Re: The "Peter Luczak" Cheering Thread!
Here is an article from Australian newspaper "The Age"
May 20, 2007
PETER Luczak is happy to admit he's not your average Australian tennis player. It's not that he doesn't enjoy talking footy or playing cards with the lads, but that he relishes the surface that Australians have been raised to fear and despise — the red earth of Europe's claycourts.
Luczak has been in sparkling form on the clay Challengers circuit, making at least the semi-finals of his past three tournaments and lifting his ranking to 128 in the world. His results were rewarded last week with a wildcard into the French Open.
"I'm very excited," Luczak said from Sweden, where he lives with his wife, Katarina, and son, Sebastian. "If you'd asked me a couple of months ago I would have said I had no chance, so it's a really good thing."
The 27-year-old Luczak was born in Warsaw but learned his trade on the en tout cas courts of Melbourne, which he believes gave him a feel for the style of game required on clay.
"In the past you'd see an Australian in the draw, you'd go yes, unreal, I get to play the Aussie on the clay. But we're trying to change that around," Luczak said. "I guess clay's probably my favourite surface and I feel most comfortable on it. It just suits my game style. I've got a pretty heavy forehand and it gives me a bit more time to set up.
"I like it when you can be in a match. I don't mind when they go for more than three hours, I try to use my fitness as one of my strengths. Also on clay you never feel you're out of a match, even if you're two breaks down, you can work back into a match. On a fast hardcourt you're a break down and it can be curtains."
This will be Luczak's second time in the main draw at Roland Garros and he is hopeful of bettering his first-round loss in 2005. Having said that, he knows a lot depends on the draw, with the ultimate nightmare being a round-one match against Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
Regardless of what happens next week, Luczak's motivation is as strong as ever and he believes he has his best chance yet to break into the top 100 in the next few months.
Part of that is due to a spot in the Australian Institute of Tennis program in London and the advantage of having a travelling coach, and part due to a settled domestic scene and the change in perspective that comes with fatherhood. "You know that when you're on the tennis court it's not the end of the world if you lose the match," he said.
"You're probably a bit more relaxed, but at the same time you're pretty motivated to do well for the little bugger.
"I was a little bit unlucky last year. I was playing some pretty good tennis but I got pneumonia at this time last year and was out of action for a couple of months, then me and my wife had a baby as well.
"Now everything's sort of come together. The coaching's definitely helped — for me it's just the motivation, having someone there. Sometimes when you're in a place on your own in the middle of nowhere, it's tough to get fired up and into a match. If things are going wrong it gets a little bit tough, you just want to get out of there.
"Having a base in Europe does make a difference. I try to play most of my tennis on the clay, and before I'd come over for … even six months, and it's not easy just living out of a suitcase. If you're travelling for six months, the last three or four weeks you're just so mentally drained there's no point playing tournaments.
"Right now I'm really motivated. I love playing tennis and I love competing in tournaments and it keeps me going. I get texts from mates saying 'you're one lucky bastard to be playing tennis while we're grinding away in the office'. It's sometimes good to get those and realise how lucky you are."