Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I want to start by wishing a Happy Birthday to my brother Petros, who celebrates his 29th birthday today on 16 January. He isnít here: heís working in CyprusÖ poor guy! I called him already, waking him up by singing ĎHappy Birthdayí along with my coach, cousin and friends. It was 8:30amÖ he was still asleep! He works only in the afternoon as a tennis coach. Normally I wake up early around 7 to 7:30am and my father wakes up around 5am. My brother had no idea what was happening. We sang ĎHappy Birthdayí to him, then he said: ďHelloĒ, so we had to sing it again to him. When we finished he said: ďI wonít say hello anymore.Ē It was funny.
I left the site early last night and had room service back at the hotel, getting to sleep at around 9:30pm, as I was a bit tired. The hotel food is very good; normally I only eat plain pasta and salad when I am in a tournament, itís sort of my routine. Before a match I normally eat the same stuff like plain pasta and afterwards we sometimes go to a Greek restaurant where I eat lamb or chicken. Normally I stay in the room and stick to my routine.
I love eating! I have a problem with that! I have a dream to eat as much as possible and not get fat, but I think it will never come true!! We donít really have the freedom to eat what we want, as players we have to be careful about what we eat and not to gain weight, especially during tournaments. I know myself a bit better now so I can handle it and find a way to enjoy eating by staying at a good weight.
I donít have a weakness for chocolate or sweet things; Iím more of a salty guy. I donít really like sweet things, I like it but not too much, so when I see people eating desserts I donít mind, I can resist. I really like French fries but when I am at a tournament I donít really eat them, I guess I have a lot of willpower!!!
When I am at a tournament itís nice to go out, but sometimes it is tough when you go out to a restaurant, such as Stalactites, which is one I go to a lot here in Melbourne. The last time I went a lot of people recognised me. It is tough. Sometimes you want to stay and have a nice dinner and talk with your friends, laugh a bit. Fortunately they have a room upstairs where I can go and sit and it is really quiet so I like it there, but I have to be careful of the food. Itís not too healthy for a tennis player!!
Last year we had around 12 people visiting the restaurant every time we went but this year I have around like five people so itís ok. Itís really nice when people come up to ask for autographs and photos it gives you a good feeling, positive energy, itís not like I donít like people coming up but sometimes you do want some privacy.
Everyone has been asking me if I have a girlfriend and Iím sorry to disappoint all the girls but I do have a girlfriend at the moment but I am keeping it all private, sorry!!!
A lot of people have also been asking me about my new look. I thought about cutting my hair this December so I did and shaved my beard just before the tournament. There is no real reason why I did it. If I keep on winning, I wonít shave and Iíll have a beard.
Some friends sometimes send me text messages. They have their routine of sending me a message before the match such as: ďYouíre going to kick his assĒ, ďHe has no way of beating youĒ, ďHe only has one legĒ etc. Some guys send me the same text before every match, at the same time, such as: ďGood luck, Marc, weíre with you!Ē I had a guy in Paris tell me that every day until I lost.
I find it nice when friends get into my rhythm, it gives me positive energy. Itís nice that they help you to get through all the difficulties, as it is difficult travelling on the circuit alone with your coach all the time. I have my routines with my bag and the way I prepare for a match, but nothing really, really superstitious.
I am working on a new celebration in Australia. If I win my match against Safin tomorrow then Iíll do something. You know like Youzhny with the salute, Federer with his racket up and Djokovic imitating players. Iím trying to find something. So keep your eyes out tomorrow, Iíll do something crazy if I win, it will be something funny, something original, I hope you guys will like it!
Today I had an off day and made my way out to sign autographs at the ATP FanFest. I played Totem Tennis for the first time and it showed. It will never be something I teach my kids and certainly something I will never become world champion, I was so bad at it!! After signing autographs for 40 minutes my wrist was all right, it was more my back from leaning all the time. But it was fun, the people here are really fun, polite and smile. They give me energy and that is what I like about Melbourne and the tournament.
It feels a bit like home, it seems like every third person here is Greek. Every time I walk on the street they come up and say ďYassu MarcosĒ, so Melbourne definitely feels like home. A lot of Greek fans were on-site today, and I donít think many Greeks were playing. Half the queue for autographs was Greek. Itís amazing.
When I come to Melbourne I always get lots of support and that is really good. Normally I catch up with the President of my fan club, who I speak to a few times on the phone and meet here. We rent a place after the tournament is finished and have a barbecue each year. Itís in a Greek cafť with a yard out the back.
Tomorrow I play Safin on Rod Laver Arena; it is certainly different playing during the day and at night. The whole rhythm and sleep pattern changes a bit. Tomorrow Iíll go to the gym in the morning and then pick up my tickets and have some lunch. Iíll then go back to the hotel, have a nap in the afternoon and return to the site. I'll then have a hit and get ready for my match. There is no real difference between the court and atmosphere between the arenas here, so hopefully it wonít be a problem.
Wish me luck!
The old funny Marcos is coming back