I am so excited!! Can't you tell?
I'm so happy for him, Sue.
D Sela - 26 June 2009
Q. Is this the biggest win of your career?
DUDI SELA: I think it's my biggest win except Davis Cup. I beat Andreas Vinciguerra to go to the tour. It's my biggest win, of course to be in the fourth round in a Grand Slam. In Australia I was in the third round. So I'm very happy to be in the fourth round.
Q. Being the first Israeli in 20 years to reach the fourth round here, what does that mean to you and what do you think it means back home?
DUDI SELA: It's very special for me, of course. Back home I think for a long time people were waiting for someone, for a man, to be in the fourth round or in the quarterfinal. I'm very happy that I'm in the fourth round. We had Shahar Peer, she was in the quarterfinal in the doubles of a Grand Slam, so finally there is someone in the men's singles.
Q. Can you just talk a little bit about your background, how you came onto the tour and your early development as a player?
DUDI SELA: I started in a small city, in Kyrad Shmona. It's in the very north of Israel. And I was one of the best in Israel.
When I was 14, no 15, I moved to an academy in Austria practicing with Gunter Bresnik. And then I was there a few years. And then after that I was in an academy in France, in Mouratoglou Academy. And then back to Israel. My best tennis I played was when I was in Israel. That's it.
Q. Are you surprised that your first four rounds in a Slam were here in Wimbledon on grass?
DUDI SELA: Yeah, I mean, on the grass it's a lot about the draw, you know? If you play a big server like Karlovic or guys like that, it's very difficult to beat them on the grass.
In Israel we have only hard courts, so I was expecting more to do better, like to do better on the hard courts than on grass or clay. But any Grand Slam fourth round, it's good, I think.
Q. Are there any advantages to being a little bit smaller on grass versus hard court or clay that you can say at this point?
DUDI SELA: The ball is bouncing lower on the grass, so maybe I'm in a better position than other players. But I'm not sure. I think to be taller it's better on grass because you can serve better and cover the net better. But maybe movement is better on the grass.
Q. But maybe guys are coming into the net less now so that's less of an advantage?
DUDI SELA: Exactly. I think so.
Q. What do you have to do to continue success against Djokovic now in the next round?
DUDI SELA: Djokovic is different player. He's No. 4 in the world. He's won a Grand Slam. He's a very experienced player. But I'm going to give my best, play hopefully the same tennis as I played until now, until this round, and that's it.
Q. Did you ever watch Amos Mansdorf play as a kid, or were you too young?
DUDI SELA: Of course. He was with me. He was working with me sometimes. This year he came back to work with all of us in the Federation. Also I was watching him when he was playing, also after, like tapes. We have, I think, a similar game. He was also very good on grass. He last week gave me a lot of tips.
Q. In which way did it help you?
DUDI SELA: Take the ball early, come in more. I think I came in today a lot to the net, and that's the key why I won today.
Q. Just one more about your height. You're listed as 5'9" in the guide book. Are you really 5'9"?
DUDI SELA: 174. I don't know how much is that.
Q. Who else were sort of your idols growing up coming from a country that didn't have a lot of tennis stars?
DUDI SELA: Well, men any Mansdorf. When my brother was playing he was 200th. So when he was playing I was admiring him. But now I say that he was not as good (laughter). But mostly my brother and Mansdorf. I liked Krajicek, also.
Q. How big will this be in Israel back home? Have you gotten a lot of feedback from how you're getting on this week?
DUDI SELA: I think it's going to be nice. You know, we have Davis Cup next week, also, after Wimbledon. So I hope people saw on TV these few matches that I played. Not all the tickets sold out for the Davis Cup, so hopefully now people will want to come watch more tennis.
Q. It's a competing story because Casspi was chosen in the draft, so that's two big stories in one day. Do you think you're bigger than him or smaller?
DUDI SELA: (Laughs.)
Q. Today's match, you obviously went into it with a game plan. I think you said you were going to the net as much as possible, also. How do you think it panned out overall? Did it work?
DUDI SELA: I think the first two sets I played good also from the baseline. In the third set he started very aggressive and broke me in the first set and started serving better, I think. In the fourth set I said that I have to play much more aggressive and try to come in and shorten the points, and I think that's why I won. I mean, he played better, I think, when the match got in the third and fourth rounds ‑‑ in the third and fourth sets. I had to come in and try on his backhand and close the net.
Q. In between the third and fourth set you went out. What was that about?
DUDI SELA: The truth I tell you? It's because I gave a racquet for the stringer and it didn't come, so I wanted to take some time until the racquet comes and also think what went wrong in the third set.
Q. There was one time where you threw your racquet there in the fourth set, where you went down a break. Can you sort of explain the momentum shifts there between the third and fourth set? You won the last four games then.
DUDI SELA: I mean, I was always asking the referee how long it's going to take for the racquet to string. Normally it's 20, 30 minutes, and it was already one and a half sets that the racquet didn't ‑‑ you know, didn't come back.
So I was very pissed, and I told the referee to call again, and he called and they said it's ready. And then the next change over I asked what's going on, and he said it's ready, it's on the way. So that's why I got very pissed, not about anything else.
Q. How were you feeling regarding a fifth set?
DUDI SELA: I'm in good shape, I think. He played much more tennis ‑‑
Q. But the momentum would have been with him?
DUDI SELA: Maybe, but I think his last match he played also five sets and the match before was playing also very tough fourth set. So I think I was more fit than him in the fifth set, even though he played better in the third and fourth sets. I don't know how it was going to go.
Q. The atmosphere in the match was one like a Davis Cup type for the fans. Did this they come through for you at times? Did they help to spur you on?
DUDI SELA: Yeah, it was very nice. It's nice to see a lot of Israelis, a lot of Jewish, also, people here supporting me.
Q. Do you focus on the support or do you block it out?
DUDI SELA: No, I like to play when there is a lot of support, especially supporting me, not the other player, yeah. It's good. I'm playing much better when there is a lot of people.
Q. Are you the king of Israel, or is it David? I didn't get that straight.
DUDI SELA: David, David.
Q. We were both listening and trying to hear, were they saying, "Dudi, king of Israel"?
DUDI SELA: Yeah.
Q. And "Dudi, he is soul," right?
DUDI SELA: Exactly.
Q. Did you know that the chair umpire's name is Mohamed?
DUDI SELA: Yes, of course, I know, Swedish.
Q. I thought it was rather interesting when Mohamed held up his hand, the Israelis quieted, but that's another story. When he quieted them, it did seem to have an effect. I mean, that's when Robredo started to come back ‑‑
DUDI SELA: No, I don't think so. I didn't play that well in the third set.
Q. You don't think it had an effect ‑‑ it didn't hurt you?
DUDI SELA: No, no. Mohamed is great.
Q. What's the plan for the weekend, though, because you've got two days without a match.
DUDI SELA: I'm going to practice tomorrow for a little bit, massage and stretching, and then on Sunday practice a little bit harder and maybe play a set with another player. That's it.
Q. Will you do anything to kind of relax this weekend?
DUDI SELA: I'm going to go out at 6:00 in the morning for sure ‑‑ no, nothing. We're going to have a beer, and that's it.
Q. You mentioned Shahar Peer earlier. Can you explain sort of why Israel is now having good players, both men and women all of a sudden, and do you see other good young Israeli players coming up sort of behind you?
DUDI SELA: No, there is really no good players coming up behind me and Shahar. There is one good girl and one boy, but they are very young. All the men, Mansdorf and Glickstein and all the people don't work anymore in the tennis, so we don't have a good knowledge.
I was traveling a lot, so I went to academies in French and in Austria. I think it's ‑‑ now it's not the best programs in Israel. Hopefully in a few years it will be better.