Article published this year, i found it quite nice ...
Opening Up: Tommy Robredo comes into his own
The defending Hamburg champion talks about learning to be comfortable in the spotlight and breaks down the grind and glamor of the pro tour.
By Sebastián Fest
Tommy Robredo, who leapt into the top 10 following his victory in Hamburg last year, is trying to let fans get a closer look at his life these days.
Quick – who’s the lowest-profile member of the top 10? All right, Nikolay Davydenko wins hands down – he’s perhaps the most unknown number three in tennis history. But second place, surely, goes to Tommy Robredo.
The world No. 7 is gifted, technically sound, and has looks that make ‘Hilfiger’ seem a more appropriate last name than ‘Robredo.' And yet, he’s not a big star.
Neither does he want to be. “I'm a very discreet person,” he said in an interview in Spanish. “I don't care how much is being talked about me, this is something for the press. Until a year ago I didn't want to know too much about the media. I understood that you have to, but I didn't like it, I'm shy.”
“What you want is not to be in front of a camera. What I like and what I know is to play tennis. The other things are part of a world I hadn’t figured out how to handle.”
Being part of the elite eight at the Masters Cup last season, however, changed his outlook a little. “I was in Shanghai and I met fans giving gifts to me, wanting photos, a smile,” he said. “Then you realize that maybe it’s worth it to spend some more time with the press, to develop my new website, so my fans are happy.”
Robredo is clear-sighted and understands that the lifestyle of a tennis pro is a little unreal and hard for outsiders to fully comprehend.
“People tell you what a fantastic life you have, traveling all around the world,” he said. “‘It’s so nice to travel so much!’ they say. Yes, it’s very nice to travel, if you’re [on vacation and] enjoying with three friends. If you have to be at a hotel, go training next morning, come back at nine to sleep, and the same the next day – it’s not vacation.”
Still, he acknowledges that there are perks to the profession. Does he enjoy the glamorous – or should we now say ‘Sonyericssonian’? – elements that come with it? “Okay, logically – I'm 24 years old,” he said. “I'm young, we are young. Thanks to God, we are in a very well paid sport. And what does a 24-year-old do? Will he buy a normal car? No, if you have some extra bucks, you buy one you like.”
But it’s not cars that Robredo likes to drive for leisure. One of his biggest passions is riding a quad motobike into the mountains to get away from it all. “I like it, I like the nature, the fresh air, the sun,” he said.
And here’s something to make tournament directors frown a little – he also does jumps with the bike. Doesn’t he worry he might get injured? “Could be, but no club pays me – I get my salary from Tommy Robredo,” he said. “So, I do what I want. I try to be careful, but when I take the motorbike and go to the mountains I forget everything; my mind gets empty, free. Just a week and I'm ready again to play“.
Robredo is trading backhands both on and off the court during a tulmultous time in men's tennis.
While he may be shy with the press, Robredo says he isn’t shy when it comes to the social scene. He’s currently single – his most well-known past relationship was with WTA player Gisela Dulko, who is now dating Fernando Gonzalez. “The girlfriend issue... Everyone takes what he wants, and if you find a good-looking girl, you like her and she likes you, so you take her!” he said. “Maybe for other guys she's not so good-looking, but for you is a beauty... At the end of the day, good-looking, ugly, average – it’s the girl you like.”
Robredo also hasn't shied away from getting involved in the sport’s politics. He was one of 65 players who signed a letter complaining about some of the plans ATP chief Etienne De Villiers has developed for men's tennis. While several players have made their concerns public over the last month, Robredo’s scathing criticisms of the sport’s leadership have been perhaps the harshest of all, much to the displeasure of ATP officials.
Still, don’t call him a “taliban” – a Spanish expression meaning inflexible and unyielding. He softens his words when considering the issue from a broad perspective. “I can't say if De Villiers is making a mistake, it depends on how you look at it,” he explained. “It's bad for the Spanish and Latin players, but he is coming from a business world, he knows what tennis needs to keep on growing.”
But he doesn’t worry that the ATP is no longer strictly a players’ union. Its board consists of three player representatives, three tournament representatives, and the chief executive.
“Tennis is players and tournaments, not just players,” Robredo points out.
“Just imagine,” he added, “If we controlled the ATP we would be asking for a free 24-hour sushi bar, lobster, a great chef, eight masseurs waiting for us... To demand is easy, we wouldn't put limits on ourselves. Everyone would ask for an Aston Martin to take for a ride.
“You always need a balance, and I think that there is a balance now in ATP, but everyone will not always like every decision.”