Re: Gaston News & Articles
It's no problem I will paste it here in full.
INTERVIEW FROM TENNIS MAGAZINE (SEPTEMBER 04)
You can find the original interview in the Tennis Magazine from September .
“For me Roland Garros has been kind of an earthquake”
The latest Roland Garros final, of course you remember. But the name of the winner? Those who keep on thinking that Guillermo Coria is the one who has lifted up the “Coupe des Mousquetaires” must still be numerous, as he had so outrageously dominated the match, before letting it go away, in spite of an advantage of two sets and later on of two match points.
Knocked over by cramps Coria finally fell down in front of the most unawaited winner of the French Open. Aged 25, his compatriot, unseeded Gaston Gaudio spectacularly entered the world tennis bigwigs, among whom nobody, not even him, would have pictured him before. But after a couple of years on the ATP circuit, during which he had won two tournaments and had reached number 23 on March 2003, the player from Buenos Aires has turned into a great champion under the Parisian blue skies. In this interview he has given us right at the beginning of the US Open, in which he would be defeated by Thomas Johanson in his 2nd round match, Gaudio comes back over his fabulous two weeks there and relates the highlights of his career, which had begun after his father’s life had been threatened by a heart attack when he was 15. He also points out his ambitions, on top of which he puts a victory in Davis Cup. Yes indeed, the French Open winner, that’s him, Gaston Gaudio!
Tennis Magazine: The US Open is about to begin but Argentina can’t still come over its 2 gold medals in the Olympic Games, in soccer and in basketball. How have you lived those 2 historical victories?
Gaston Gaudio: In front of my tv screen here in the US. And I was undoubtedly as excited about it as the whole country. I was happy for them as much as for me, you know I’m Argentinean so (smile). Watching them defeat the American “dream team” in semi, it was how can I say...unbelievable! Maybe you don’t know this but Argentina had not won any single olympic medal for 52 years. So the whole country went into the streets to celebrate it. A few weeks before the beginning of the Olympic Games, people were speculating a lot about which sport would bring medals and tennis was thought to be the one which could bring gold. But unfortunately Coria, Nalbandian and me have been forced to withdraw because of serious injuries. Good thing that others have contributed to help forget about the disappointment we had caused.(smile)
TM: How did your country live and welcome your triumph in Roland Garros?
GG: It’s been incredible.When I arrived at the airport in BA there were hundreds of people waiting for me. But the only ones I wanted to see were my family and girlfriend. I had not seen them for 2 months. Anyway I took part to a press conference before attending to a bunch of tv shows on the following day. And then I said stop, after 48 hours. It was too much for me. I withdrew at home, doing nothing at all- at least some party though- and I slept for a couple of days coz I was dead tired (smile).
TM: 3 months after your exploit, is it still so difficult for you to believe you’ve won RG?
GG: it is indeed (smile). But I’m getting used to the idea that I’ve actually won RG. You must know that I’ve always dreamt of winning in Paris since the very first day I touched a racket. I’ve anticipated the match point so much for all these years that living it for real has been like an earthquake for me. But now, when I come back home, I can see the trophy and touch it. My dream’s really become true (smile).
TM: And where is it?
GG: In my bedroom where I’ve also hanged up a photograph of me kissing it, an incredible moment. I’ve wanted to keep it as close to me as possible. RG was the dream of my life. At night, when I go to bed and when I watch the trophy, I can still feel happiness all through my body.
TM: During the press conference after the final you had wondered if your life would change. What is your answer to this question 3 months later?
GG: It hasn’t changed. Actually, I’m very often asked about this since RG. But there had been no upheaval in my life, except that people recognize me more often in the streets in BA. Apart from that, I keep on seeing the same people, with the same rythm of life. All that is related to my private life has remained unchanged. And on the circuit, though I’m more sollicited now, it is still very reasonable.
TM: Have you had the opportunity so far to watch this incredible final against Coria?
GG:I haven’t seen the whole match, only a few parts, the last 2 sets mostly. Actually the nicest parts (smile).
TM: When you watched your final what struck you most?
GG: How I saved the 2 match balls. Watching those 2 points, quietly sitting on my sofa, made me almost feel every single emotion running through my body at that time. And I really wonder how I didn’t make any fault. I’m not saying it was a matter of life and death, but I think it would have been too tough for me if I had not won those 2 points. Yeah, it would have been real tough. No, how I put the ball in in spite of all the tension I was feeling, it’s a real mystery.
TM: The final had begun like a nightmare for you. You were led by 6/0 5/1. There was only one man on the Center Court: Guillermo Coria.
GG: I was so nervous at the beginning of the match. Even before in the lockerrooms. I had withdrawn there with a friend of mine and John McEnroe passed by. I turned to him and asked if it was normal to be so tense when you play a Grand Slam final. He answered me “think of those who went to Irak and compare their restlessness to yours”. He repeated I was not there to suffer but to make the most of the moment, of this unique opportunity.It comforted me for a few minutes but when I got onto the court my anguish came back. And I played the first 2 sets the way I did. It was surely the worst tennis I had shown since the beginning of the tournament. But as time passed by and as I won some games, I managed to relax, whereas he who seemed to be so self assured during the first part of the final got tense too. It was as if restlessness had crossed the court.
TM: In the 3rd set, there has been a very important moment in the final. You won a spectacular point after a very long fight, which created a sort of contact between you and the public. They did the wave, you applauded...
GG: I needed some help (smile). So when they did the wave, I told myself that they were yet having fun with me. I remembered what JMcEnroe told me. I had to enjoy the time I was living. I had dreamt to be there. It shouldn’t be a nightmare. All I had to do was to play my tennis, take this match as I should do, as a game and not as a pain.
TM: In the 4th set, Coria has suffered cramps. Playing against somebody who has physically turned low is never easy. How have you lived this dramatic situation?
GG:I had already experienced this situation with him in Hamburg, it was last year. It had really upset me in Hamburg and I lost the match. This time I vowed to myself that the outcome would be totally different. I didn’t want to let myself distract one more time. But it was hard to deal with coz he simply couldn’t run anymore. I tried not to have too much look at him between the points. I focused on me and on the ball. My one and only goal was to hit it to the other side of the court.
TM: In such dramatic circumstances is it possible to feel some pity for one’s opponent?
GG: Pity, no! That’s how the game works. In tennis you have to be physically and mentally ready to win such a tournament.
TM: People have much talked about your smiles, even your laughs at the most dramatic times, when it sounded quite impossible to decide between you and Guillermo. What was on your mind at that time?
GG: As I’ve already said before, I was like in a movie. I had a look at Franco Davin, my coach, and asked him what’s happening to us? The way the whole match turned out was totally crazy.
TM: As you’ve already said, winning RG was the dream of your life. Could you describe us the very moment, the couple of seconds when delivrance breaks out?
GG: I immediately felt like sharing my happiness with the crowd, like kissing them. And that’s why I ran all around the court, clapping their hands. I can’t explain such a moment, except that it was incredible. That’s very quick but that’s all. It was the achievement of my work, of my suffering and the one of my family as well which had fought so hard on my side so that I can make my dream come true.
TM: And then, Guillermo Vilas and John MacEnroe gave you the trophy...
GG: (loudly) And it made the greatest picture of the world (smile). When I’m old and watch that pic of me between Vilas and MacEnroe, I’m sure I’ll feel the same shivers running all through my body as I’m feeling now. That’s a picture for my kids. No doubt they will be proud of me.
TM: Though you're a very good player on clay, it was hard to picture you in winning RG. What were your ambitions when you came in Paris?
GG: I've had a very awful beginning in the season. I was not playing good tennis, though Franco and me had made a very big preparation in San Juan at the end of 2003. I had lost all self-confidence. And then it all came back when we arrived in Europe for the clay season. But it was not the level I wanted to reach yet. In Barcelona, I turned the corner when I beat Moya, and when I played and lost the final against Robredo in 5 sets. And all got worse again in Rome and Hamburg because of the balls chosen by the ATP. I had totally lost my timing. Fortunately those in Düsseldorf and Paris have suited me much better. I also would like to say that I was really fearing the draw. I told Franco: I want to play somebody I don't know personally in the first round. Because I'm a sensible guy and because I've enough to do with my emotions as a player, so I don't need to add more!(smile) And I fell on Canas, another Argentinean. This match may have been the key. I won it in 5 sets but I could also have lost it the same way.
TM: But what were your ambitions right at the beginning of the tournament?
GG: Reaching the 2nd week
TM: From which moment did you tell yourself I can win RG?
GG: When I defeated Hewitt in the quarterfinal. We had played each other in Düsseldorf the week before and the match had been very tight. But on that day, I felt like I could spoil nothing. In the semis, we were only 4 left and none of us had ever won a Grand slam before. So I told myself I was equal to the others. That's what I kept on repeating Franco.
TM: You've just told us about your emotions when you played another Argentinean on the first round. But you also played two others in your last matches, David Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria. Was it as upsetting as it'd been against Canas?
GG: It was nothing comparable. Playing an Argentinean in the 1st round was frustrating, it was total lack of luck. But in the semis and in the final you feel like you've already achieved something. It has nothing to do with losing in the 1st round after all the sacrifices you've made during the previous weeks.
TM: You were unseeded for this RG, and in all your career you had never reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal. You were dreaming about winning a GS but did you think it could happen?
GG: No, absolutely not. As I've already said before, I've always lacked self-confidence and I didn't think I could achieve such an exploit. As the last rounds were getting closer I was not really thinking about a victory. I was even a bit negative as I was longing for the the tournament to end. I was so much tired (smile). It was too much for me. Relaxing had become impossible even on the days I wasn't playing. My legs were aching because I was tired but my head ached too because I couldn't stop thinking.
TM: When you were a kid RG was the tournament you were dreaming upon. What's the tv recollection which has struck your memory?
GG: The match between Chang and Lendl when Chand served underarm. And I've also watched a bunch of finals, but this match between Chang and Lendl remains on top of all.
TM: Do you feel like going back to RG in november when you come back in Paris for Berçy...
GG: I hadn't thought about it but I'd like to check if my name's written on top of Court n°1 (smile). So why not? I really would like to say how much I love this place and this tournament. For me it's the greatest one of all and winning it is so incredible! During all those years, I had put such a pressure on my shoulders that I had never been able to play my best tennis there. It had happened only once in 2002 but I had been unlucky to play Ferero who defeated me in 5 sets though I had broken him in the last set. All the rest had been disappointments, one after another.
TM: You've said you've always lacked self-confidence so far. In Paris you had even told about your work with a psychologist. What kind of collaboration is it?
GG: When I was younger, and it's still quite true today, I couldn't believe in me. This psychologist has helped me to open myself more, to appreciate more my pleasure on the court. I've very often felt what I was doing as a kind of pain. It's a long work I'm doing on myself and that I keep on doing. He's used to trip along with me sometimes. Otherwise I call him on the phone to review the situation. We've been working together for 1 year and a half now.
TM: Did you have, in your career, a moment more difficult than the others, a moment when the pain you've told us about before was simply unbearable?
GG: I did and it'not very far (smile). It was last year. It started with the DC semi Argentine played against Spain in september. I played an awful match against Moya. I just didn't feel like fighting on the court. In DC !It was awful. The media brought me down in Argentina. Of course! I just could not play during the following months. Tennis was not my interest anymore and I went on traveling though all I wanted was to stay at home. It all lasted for 3 months. I remember that when I played in St Petersbourg, Madrid and Berçy, it had been without any single ambition. I didn't care about losing. Only my body was on the court. But my mind was far away.
TM: How did you go out of this so dark period?
GG: I talked much with the psychologist I told you about. And I went back to training. At the end of last year, I even trained so much harder as I had ever done before.
TM: Your family plays a huge part in your player's life. And especially your father...
GG: When I was 15, he had a heart attack and seing him so close to death has been such a shock for me. At that time, I didn't know I wanted to devote my life to tennis. What happened to him acted like a revelator. I had to do something with my life and I knew he was dreaming of me as a tennis pro. So I got involved in this career for him. It was a kind of my tribute to him.
TM: And how is he doing now?
GG: Everything's allright. But all this is so far...
TM: How was your life when you were a child?
GG: My father has given me everything he could to help me get to where I am today and that's why I consider tennis so seriously. My parents have bled themselves white for my passion.
TM: Unlike Coria or Nalbandian it seems that your federation hasn't really helped you when you were younger.
GG: They haven't done anything. They only got interested in me when I was 18. I owe them nothing. So I have no reason to thank them for anything. The only thing I'm related to is for DC.
TM: How have you sorted it out, I mean financially, when you were younger?
GG: My parents have borne a lot. But sometimes I had no money to travel. Like others it happened that I had to cancel some trips because of that. My grandparents have also helped me a lot on different occasions.
TM: Concerning DC, by the way, how important is this competition for you?
GG: It is very important. It's even the 2nd biggest goal in my career. My 1st dream was to win RG. Davis Cup is my 2nd. And I'm sure we can win it with the players we have now.
TM: Which kind of DC player are you?
GG: Apart from the semi between Argentina and Spain we've talked about before, I've always had good results in this competition. I played 15 matches and only lost 2. I even had never been defeated in front of my folks. I'm not used to feel particularly anguished when I play for my country. And that's the main reason I had been chosen to play against Spain (smile).
TM: What's the atmosphere like in the team?
GG: It's been 1 year since I have played in DC for the last time. At that time it was really cheerful with my friends Zabaleta, Calleri, Chela and Arnold. I don't think it is still the case today. There had been some trouble recently. The captain's changed and it all happened very confusedly. But I repeat, we can win this DC, whatever the surface is. We can achieve what Vilas and Clerc have not been able to achieve. Everybody knows that the economic situation in Argentina is not very good. And sport is one of the only things that can make people happy. Winning the DC would be a sizeable event.
TM: But is tennis really popular in Argentina?
GG: Compared to soccer, it has of course nothing to do with it. But it comes 2nd, right after it.
TM: And Guillermo Vilas, as you told us about him, has he represented for you, as for Coria, somebody important?
GG: He's been the reference for all Argentinean players. And he has helped me a lot. I have trained for 2 years in his club in Buenos Aires. Then he has travelled a lot and we have quite lost contact. But each time he came back to Argentina, we talked about my game, my results. And we still do so today. I really thank him for all he's done for me so far.
TM: When you were a kid, was there any player you admired?
GG: I liked Becker, but Vilas, he was my idol. Tennis didn't exist in Argentina before him. It has developed thanks to him. I would never have won RG if he hadn't been the champion he was.
TM: And what about you? Have you turned into an idol?
GG: Not at all! (laughs). In Argentina we have only 2 idols, Maradona and Vilas. I will never be as famous as they are. I'm very far from it.
TM: To conclude, you're known to be an introverted person. Is there a hobby which helps you to relax?
GG: I'm playing golf. It's a real passion. I got a handicap of 13-14. I can forget everything on a green.
“ On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".
Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.