Re: Alex in 2005
Alex Corretja, Catalanian cream
INTERCLUBS LNA - Twice runner-up at the FO (1998 & 2001), Alex Corretja did go really down in the ATP ranking, being today on the 227th place. his passion for tennis prevents him from retiring. So he tries to come back, with his family's support.
His smile, his kindness and his fair-play are more well-known in the world than his forehand. Alex Corretja, he is the gentleman from the little yellow ball, a sweet player. From his native Catalunya, he keeps the heat, the generousness, the claycourt love but also the will to fight and come back.
Last years haven't been as he expected. Injuries, falling down in the rankings, this Alex Corretja isn't the one of the end of the 90's. Clever and realistic, he knows it better than anyone. But he also knows that, until he definitively retires, he stays a particular tennisman.
At the moment, he isn't in the draws of the majors tournaments of the Tour, nor of the minors ones. These days, Alex Corretja is helping the Tenni Club Stade-Lausanne, during the Men First Division Interclubs. It is at least, what everybody is believing. Because, when talking with the right-handed Catalan, we become aware that it is the Lausannes' Club that's giving a hand to him...
- Alex, how do you feel?
- Physically I feel good even if I feel a lack of competition. A few months ago I wasn't even training myself. I didn't have anything left from a tennisman. Today I am on the second step of my come-back's attempt, as I like to call it. The first one was coming back to the training, the second is coming back to competition. Mentally I am feeling good too, even if I had rather wanted that my 2 first Interclubs matches ended with a victory. But I was aware of what I could expect; what's happening is totally normal. The main thing is that I am in a constent progression.
- When it has been announced that Alex Corretja was coming to reinforce the TC Stade-Lausanne, we first thought that it was a joke. How come you did land on the Lake Geneva's side?
- Grégory Chambaz, who plays in the Lausanne's Club, was training with me in Barcelona. It's him who told me about these Interclubs. I did say a word to my trainer, who thought it would be perfect as a first contact with competition. Grégory didn't stop of encouraging me on the conditions, the place and... here I am! I didn't know what to expect but when I arrived here I said a relieving "phew", everything is perfect! The hotel on the lake's side is wonderful for my little family, the familial ambiance in the club is incredible and the competition offers me the matches that I need.
- Some have been surprised to see you losing...
- That's normal but I wasn't surprised at all. Simply disappointed not having brought 2 more points to the club that welcomed me so well. You know, if I had won my first match 6-2 6-2, then I would have been surprised. I play at 100%. I have played in a complete honesty. My actual level, it is this one that I am playing now. I am still very far from the player that I have been. I have to be patient. The way that I have chosen is long and hard. My matches are still unconstant; but the good players, they are constant, what I am not at the moment (laughs)!
- Don't these kinds of Interclubs exist in Spain?
- Yes but well, not really. In Spain, the Interclubs are on 3 days in November, that's all! I find your way of doing really excellent. The Interclubs allow the young players to know the real matches conditions with a real pressure. They learn to win for themselves, but also for their club. And I have also been impressed by the good level of play.
- During these last hard years, did you think about the after-tennis?- Never! I confess that I have some problems imaginating me doing something else than tennis. It's true that with the birth of my 2 daughters (Aroa, 2 years old and Carla, 2 months old) I have been a daddy at 100% for a few weeks. But since I didn't retire, I stay a tennisplayer. A tennisplayer lookinf for the level of play he had before, sure, but a tennisplayer even thoug.
- A level of play that you hope to have again?
- No, I am realistic! From the age of 10, I had only one dream: to become a champion. From that moment on, my whole life has been organised around this goal. My way was traced, it was up to me to do the efforts needed to follow it. It's only know that I have some problems that I am aware I have been lucky: before, all seemed easy to me! I think I reached my best in 1998 and 1999. I had the chance to come in front of the scene and to make my dream come true. Today I am just curious what's the best level of the actual Alex Corretja.
- And that's why you decided to come back step by step...
- Exactly. You know, I still have the chance and the honour that some tournies directors - as the one in Gstaad, which is still my fave tournament - keep offering me WCs considering my actual level of play. Obviously I would dream of playing on Gstaad's claycourt, breathing the fresh air of the mountains, seeing again these people who treated me like a son and sleeping in a wonderful hotel. But I had to call back the Hermenjats to refuse their offer: it wouldn't be correct to take part into the tournament when I am only the shadow of the one I used to be. Being invited to be defeated in the first round without having won a single game, no, thanks!
- And when you don't play, when you're thinking, do you watch tennis on television?
- Sometimes yes, but I'm not focused in it. It's gooing to astonish you but I think there are too many tennis matches on tv. Years ago, there were only 10 or 15 players able to win a final. There were always Edberg, Lendl, Wilander... Today, the watcher is losing himself. There are at least 100 players able to win an ATP tournament, even if there are less that are able to win a Grand Slam. But, in my opinion, the point where the tv goes right to the wall, is that it shows only the matches. And what's interesting there isn't this point but the backstages: players in the plane, in the locker room, eating, playing billard or simply joking between each other. That's what is really nice...
- What is planned in your short future?
- A good massage and a family meal! (Lauhgs) Seiriously, I am staying in Switzerland 'til Wednesday I think and then, I will go back home to analyse all this. To come back, you must give you the time for it.
Roger "15 Grand Slams" Federer
Novak Djokovic | Lleyton Hewitt | Fernando Verdasco
Seat #3 on The Federer Express