There was a report with some pictures in a newspaper of Halle last week. I thought to translate the article. Unfortunately my scanner doesn't work at the moment, so I can't post the original article in here.
A walk through Halle
Tennisprofessional Marco Chiudinelli introduces his second home
By Stefan Arend
Gerry Weber Open 2004, Court #2: Marco Chiudinelli wins his first ever main tournament match at an ATP tournament. Yesterday the circle closed at the same place. The Swiss from the Halle Breakpointbase reached with a 6:3 2:6 6:3 victory against Olivier Rochus the second round.
There are 6 years between these both matches in which the righthander had to fought for his career – handicapped by bad injuries and long compulsory breaks. In 2009 the 28years old got rewarded. His move from place #603 in the rankings to #56 was declared the „Comeback of the year“ by the other players on the tour. „I don’t look back with bad thoughts. I see everything positive, as a victory. I’m very proud of it that I managed it.“
Marco Chiudinelli is practicing since 9 years in Halle. He shows the WESTFALEN-BLATT the places in his second home with which he connects special memories.
Last year I counted that I was here 54 days. Since 9 years I arrive most of the time by train. I know the line Basel-Halle by heart. When I hear after 7 hours the announcement „Next station Künsebeck“ I’m nearly at the destination.
I was totally surprised how many sorts of ice-cream you get at the icecafé at the station. We don’t have that kind of Italian icecream in Switzerland. I only knew it before from Rome or Regensburg.
Halle feels a little bit like home. I’m familiar with the surrounding, I like the people, eat at Michele or in the tavern and just enjoy it to chat with people as Halles Coach Thomas Dappers. Fitnesscoach Marc Charles has become a good friend. When I visit him in Bielefeld we play at the computer or go to the cinema.
Life in the hotel
With tournaments I connect hotels. I wouldn’t be 100% prepared for a tournament if I would stay anywhere else. I have a little appartment here in Halle on the trainingsground, but on Monday I moved into the hotel. Above all I sleep in the hotel and relax before a match or during the practice sessions. Music is very important for this. I always have my own headphones with me. In Australia they got stolen and I immediately bought new ones. Very often I connect a certain CD with a tournament. In my suitcase I also have a laptop and a book, but I can’t use either one of it before a match. It would be quite dangerous to read a thrilling book and get distracted by the story. Here in Halle I have a crime thriller by Stieg Larsson with me.
The locker room
People surely conceive the locker room differently from how it actually is. Before the matches the players usually are in the players lounge. The locker room in Halle is very spartan furnished: Benches and a lounger, that’s all. You do some warm-up exercises here and then you get called for your match. You don’t actually talk with your opponent, but on the other side there’s really no bad blood or mind games. I personally like to be alone in the last half hour before a match.
At some tournaments the players spend more times at the locker room. I like the one in Melbourne. It’s narrow there, but Germans, Austrians and Swiss all sit together in one corner and there’s always a lot to talk about.
The way into the stadium
In Halle I only played two times in the stadium. I didn’t have special thoughts when I went in. The way into there is really short. You are going down a stairs and then it’s only 10 metres to the Centre Court. In this moment you get a little bit more nervous. At the big tournaments I for 99% only play on the main courts when my opponent is a star. He and not me gets acclaimed by the fans when we enter the court – probably only except in my home town Basel or maybe in Gstaad.
In 2004 I played in Halle my first main tournament match in an ATP tournament. That was crazy. I lost in the qualy against Michel Krachtovil, but managed to reach the main draw as a lucky loser. I had to play against Krachtovil again and this time I won 6:2 6:2. The difference between these two matches was like day and night. You never forget something like this. Beside this I remember results very well. My friends call me „the Statistician.“
When I go back home there are about 20 requests for autographs. When I play bad there are fewer ones. After the tournament in Basel, where I lost to Roger Federer in the SF, there have been more requests. I always send back autographs. When I for example get a self painted picture by a 6 years old child I also write some personal words.
I usually never get addressed on the street by people either here or in Switzerland.
In the shadow of Federer
In every interview of mine Roger Federer also gets mentioned. I’m glad that I’m as #61 of the ranking not the #1 in Switzerland. Then only a few people would be interested in tennis.
During our youth Roger and me still got compared. Meanwhile everyone knows that it is nearly impossible to be as good as him. It’s an advantage for me to be a friend of Roger. He is the one who knows the most about tennis. And it is really pleasant to ask the best player in the world for an advice.
Article from the printed WESTFALEN-BLATT, 9th June, 2010