Tennis Prose



Press Conference Flashback: Mats Wilander 1995 Key Biscayne



March 21, 1995

Mats Wilander

Key Biscayne, FL

GREG SHARKO: First quarterfinal for Mats here at the Lipton since’88 when he won it.
Q. Have you got some sort of momentum thing going now, I mean, having won so easily the last couple of rounds?

MATS WILANDER: Yeah, I have got the momentum going for me now for sure, yeah. I think the last two matches I have sort of played a little better than I thought I was able to play at this stage, but I think that momentum changed the last couple of weeks and winning a couple of close matches and even since the French Indian Wells I won 7-5 in the third, which has been unusual for me for the last year, and when you suddenly feel like you are going to win again, then everything changes; perspective changes completely. And I was very lucky against Novacek in the second round and again, there, I pulled through and played steady when I had to and since then, I have been playing a little bit above. I enjoying playing this well. I have had enough wins in my career to not really have to win to enjoy it. I think what I enjoy is feeling that I can deal with somebody like Rafter’s serve or his volley and I feel like I am quick still to be able to pass him and play more of an all-around game than some of the guys do. That is what I enjoy more, yeah.
Q. Do you think that your pace and style of play is a source of frustration in today’s players, the power hitters, they don’t often see your style of play?

MATS WILANDER: No, they don’t. Yeah, I think they are taken a little bit by surprise because I guess there is not that many players that don’t make as few unforced errors as I maybe made yesterday and today, I mean, I think somebody like Agassi or somebody who makes few unforced errors, hits the ball a lot harder and I think sometimes when you have as little pace as I do on some shots, you have to create their own pace on approach shots and that means they have to take longer swings and sometimes they miss easier, yeah.
Q. He seemed to be having some problems with his volley today in the second set; is that a matter of pace?

MATS WILANDER: Well, I think — yeah, I think I am not sure he might have been tired. He had a rough day yesterday playing three sets against Chang — last night. I was passing him pretty good, when you play — if it’s me or whoever it is, when you play a guy who passes well, suddenly you get a little bit uncertain where the ball is going to come. When you are there, then you get uncertain as well because you know that if you hit it to me then there is a chance that I pass him. So I mean, that has something to do with it. I think I played with more spin than the other guys and the ball, because it is a bit windy, moves around a little bit more, maybe.
Q. Do you ever feel like the old man out there?

MATS WILANDER: I don’t feel it, no. I think what I am surviving on is maybe experience, but also my legs, I think I am still able to hit around the court pretty good and if I didn’t have my legs, or my speed, then there is no way I could be playing. So, no, I don’t really feel like an old man, no. My game, the way I play, sometimes I feel I am playing a style that was used ten years ago when I stay back and — but it is possible to play like that as well. As long as you believe that you can win with your best game, then it is possible to play anyway you want.
Q. You said when you suddenly feel like you can win again over the past few weeks, what has changed for you in these past few weeks to bring that feeling back?

MATS WILANDER: Just winning a couple of matches — just winning a couple of matches. I went to Australia very well prepared and I worked out pretty hard before. I started off having a good win at the Hopman Cup against Medvedev; then I played not a great match at the Australian Open; I lost in the qualies of Auckland and I basically didn’t play good at all. Then I took four weeks off and I came to Rotterdam and I practiced for three, four days; I played better than I have done for the last year and a half. So it is just, you get the feeling back. Then I won a round there and that gave me a lot of confidence and Indian Wells, the same thing, I am playing a lot better this week than I have done the other two weeks, but those are the victories that brought my confidence back up, yeah.
Q. Would you describe yourself as a part-time player at this point or how thoroughly are you into this?

MATS WILANDER: No, not part-time. I am a full-time player. I mean, I think somebody who plays — who is part-time here is somebody who plays 10, 12 tournaments a year, or I guess don’t practice as much, but I try and play pretty much everyday and I am going to play between maybe around 20 tournaments this year, so I was part-time player in ’93 in the beginning of ’94 when I was just feeling it out and trying to decide if I am enjoying it or not.
Q. The last time you reached a quarterfinal?

MATS WILANDER: A quarterfinal?
Q. Yes.

MATS WILANDER: Well, I reached a semifinal last year and a quarterfinal last year. So it doesn’t really make any difference.
Q. Do you still feel that, you know, you talked about a round or two rounds each time. Do you feel that you can win a tournament even like this one; is it possible?

MATS WILANDER: Hey, right now, yeah. I feel I could win the tournament, yeah. I mean, I have already– as I said, if I am playing above my own expectations and if you told me before that I would beat Rafter and Siemerink in two easy straight sets, then obviously, there is no way, but obviously, it has happened and stronger things have happened then I think me winning the tournament — I am not expecting winning the tournament — I think I would be stupid to say I have great chance. But there is a small chance. If I play great, the difference is not enormous between somebody like me and the best guys, but it is enough to make it basically impossible, but I mean, there is a small chance, yeah.
Q. Mats, what is the difference in your training routine now as opposed to a few years ago when you were on the Tour?

MATS WILANDER: I don’t play as much. I play maybe a bit more concentrated when I am on the court, but I very rarely practice more than an hour and a half at a time and I would say never more than 2 1/2 a day. I think, before, I used to play four hours a day and try to practice for two hours in a row, whatever, but I mean, I can’t learn much more about the game than I know already, so I just got to feel fresh when I go in for my matches and feel like I am well prepared.
Q. What about off-court?

MATS WILANDER: I do a little bit of jogging and gym work when I am home, but I really never did that much apart from two years in my career, so that really hasn’t changed that much. I am not really playing as much tennis and obviously not as many matches.
Q. Since you are a full-time player again, did you set any goals for this year?

MATS WILANDER: No. I don’t have any goals. No. I think — well, that is not true. I think one of the goals that I had was that I would like to get a ranking so that you are able to go straight into tournaments so you don’t have to worry about getting a walk-on every time and not being able to decide if you are going to a tournament until the Thursday or Friday before the tournament. That was maybe one of the ranking goals, but apart from that, no. My goal is to be able to enjoy it as much as I have so far for the next hopefully two years, or whatever. They are going to come eventually, I think.
Q. When we speak with players usually they say they hate to travel; they hate the life they have out of the court. How do you explain that you came back to have this life and travel even more than you used to travel when you were on the top?

MATS WILANDER: Well, I think that when you have played for a long time and when you have taken a couple of years off, you start to realize that you are not going to be able to compete in a professional sport the rest of your life and I think the thrill of being out there and doing something that near — that is near to perfection is something that — the feeling is impossible to describe and I think it is very hard to get that feeling in any other part of life. I mean, it happens on the golf course. Sometimes you hit an unbelievable shot to the green and, but it lasts for a second and here it lasts for an hour and a half and it is great to be able to feel like you are in control of something that you are doing; you are 100% in control and I think — I don’t know, I missed it a lot – I realize now. I think the travel, you just realize that that is something that if you don’t travel, you are not going to get that feeling.

Comments are closed.



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top