How do you like it in Vienna?
It is great to be back again. I haven’t been here for 13 years but I still have fond memories of 2007. The Stadthalle is one of the best arenas we have on the tour and the atmosphere is one of a kind. Vienna has nurtured a great tennis tradition, also because of Dominic, Thomas Muster and Babsi Schett.
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Already thinking of a rematch for the Melbourne finals?
We practiced together this morning and it was so intense that I thought we already played the final. I have so much respect for him and he has really deserved to win the US Open this year. Of course, I hope that we will play in the finals but it’s a long way to get there. The main draw is so full of good players.
What do you think of your draw?
Well, I’ve been joking with Filip (Krajinovic, his first round opponent) that that would be fun. The chances usually are slim but there you have it. We are good friends and he likes to play on hardcourt. The first match in a tournament always is difficult.
Can you compare the “bubble” here in Vienna with those in New York and Paris?
I only arrived here one day ago, but we have a great hotel, fantastic food and great conditions. Obviously, there are some minor differences between the bubbles, but all in all it’s the same as the same rules and regulations apply. Of course, I would like to just go out for a walk. But we are here because of the tournament. It’s always also about how your attitude is: do you only see the negatives or think positively?
What’s your opinion on the main draw?
Well, it’ll definitely be a big challenge to win here. It’s probably the best ATP 500 draw ever and it can happen that you have to play against the world’s number 15 in the first round. But that’s how it is nowadays. It’s tough to have a tournament at all. Vienna is the only big one this week so all the good players wanted to play here.
Is Pete Sampras’ record of finishing six years as number 1 a big goal of yours?
Sampras had been one of my idols when I was a kid and of course I want to finish the year as number 1 to tie his record. That’s one of the toughest achievements in world sports.