Marcos gave an interview to the Cypriot newspaper POLITIS five months ago (on September 7th, 2008). I translated it into English at the time. Fortunately I kept the article, since the provided link is inactive now.
Anyone who wants to read the original article in Greek, must pay a visit to POLITIS' offices in Nicosia.
The interview is very interesting... reveals many things about Marcos...
Just try to read between the lines.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS... BENDS HIS HEAD AND SPEAKS OF HIS DIFFICULT YEAR, AS HE SMILES REFERRING TO THE PRESENT AND STAYS POSITIVE ABOUT THE FUTURE.
"Yes, I'm strong. It doesn't matter that I lost many ranking points. I am not afraid of making a new start. It's an achievable goal."
Marcos Baghdatis has faced the most difficult year since he started to play professional tennis. Not only he lost many places in the ATP rankings (he was #16 in January, he is #46 in September), but also many unfortunate incidents happened to him. Problems first started at Australian Open. Then, coach change, ugly appearances in tournaments, serious injuries. The cherry on the cake was his absence from the Olympic Games in Beijing.
How did he find his way through difficulties? Who were the people that helped him? What are his goals now? Is there one person who can answer these questions? Yes, Marcos Baghdatis after many months, speaks about everything...
We missed you! Where are you now? What are you doing? Tell us about your recuperation.
I'm in Normandie these days, at a place only two hours away from Paris. I came here because I wanted to change environment. I was at the academy before that, but I got a bit bored, so I chose to continue with my recuperation here.
How is it going?
I'm quite well. Five days since I started to play tennis for two and a half hours per day. My wrist feels fine. I felt pain during the first days, but it gradually disappeared.
Under normal circumstances, how many hours a day do you train?
Around four and a half hours per day.
Is it possible the wrist problem reappear in the future?
My physician said "no". So, I don't think it will reappear. My physician has never failed predictions about my injuries.
You were injured at a very important moment because of the Olympics. Do you feel that this adventure will make you stronger?
I don't know... The truth is that I felt well after Wimbledon, and I was ready to play at the Olympics. That was my most important goal. For that reason I have been traning so hard, to be ready. It was very difficult to accept that I'd missed the Olympics, I have been waiting four years for this. My physician and I tried everything to be ready in time, but the time was too short and there was a chance of damaging my health. Well, I was hugely disappointed, but nothing could have been done differently.
After that, what have you done?
I took one week off work for holiday, I went to Cyprus, then I came back and started training. Well, I feel very well physically, but... I was left behind tennis wise. I will take some time to play again my good tennis game, I think.
What is your last goal for this year?
My biggest goal is to get properly prepared for 2009. This year is finished for me. I'll try to win some matches in the remaining tournaments though.
Anyway, you'll have another chance for the Olympics...
(smiling) Yes, but you never know what is going to happen in four years...
How annoying is it, to see your name placed at #46 in ATP rankings?
Yes, a bit. I mean, a lot (laughing). I know that this ranking doesn't represent me. This year was aweful. Not only on-court, but also off-court. That's the way it is. Not always everything is perfect. I'll come back!
Do you feel strong enough to come back?
Yes, I'm strong. I did not get bored of playing tennis. Simply, nothing worked for me this year. Problems began in Australia, then I stopped my collaboration with Yiannos (Hatjigeorgiou), I went to Miami, got injured in the Davis Cup tie, started Roland Garros, was fine. After that, I won three matches, then i was defeated in the fourth round at Wimbledon. I beg for mercy!! Right now, my career makes me feel... down. That's why I can't answer how long it will take me to come back. I feel strong, but I will take my time. I didn't play any tennis this year! It's like starting again from zero.
How bad is that?
I am not frustrated about my low ranking. I am not afraid of a new start. This is an achievable goal. I'm actually feeling very confident. What annoyed me most was that I missed the Olympics because of my injury.
Who were the people that were beside you all this time?
My parents, as always. My physical trainer Sebastien Durand has helped me a lot. No-one else was beside me, it's understandable. They have their own problems.
Many people were disappointed, much more people are interested in you and are concerned about you. Do you want to say something to them?
I thank them very much for their concern. I know that many people ask about me. I sincerely thank them. It's very important for an athlete to know that there are people who believe in them.
After your withdrawal from Olympics, has anyone from Cyprus tried to contact you, to ask you how things are going?
No, no-one has called me. I don't want to speak about it. It doesn't matter...
Are you sad?
Not sad. Simply, during the last two years I understood so many things. How people think, the way of this world, the way of life...
Are you referring to all that mess at Davis Cup?
Not only that. I don't want to speak about it. It's not the right time.
Have you heard what happened at our athletes in Beijing?
I've heard a few things, mainly about Kyriakos. I don't know what happened exactly, that's why I don't want to speak about it. All I know is that we are left behind in so many things. Far behind...
As a more experienced athlete, would you like to say something to our athletes?
Yes, I would. They can't expect anything from anyone. Nothing from no-one. If they expected, they would receive nothing in return. They must train hard. And the hard work pays off. That if we're speaking about Cyprus. I say this because I know how people work abroad, in France, in Switzerland, in Germany, how they care for their athletes. There is absolutely no comparison.
What do you mean by that?
Simple words. The right people, in the right places. They don't know how to achieve this in Cyprus. They don't know what to do with our athletes. The last three years, I'm where I'm and I don't...
You don't, what?
In April 2007, I sat at the same table with Titos Christofidis to discuss how they can help me financially. At the same table were Philios Christodoulou and Yiannos Hatjigeorgiou. We discussed how they would have helped me financially for the Olympics. It was then, when I started my collaboration with Yiannos. They told me that I had to send a formal letter describing exactly what I wanted in order to be properly prepared for Beijing and after that they would have taken their decisions. I told them that I didn't want any money, but if they wished to help me I would be happy about it. I sent the letter and still I don't have any answer! I'm waiting for their answer until today!
How is your collaboration with Lundgren?
All right, I didn't play many matches, but we work well together. The last two weeks we're together all the time, we work, we speak a lot. It was hard for him, too. I like him much. We're mainly working on tennis tactics. I don't have to change my game. Well, we're working on my serve. But, not many changes in my game are needed.
As far as I know, you mainly expect psychological support from your coach...
That's true. He's good in this. He's an experienced coach, he can give the right advice, at the right moment. I trust him.
Any comments on the ranking exchange between Nadal and Federer?
Nadal was better than Federer this year. I don't believe that Federer has gotten worse. It's Nadal that has improved.
That sort of things can happen in the best of families!
I wish I had Federer's bad year. He's a man, he's not a machine. He reached the semis at Australian Open, the final at Roland Garros, the final at Wimbledon. I wish I had his year!
How things are going with women?
Fine (laughing). I'm with Mandy Minella. Everything is fine.
Has anything good happened to you this year?
Yes, I didn't play tennis, but I had a very good year in football (laughing).
Have you watched Anorthosis?
Yes, I watched their match against Olympiakos. Congrats to them. Congrats to Mr.Ketsbaia. He's a prof!
Apollon hasn't started well though...
Yes. That's the way football is. Tell them if they need an assistant coach, I'm coming! As I don't play tennis anymore (laughing)!
Journalist: Andri Christou
Article code: 818277
POLITIS - September 7, 2008 - Page:8
"... In April 2007, I sat at the same table with Titos Christofidis to discuss how they can help me financially. At the same table were Philios Christodoulou and Yiannos Hatjigeorgiou. We discussed how they would have helped me financially for the Olympics. It was then, when I started my collaboration with Yiannos. They told me that I had to send a formal letter describing exactly what I wanted in order to be properly prepared for Beijing and after that they would have taken their decisions. I told them that I didn't want any money, but if they wished to help me I would be happy about it. I sent the letter and still I don't have any answer! I'm waiting for their answer until today!... "
It's so very embarrassing
On the other hand, it was not the first time that Yiannos failed in his role as Marcos' "spiritual father".
Anyway, I was very happy when the collaboration between Marcos and Yiannos ended last February.