles. With Federer, I felt all the match (his) intensity. With Rios (whom he lost to 61 62 in Palermo also in 2002) I really felt he was more like playing on the court. He was playing on the court. I definitely felt against Rios that I didn’t have the weapon or I didn’t find the way to put him in trouble or how to beat him. Against Federer, at the end of the match I had the feeling I could have done so much more, if I play better. Against Rios, I didn’t feel good on the court. I felt that the way he played, it was very uncomfortable for me. Like, the angles that he was playing, the rhythm that he changed. I didn’t like the game, he was very effective.”
By the way, earlier in the afternoon Savolt ran into the soccer star Thierry Henry at the Ritz Carlton who is here for a week with his team the New Jersey Red Bulls for a training camp. He said they talked a little bit about Federer and tennis.
For your information, Savolt was wearing those black, blue and green Babolat Propulses, he ordered a juice, and he drives a spotless white VW.