David Goffin Interview Highlight of 2015 ATP Munich Wednesday
Marc Imperatori for Tennis Atlantic
Yesterday was my last day at the BMW Open. Four R2 Singles matches, all R1 Doubles matches as well as Pablo Andujar vs. Joao Souza, the only remaining R1 match, were scheduled. The real magic happened on court 1 with three consecutive exciting matches. I had an interview with the winner of the last one, David Goffin. You can read it further down.
You´ve got to love the atmosphere there. A small court that has stands behind and in front of the players´ benches. In close matches there are people standing all around the court to get a view on the match. Then there´s all the noise from the music played on centre court during changeovers or between matches. It all adds to a great “outside court” atmosphere.
The opening match was a battle between two clay-court specialists, Joao Souza (Brazil) and Pablo Andujar (Spain). The latter reached the final in Barcelona by beating Ferrer and Fognini. Souza on the other hand should be well known for his Davis Cup epics: Two days after winning against Carlos Berlocq in 5 hours, he came back from 2 sets down, saved several match points just to lose 13-15 in the fifth set against Leonardo Mayer in more than 7 hours (in the Brazil-Argentina WG Round 1 tie). In this match both players showed their abilities on the red dirt. Andujar was extremly consistent from the baseline by hitting with great depth and angles as well as constantly serving on the line. It was very hard for Souza to deal with that, so he had to go for big shots especially with his forehand. That was spectacular to watch at times and worked out pretty well. Yet, Andujar was just too solid. He only needed to save a break point in his second service game, while Souza was break point down in five of his ten service games, getting broken once in each set. Therefore Andujar won 6-4, 6-4. The Spaniard retired against Gerald Melzer in his match on Thursday.
In the following match Janko Tipsarevic from Serbia faced the Dominican tennis hero Victor Estrella Burgos. Tipsarevic did not participate in any tournament in 2014 and played his third tournament after his comeback in Munich, having had a 3-2 record going into this match. Estrella Burgos, who beat Dominic Thiem & Marin Cilic last week in Barcelona as well as Viktor Troicki in R1 here, was really on fire early in the match. He was hitting rocket forehands, top spin volley and even backhand winners and therefore got a quick 5-2 lead on serve. During the changeover the umpire let the courts remade which made the Dominican livid. He lost nine consecutive points but eventually served it out to win the first set 6-4. In the second set the two players dominated on serve. At 4-4 Estrella Burgos created a break opportunity, saved by a big serve of Tipsarevic. In the following tie-break the latter was playing extremly well whereas Estrella Burgos hit some unforced errors. Therefore Tipsarevic won the breaker 7-1.
In opposite to the previous set, this one started with three breaks, two of them by the Serbian. Both held their serves and especially Tipsarevic played much more aggressive than early on in the match, going for a backhand down the line very often. Thus he had the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4. He started and ended the game with a double fault. It must be said that the other three points were high-quality. In the next game he had two break points to serve for the match once again. Estrella Burgos was able to save both of them with offensive tennis and win the game to go up 6-5. In the next game the Serbian had to hold his serve to stay in the match. In this stage VEB was hitting rocket forehands just like in the beginning of the match. Being match point down the first time Tipsarevic once again hit a great serve, the second time he hit an error. Hence Estrella Burgos won 6-4, 6-7(1), 7-5.
In the quarter-final he will meet Roberto Bautista-Agut. The Spaniard easily dispatched Radek Stepanek by winning 6-0, 6-3.
In the last match on this court David Goffin fought past Simone Bolelli 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-1. All in all this match was a mixture of fantastic rallies paired with unforced errors. Anyway, it was quite spectacular. Neither player was troubled on serve in the first set. Then Bolelli won some of the mentioned great rallies to be 4-1 up on serve in the tie-break. Then the unforced errors by Bolelli appeared in addition to very consistent baseline play by Goffin. The latter won five straight points and eventually the set.
In the second set Bolelli seemed to have a letdown and got broken but immediately broke back. Goffin then had another break point opportunity in the third game but once again, both players won their service games to enforce another tie-break. Just like in the first set Bolelli was redlining his game in the beginning and got a 4-1 lead. This time he only lost the next two points and won the second breaker 7-4. In the last set David Goffin showed why he´s on the verge of breaking into the Top 20 again. His great movement and counter-punching lead to breaking Bolelli´s serve in the fourth game. In the following game the Italian had a break point to even it out but Goffin saved it by a well-timed net attack after a long rally. From then on Goffin was too good for Bolelli who kind of lost confidence. The Belgian broke again and served it out to love.
David Goffin post-match interview
Q: Congratulations. As a spectator it was really great to watch your match, many nice rallies. What do you think about your performance?
DG: It was hard because the conditions are different than two days ago. It´s cooler today. The courts are slow and it was tough to move, so I did the maximum to win and I´m really happy because in January I lost against Simone in Sidney. He´s a great player and I think it´s a great performance to win against him today.
Q: You mentioned the match in Sidney. Today he caused a lot of trouble, too. What makes it so tough to play against him?
DG: Yeah, it´s because he has so much power. When he hits the ball, it´s tough for me to control it. His forehand is really strong. His serve, too. I had to serve really well and I was really solid. I waited for a good moment to break him in the last set. So it was a really solid match mentally.
Q: You had injury problems this year. At the Davis Cup you couldn´t play the first rubber. How do you feel now?
DG: Now I´m feeling better. I had some problems with my rip, just after Marseille. Then it always takes a few weeks to get better, but now I have no more pain.
Q: Good to hear! Last year you had a great run. You won two tournaments and many challenger titles, too. You were full of confidence. Today, you sometimes seemed more passive. Is it because you have less confidence now?
DG: No, I think I´m playing really good in practice but today it was tough conditions, tough to move. Simone is really aggressive so it´s tough to be aggressive for me. So maybe that´s why I was more passive today but I´m gonna try to be more aggressive next round.
Q: It changed a lot for you when you won all the titles in the last 6-8 months. Do you feel more pressure now, being almost a Top 20 player?
DG: Yeah, I´m #21 this week. I´m seeded now in tournaments like ATP 250s. Of course it´s pressure but it´s a good pressure. I have to play my game, even if I´m #21 or #40 or #50 I don´t care. I have to play my best tennis. If I´m playing well I think the result will come. I just have to focus on the way I play.
Q: What are your goals for 2015? Do you have specific goal or are you looking from tournament to tournament?
DG: No, I´m gonna try to win another tournament, maybe …
Q: This week?
DG: Why not? It should be good. Like I said, I´m really happy to be back on clay. I can win points at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, so I´m gonna try to break the Top 20 for the first time. And then at the end of the season, I´ll see if I´m Top 20 or not.
Q: The last question: What do you think about your next opponent, Philipp Kohlschreiber?
DG: I played him twice, I think, and I won twice but it´s a different tournament. He´s playing at home. He´s always has a good level when he´s playing in Germany. I think he won the tournament twice. He loves the tournament, it will be a tough match for me.
As you can see in the quarterfinals David Goffin will face German No.1 Philipp Kohlschreiber. He beat Alexander Zverev 6-2, 6-4. In the post-match presser he was talking about the youngster´s game. Kohlschreiber was fully aware of Zverev´s potential. However, he also admitted that it was easy for him to dominate points due to Zverev´s court position far behind the baseline.
I also asked Kohlschreiber about David Goffin (and Simone Bolelli). He mentioned their encounter in Kitzbühl where the Belgian prevailed in straight sets. Goffin´s constant and well-placed shots as well as his great movement and returning ability made Kohlschreiber not really sound like he is keen on having to play against him.
Scores from Wednesday and Thursday
Wednesday (ATP Doubles)
Peya/Soares d. Stakhovsky/Troicki 5-7 7-5 10-4
Paes/Stepanek d. Struff/Thiem 6-1 6-7 10-5
Murray/Rojer d. Klaasen/Rosol 7-5 6-2
Junaid/Shamasdin d. Fleming/Marray 6-3 2-6 16-14
Mayer/Moser d. Becker/Meffert 6-3 6-2
Begemann/Knowle d. Cermak/Vesely 7-6 6-4
Alex Zverev/Mischa Zverev d. Brown/Petzschner 6-4 6-4
Jamie Murray/Peers d. Estrella/Souza 6-3 6-2
Murray d. Mischa Zverev 6-2 6-2
Rosol d. Stakhovsky 7-5 6-2
Thiem d. Fognini 6-3 6-0
Gerald Melzer d. Andujar 4-1 ret.
Peya/Soares d. Paes/Stepanek 6-2 6-1
Andy Murray/Rojer d. Junaid/Shamasdin 6-2 6-2
Begemann/Knowle d. Mayer/Moser 6-0 6-4
Zverev/Zverev d. Jamie Murray/Peers 3-6 6-3 10-8