Re: Helena Sukova's book
Second chapter: Obsession with Wimbledon
(The chapter brings one long interview with Helena Sukova about a certain inspiration, about Wimbledon, but also about a specific season, about Mommy, about a certain match with Pam Shriver, about belief and also tennis players supposedly being impossible. )
----The following interview with Helena Sukova was, as a matter of fact, the first we conducted together. At that time, I knew roughly the same about her and about the tennis world. Actually very little. Because of that, there are questions which could perhaps even appear trivial. They are, however, not as important as the answers. I took great pains to only minimally edit in spite of the fact that the interviews oftentimes kept digressing from the subject and in certain passages became somewhat awkward because they fully diverged from and returned to the original subject.
----Above all, I present this authentic form for that reason, that without a complex account it immediately draws nearer to some things all at once.
----First and foremost, there is a great deal about the interviewee herself, which means Helena Sukova. But what is important is that, somewhat without any fuss, it shows that which Helena concludes about her sport. And finally, at a minimum, she supplies those of us who are tennis amateurs a dependable work about the era and the world in which her story takes place.
---We started- how else?- with Wimbledon, from the end of it. The rest followed from the context.
Helena, above all it interests me: when did it cross your mind to enter the singles at Wimbledon this summer of 1998 and thus ruin my beautiful introduction to this book?
I'm sorry about the introduction but believe me, I didn't have any idea at all that my decision to take part in this summer's Wimbledon would have anything to do with your introduction. If I had known, believe me, I would have carefully thought it over.
Now the joke ends. Seriously, when did it cross your mind?
----It was totally random. They were playing some men's tournament maybe sometime in the spring. By chance I met your colleague Macka from Sport there. I respect that journalist because he always wrote knowledgeably and objectively. He wrote about me- whether I would change my mind, if I would once more for the last time try to play Wimbledon. I said, yeah, I would have to train, and it ended like that.
----But that idea really started growing in my head and I called my coach Jaromir Jirik, and he also thought it would be possible, but I would have to train. That resulted in me knowing, then, and without him, but I rather wondered if it didn't seem to him like total foolishness. For a few weeks we chatted about it here and there and then I said I would try it. We reached an agreement. Training went really well for me. We got into it quickly. We did everything, jogging, weight training, playing, everything. That amount was tough.
----It was really a new target, a new enthusiasm, so I tried hard to give it what I had. I had a good feeling, I believed in it. Previously, I had not stopped playing doubles in a German league, so that transition to hard training wasn't even so painful. The preparation was good. Everything was changing really fast. One week, it was horrible: I had quite a bit of fear that my back would slip, that my body wouldn't cope, but as soon as I started, it was promising. One match I played against Kleinova, I lost 2:0 in sets, then I brushed up for ten days and defeated her 2:0. It was simply a noticeable difference.
----I think that I was really well prepared. I believed in myself, that my return would be a success. The preparation was timed with Wimbledon.
Were many people around you surprised?
I didn't place much in those responses which resulted in skepticism. The people around me were predominantly pulling for me. It was also, ultimately, nice of you to call. Still, everyone was surprised.
So now describe for me how your perhaps truly final Wimbledon took place.
We arrived there on Sunday morning. I was arriving to play in the afternoon. We had to find where we were going to stay because we had decided late and our usual place was already taken.
----It was going well on the grass, I had a good feeling. I was convinced that I was as ready as ever. The desire for success was similar to the time when I still constantly had a huge belief that a great career was ahead of me.
----I didn't have to play the first match against the Swiss Patty Schnyder until Tuesday, so we rented bikes on Sunday morning, in the afternoon we did some training, in the evening we went to the cinema, the name of the movie was maybe The Big Levinsky or something like that, I've probably never seen a worse film.
----On Tuesday it rained, so in the morning I started hitting with [Lisa] Raymond indoors. Then Jara and I went to loosen up in the gym, which was next to the courts, and in the evening I prepared normally for the match.
----At the beginning, things worked out for me. I was playing well, focused, I approached the net a lot, I simply didn't give her any chances. I think that she had a fair amount of respect for me. I led 6-3, 3-0 and then while the score was 6-3, 3-1, and 30-0 on my serve it started to rain. The match was suspended, so we would finish playing the following day.
----On Wednesday morning it was nice and sunny. I went to warm up and nothing signaled that any problems would come about.
-----Except as soon as the match started again, it was different from the day before. My opponent started to play better and little by little, with my overconfidence, I lost. It didn't turn out as easily for me as the day before. A classic situation. Instead of playing my game, I started to think about what to do, which was when I panicked and Schnyder suddenly had an answer for all of my tricks.
----I didn't really give up, but rather all at once I lost confidence in myself. I think that the win was within my grasp. It was close the whole time. Then I lost my serve and my self-confidence crashed.
----So when she won the last point I went to the net. I don't even know if I said anything. On the way to the locker room I met Jara and there was great sadness. Despair coming from the fact that I lost the chances I had like a schoolgirl. A schoolgirl because having already experienced that situation so many times, when nothing goes right and a person doesn't know why, I didn't find a way to escape.
Were you still at that time on the computer?
For sure. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to play. But I had decided that after Wimbledon, I would ask to be removed from the WTA singles rankings.
Is there any ritual connected to it? After all it's almost like a person disappears from the list of the living.
Only if I would arrange that farewell ceremony myself. Nothing like that. I simply picked up the phone and dialed the number of the hotel where the vice president of the executive board Peachy Kellmeyer was staying. "Hi, I would like to be 'taken off' [written in English], which means taken off, the singles computer," I said briefly, and she answered without showing any kind of big surprise, "Okay, I'll arrange it."
Were you in a sentimental mood during that?
I don't know anymore. Maybe when she told me that she was very fond of me. I hadn't even had the slightest idea.
Let's leave that sadness and from the end now go straight to the beginning. Do you still fully remember your first Wimbledon?
Everyone definitely already knows the pictures from today, so to describe how it looks there doesn't maybe make any sense. But at the time when I went there for the first time, I had previously only seen it in postcards and nothing more. Because back then nothing much was shown on television in our home, tennis was more or less on the black list. I would say that in that regard it was a much worse situation than maybe even in the sixties, when my mom won, and then in the seventies, when, in the upshot of the successes of Kode, Hřebek and others, they still weren't connected with some political context, as it came to a head after Martina Navratilova's emigration.
----It was such a complicated time. I would say that in some totally illogical way they perhaps really thought they were above you, that when you didn't write about something in the news or broadcast it on our TV, that it didn't exist.
----I remember when in 1986 we played in the final of the US Open, our TV had a chance to get my final with Martina Navratilova and Mecir against Ivan Lendl from the Americans, but they didn't even show one ball because it would be a noticeably bad example that American Czechs defeated the representatives of socialist Czechoslovakia. So celebrating our tennis success didn't happen for viewers at home.
----Sometimes it even went into absurd situations from which the state remained understanding. Let's take when we played at home for the Federation Cup in 1986. Thanks to that, they completed the construction of the new Stvanicky compound more quickly. Just for the record, the manager of the investing organization, which back then did the construction, was in. [for someone with a Master's degree] Borivoj Kacena, who also to a great degree contributed as a sponsor representative for the existence of this book.
----Back then, the Federation Cup was really the first big tennis event in the new stadium. For that occasion, the publishing house Olympie published Kings and Princesses Around the Cup, really nice, decked out with color photographs.
----In order for the Federation Cup to be played in our country at all at that time, because such was the requirement of the International Tennis Federation, they had to agree that Martina Navratilova would come. I don't know in whose head that was born, but that somebody maybe thought that we would close the eyes of everyone in command and we wouldn't see her out of spite. After they prepared and printed that book, someone suddenly became stubborn and said that by no means could it go into distribution because there were pictures there of Navratilova. In any case, that book was withdrawn and everywhere Martina was, they edited her out, but because it was hasty and they couldn't produce enough so quickly, in the end it came out with the people all in black and white. I hid that book so many times as proof of the crazy era.
----Of course in those days, when I went to my first Wimbledon in '80, the situation was still different because in general there was terribly little information about the tennis world. Now when a person is a little bit of a fan, he can follow tennis from morning to night on all possible TV stations including broadcasts where they show our stop. Back then I knew, at least I have such a feeling, less about Wimbledon than I know today about life in the African bush. I don't know how to describe it exactly, but it was like when you know somehow a hazy silhouette, but what is inside stays absolutely hidden. Maybe that awful respect for Wimbledon came into existence already at that time and just on that account.
Related to that, I suppose, are the experiences of your mom...
Yeah, of course, because she got to the final and I couldn't not think about that, how and for which reasons she didn't win that final. Because for Mom it was really the biggest success and the biggest failure, she really paid such a price for her defeat in the final.
---But not just that. Perhaps already from childhood in the subconscious mind of every tennis player is the notion that Wimbledon is something more than a tournament. Wimbledon is a totally exceptional phenomenon; one could investigate why it's like that and where it came from. It could be the subject of a book. God only knows where that started or if it's from the especially refined power of the English to create legends and myths, although perhaps every nation knows something similar: the French have the Eiffel Tower, the Italians Ferrari, the Germans Wagner; simply those symbols around which the chest heaves with pride. The English have Wimbledon. That is passed onto you. Wimbledon is the biggest, the best, the most traditional and I don't know how it still...
----Already on that account you have great respect for it, greater reverence than for other tennis tournaments.
----In 1980 I went for the first time on the junior circuit. Anywhere I arrived for the first time, I remember that I always devoted two days to it so that I could go around everything, every court, every nook, and follow every player whom I had the chance to see. Even though there was a shred of respect in that, there wasn't any embarrassment. But with Wimbledon, like, I would walk on tiptoes. I looked around there with great respect...
----You know, it was almost such a feeling that you shouldn't be there, even that maybe an employee stood there and kept an eye out for if someone who didn't belong came, or didn't know how to behave himself, or...
----Look, when you start to travel to tournaments around the world, you're actually constantly entering a foreign environment where you don't know practically anyone, where no one knows you. Being alone by yourself is enough of a traumatizing experience. You must address unknown people. You're actually constantly in some sort of subordinate role. I think that with that, you're meeting most people as they're entering some place that's new for them.
----At Wimbledon you feel that kind of not belonging to its presence in that amazing world not twofold but tenfold. By God, what am I doing here? Do I belong here at all? Isn't it actually some mistake?
----I know that it seems weird, but I felt it at that time and really, that respect for Wimbledon, maybe even excessive, stayed in me for good.
Before you went there, they told you something at home about that famous Wimbledon, right?
That's not possible. When you go to Wimbledon for the first time, then maybe the family sits around the table and says, "Helena, this and that..."
I remember that in those days when Mom was alive, Dad- because he was an official of the tennis federation- always traveled to these tournaments, and it wasn't really quite feasible that after a return there would be such a conversation. But in the period when I started to travel, he finished with that. He didn't want it said that we were a touring family.
----At home, anyway, we preferred to make an effort to not talk much about tennis. At home it was more likely that we talked about normal things. From the beginning maybe a little only if my brother and I dragged it [the subject of tennis] in, but otherwise not much.
----Mom always tried not to exert any pressure on me. She never said to me, for example, that I must win. In these things she was actually really tolerant. Although the attempts were like when they wanted for me to play the piano. Maybe I didn't really like it on account of them forcing me.
----Being strict with me never paid off for her, and maybe our parents knew that. But returning to the question...
----I really don't remember any lessons before that first Wimbledon and frankly speaking, I also didn't ask too much.
Good, so you arrived there and how were the first impressions?
We were juniors, so we stayed at a university which was nearby. They were student dorms with a sink in the closet. Back then I was with Misa Pazderova. We traveled together most of the year and sometimes felt suffocated in such close quarters, so we sometimes even fought [had physical fights]. Today we both remember that with laughter.
----Otherwise, the Wimbledon regime was really strict. Eight in the morning off to breakfast until nine o'lock on the bus, and when you didn't catch it you were out of luck. You had to leave on that bus because there wouldn't be another until it came back again in the evening. Meanwhile, there wasn't any chance of getting out of there. So there was enough time to do some sightseeing and find out how it looked, but as I say, with great, great respect.
----Yeah, and then you go to start playing, shower, eat, and then wait for the match. Before a match you loosen up, maybe in the locker room, there are spectators everywhere and still you must scramble through somewhere.
----In those days I really stood on the Wimbledon lawns for the first time. It was different from what I'd expected. The grass there is really fine. Before that we'd trained in Nymburg, but the grass there was really different. It didn't bounce much, and so what a difference from Wimbledon- really low.
On which court did you start?
It was maybe present-day Court 15.
Was is just as you'd imagined there?
I don't know. I would probably say that I didn't expect anything.
But your mom perhaps at least intimated what awaited you...
It didn't even occur to me that I should ask about such things. And as I said, at home we didn't really talk about tennis excessively. It was just like that. My parents lived tennis from morning to night and from night to morning. All the time. But to still converse about tennis at home in front of us children, no.
I understand it as this: that to not talk at home about tennis was something similar to not bringing work home?
Maybe not even that. For how I had to play, how I had to train, there was enough time on the court. To explain at the dinner table how to hit an overhead smash is nonsense. That's training. And regarding what was happening outside the court, I think that our parents decided that for those questions I had enough time.
Your grandma Karolina claims, though, that you were a very curious child. You didn't ask questions?
I asked, but they told me to wait until I was older. For example, when Martina Navratilova emigrated, I was ten years old, so of course it really involved our parents. Mom as a coach and Father as an official. Of course, I already had knowledge that something significant was going on because not many commented on it in public, but there was a great deal of gossip. When I asked about it at home, they told me, "When you're older." So I really didn't know anything about Martina, I only suspected that my parents had some problems. Today I know well enough and I understand very well that they didn't want to speak in front of me about that.
Excuse me, but I don't understand very well how politics had a connection, because a lot has come out here mainly about politics with you going to your first Wimbledon, although not your parents in a manner of speaking packing for your trip and advising you what might come in handy...
Please, what could they tell me? How to behave myself? That I had to be healthy, eat with good manners... Which way the court was?
----It could make sense if Mom had been there with me. She was the best coach we had at that time. An outstanding psychologist. It would have been of great value for me and for my fellow players. And if you have in mind some warlike discussion before the trip to Wimbledon, that simply didn't happen because to philosophize in the living room about how it was going to be didn't make any sense. I wish I could confess I depended on it back then, that I advised myself alone. I was 15 years old and at that age I obviously thought, like every fifteen year-old, that I knew everything better. At home I namely argued about various things like every young person with her parents, but not until I was twenty did I wise up to the fact that there were so many things which I could still ask my mom, and I didn't do that. Really, in the time when she could have passed on to me all of her experiences, she wasn't around anymore. The last time she was with me was when I represented us at the Federation Cup in 1981 in Japan. She was sent there more or less as a reward, but that was already after the first operation. Mom had already gone through that horribly, already it was terribly difficult for her to conceal her nerves. Previously, at junior tournaments in this country, I usually travelled alone or with the parents of players who played doubles with me.
And what about your father?
That he could dedicate himself to my training? Surely, maybe until I was fifteen. Then it wasn't possible anymore because thanks to being the manager at the railway, Dad didn't have time, and I think that he didn't even want to because to cope with me was already a weight on him. Finally, it was already said everywhere that I had favoritism, even when I got a world ranking, so they said, "Who did he pay off? etc." Plenty of people supposed that it was possible to go to an umpire or maybe even an opponent and slip federation dollars in their pockets. Maybe in our country that works somewhere, even if I doubt it, but I understand completely that in that time a lot of people had their reasons for thinking that for every success there must be some kind of favoritism.
----But if it had never happened, that in those times I hadn't been on the court with Dad- of course we played the part, there were moments when we sometimes consulted each other about something.
Let's go back to that first Wimbledon. You were 15 years old, you spoke about the then great respect with which you arrived there. Did that have some impact on your game?
I think so. Maybe back then I wasn't aware of it too much, but definitely.
If I wrote that your Wimbledon "curse" started there, would it be true?
It would be wrong to say that. Although the first match with Kanellopoulous from Greece worked out for me. I won 6-2, 6-1. In the second match I met Patricia Hy from Hong Kong. I lost the first set 4-6, in the second I won 6-4, but in the third she thrashed me 1-6. All at once it actually came to me that I really didn't know what I had to do on that grass, how to play, if I had to stay back on the baseline or if I had to go to the net... At that time, after the victory over the Greek I said maybe it was going to work, but Hy already knew better how to play on the grass. In that match I was totally confused. Because of that, her game going well and mine not, I may have panicked a little.
----It's commonly said that on grass you have to approach the net. Maybe that changed a little when Agassi won Wimbledon playing entirely from the baseline. It's true, though, that before him maybe Connors, Borg and others played at the net also until they overindulged. My quest, though, was always to go to the net as soon as possible, not only on grass, maybe because I have a long reach and it was difficult to hit past me. And mainly it was never much fun for me to hit around from the baseline.
----On the grass you don't have much time to think or hesitate about how to play. There isn't as much time as there is on clay, where the majority of the bounces are the same. In addition, the adult [non-junior] tournament starts on the grass at Wimbledon. It's even quite pretty, but the juniors don't start until the second week when the grass is already worn down, and in some places you don't even know where the ball is going to skid off to.
----So viewed psychologically, when you miss a ball, you have enough reasons to say that in spirit you can't do it because a surface is really playing against you, but at the same time you get angry. Your opponent, though, is in the same situation, but in that moment you don't consider that. I like when things appear as I planned them. God only knows if later, somewhere in the subconscious, that Wimbledon grass didn't seem like a terrain I didn't like.
Were you thinking about your mom's loss in the Wimbledon final in the process?
Maybe not until later, but never while I was playing.
----No one ever knows everything you have inserted in your head from childhood. Possibly that respect and my terrible desire for success there could have by themselves played a role, and all of that could somehow be connected to Mom. When one says Vera Sukova, in one breath it's immediately completed with: participant in the Wimbledon final in 1962.
----Mom was only one small step from victory. That Karen Susman beat her in the end, it was also caused by the fact that Mom was injured. The circumstances of her getting injured were so absurd that it seemed as if it had to be the doing of some kind of evil demon.
----The day before the final match, after she beat Bueno, whose odds were 10:1 against Mom, reporters arrived for her in the hotel. One of them proposed to her that it would be amazing to take a photograph as she slid down the handrail of the staircase. She started to go absolutely crazy during that whole mishap because someone disclosed about Mom that she washed her underwear and shirts herself. Which was apparently then such an unusual thing that it evoked the interest of the media. A mob of reporters burst into the hotel and one of them... But I already said that. Maybe if nothing had happened, if that demand hadn't formed the words: Could you deal with that? And Mom, maybe still in that euphoria from the previous victory, maybe because of that doubt whether such a thing could be managed.... She simply jumped to that handrail, slid down it, stumbled down to the carpet and that was it. An injured right ankle, pain, and even still she led in the first set of the match 3-0. One careless stroke was enough and then it was already decided.
----Mom, though she didn't make a science of that Wimbledon defeat, clearly thought that not all of her days were over. But that handrail, as was shown in the end, prepared Mom for the peak of her career, and she didn't get such chances from that time on.
----Such a thing always brings about various if onlys and what ifs. In any case, it was some kind of fatal injustice, and so many people perceived that; ultimately even me, because generally when I think that something unjust is going on, I have an inclination to endeavor to correct it. If I said that in me now was a terrible desire to avenge injustice recently, I wouldn't be so certain. Maybe that was there somewhere inside. Let's say that I wanted to show, even if maybe it sounds terribly noble, but I sincerely think that the name Sukova would be linked to a Wimbledon success again. Except the more and more you want...
Did something from that very beginning somehow develop your relationship with Wimbledon?
I would say that tournament by tournament, that desire to win Wimbledon was greater and greater. It was almost an obsession. Of course, as the summers left, changed, I would say also the intensity of that feeling, that it must finally work out somehow. Okay, this year it didn't work out, so next year. Except every new failure is in that next tournament like a rock on the foot. When it happens, then, to you so many times, with time you already start to doubt whether there isn't something in that curse. But the desire for that victory doesn't diminish; rather, the opposite. So for me Wimbledon stayed at the top of my efforts. When it doesn't go your way one year, two, three, and again and again, more and more you start to lack confidence in victory, even if that desire is always similarly intense. But without belief that doesn't work.
One minute, please. As far as I know there was a summer when you were in great form. Everything was fine. I would say that if there weren't reasons for a lack of belief in such a case...
Look. In 1987 I won the tournament in Eastbourne, which precedes Wimbledon and is some kind of dress rehearsal for it. I really felt that everything was going well because I defeated Chris Evert in the semifinals there 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 and Martina Navratilova in the final 7-6 and 6-3. The journalists promptly started to talk about Mom, who precisely twenty-five years prior was in the Wimbledon final. It would be extraordinary if I won Wimbledon in those circumstances.
----I was in fantastic form. In the first round I defeated Britain's Louis 6-1, 6-4; in the second the American White 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; and on the way to the quarterfinals I was up against the Italian Reggi. She had previously beaten me at Roland Garros, but I simply knew that I would get her, and she also left the court, with a 6-0, 6-0 defeat. She didn't even win a game, a performance from me which, until then, I had never had against someone at Wimbledon.
----In the quarterfinals I went up against Pam Shriver feeling absolutely at ease. I believed that I would move on even if Pam, as was her custom, put on her usual act that is capable of bowling over the whole world. I had a match point in the fourteenth game of the third set. I lost it and with it the whole match.
----In the two preceding years I had been in the quarterfinals and now I was finished there again. The next year as well. That already thoroughly shakes your belief and you really start to think what is it? It appears almost incomprehensible, especially taking into consideration that in that same tournament, I'm speaking about 1987, I won the doubles final with Claudia Kohde. So the duke with the duchess presented us with the doubles cup. I could be glad about all that, which I was, but still it was only doubles. Unfortunately, the next year my Wimbledon participation ended again in the quarterfinals. I really think that at that time, even if I never reflected on it back then, my dream about Wimbledon slowly started to vanish.
Does that mean that when you were going to Wimbledon after that, you were already fearful that it would again end badly?
It's not as simple as that. A person would have to sit at home and rather not go on court at all. You must have belief in yourself. The problem is generally also restraining oneself because that belief is really tested in every second of a match.
----When I believe that my match is going to be a success, I feel such strength that in spite of whatever might happen I will manage to achieve my objective. In short, you have certainty that you need to get a first serve, and you know exactly where and really hit it there. That inner confidence is transferred to the match and it really works.
----Of course not by itself or automatically. Before every point you change your mind about where to serve, how hard to hit it, which spin to use. You think it over in your head. Unfortunately, it happened to me a lot, way too often when the stakes were high, that my confidence, that rock-solid certainty, left. It really crashed as I started to think too much about how to play a ball and where instead of continuing to play as before. Because in normal circumstances the person in front "knows" before playing his stroke where the ball is going to drop.
----Understand, you say to yourself- play great, everything will work out just as I want, and bang. I guess psychologists speak of that as frustration, which is stronger the greater the preceding expectations. And how you start to doubt, so already that doubt isn't so defined or you don't give it your empty strength as you would otherwise. It's recalculated and so you start to put a little bit less or a little more of something into your game, and it's not the same anymore. And then you start to think how to play at all, panic sets in...
----The coach tells you, don't make it up, do what we planned, but you, the devil knows why, already can't return to how you played before.
----It can happen to you that you're succeeding, that you get back into it and you start to believe again. A classic example was Korda this year (1998) at the tournament in Monte Carlo in the quarterfinals against the Dutchman of Czech origin Richard Krajicek. Petr knew that he could become the top player in the world, but at the moment he was behind 6-4, 4-3, "he stiffened up" [used up his energy reserves]. Still, though, it was enough to be leading 5-4 and even 30-15 on his opponent's serve, but then he really didn't even win a point. And I say that it's impossible to fault him because I've experienced it myself a million times already. My coach Jara Jirik, who has experience in other sports, is totally teed off from that. He says that tennis players are "impossible" when they have these problems.
How did he think that- impossible?
He's actually right. If in fact tennis players had the chance to try out other sports where doubts or hesitation have fatal consequences, maybe then they would be able to cope with calmness, and effortlessly. It's even for them seemingly "the most threatening" situation.
----Look. For example in gymnastics, if you hesitate during a somersault, you'd fall on your head, so you could kill yourself or at least end all chances of success. On a motorcycle you pause and that's the end of you. In tennis there isn't actually anything similar, so there you actually hesitate, but at the same time unless there's a match point, it's like nothing happened. You may not lose. Tennis is really a terrible sport in that it constantly gives you chances and then space for carelessness because you can always tell yourself, "Another game or set and I'll lead again." During a match you always move between skepticism and hope. You scold yourself, but at the same time you constantly have a reason to wish that your flaw will correct itself. On the uneven bars it's fast- crash down and it's the end. Fall off a motorbike and everything is clear. Not in tennis. Tennis is primarily about skills failing and getting up again and mainly incessantly restoring confidence in yourself since getting back up is worth it, since you can turn around that game, set, or match. You must have a temperament for that. I'm not sure if I've always been like that. I think not. When you then play a tournament like Wimbledon and when you have such a relationship with it as I had, then every single mistake grows in terrible proportion. I think that I didn't win Wimbledon just on that account, that I wanted it so badly.
If I were now strictly logical, I would then be able to state that the women who won Wimbledon didn't pine for it as intensively as you...
I wouldn't say that. I don't know if that precisely formulates proof, but every athlete is a figure who is composed of a certain disposition or, if you like, attribute. In that, which kinds of attributes there are, it plays a huge role in a number of circumstances. In someone it's this, in someone it's that. And in the same way, if you could create some ideal tennis player, nowhere is it written that everything that's ideal would work just perfectly in the most necessary moments. It depends on the era he plays in, who his opponent is, what control (over which he doesn't decide) he has. I've thought about that a lot, but I wouldn't want to consider myself as a body on the autopsy table. Because there doesn't even exist a criterion according to which you could assemble an ideal tennis player. It doesn't work to say ease up here, speed up here, and everything would be different. If it were like that, it would be a champion...
Last edited by Grafiati; Mar 6th, 2016 at 05:07 PM.