World number one tennis player talks Dubai, rivals and staying motivated
Time Out Dubai staff
How do you feel about playing in Dubai? I love going back to Dubai, it is one of my favourite tournaments of the year. I really like the city and the Aviation Club. Players always vote Dubai as the best ATP 500 event of the year because we feel very comfortable there.
What do you enjoy about playing here? How is it different to playing anywhere else in the world? Every event is different but the crowd in Dubai is very multi-cultural and they enjoy tennis a lot. We like to put up a great show for them every year.
Which player are most looking forward to playing at Dubai Duty Free? It will be a very strong field as usual in Dubai with Roger who always plays so well there, Andy coming back and Berdych who is always dangerous.
How does this tournament set you up for the rest of the season? Dubai is a very important event in the first part of the season when we play on hard courts before starting the clay court season in April. It is huge for your confidence to start the year well.
What’s your best Dubai Duty Free moment? Winning my four titles there and playing many night matches when the atmosphere is electric.
What’s your current training schedule? I did a great pre-season training in December and now I am just getting ready for each event and keeping my usual routine. I hit, go to the gym, stretch.
Which tennis player, in the game right now excites or inspires you? It is a great era in men’s tennis right now – Roger is still playing incredible tennis, Rafa and Andy are always tough and then you have the young generation challenging us: Nishikori, Raonic, Dimitrov, Kyrgios. It is hard to pick just one player.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career and why? Winning my first Wimbledon and getting to No1 in the world. I was always dreaming about winning Wimbledon and being the ATP No1.
As world number one, it’s all eyes on you this year– how do you feel about that? Do you ever feel pressure? Pressure is a privilege and you have to deal with it. I just look at every season as a race from January to November and I was lucky enough to finish on top in three of the last four years.
You always seem very comfortable in front of the TV cameras, would you consider a TV career when you’re ready to hang up your racket? Maybe, I enjoy the TV and movie world very much and if the right opportunity comes along I would love to try. Maybe some producers or directors are reading this…
What’s your motivation? To be the best I can be and an inspiration to others.
How badly do you want to beat Federer in Dubai this year? I want to win the title regardless of who I meet in the final. I enjoy playing Roger of course because we always have great battles.