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Björki 02-07-2006 02:06 PM

Articles, News ...
Baghdatis receives hero's welcome on return
By Jean Christou

LARNACA, Cyprus (Reuters) - Marcos Baghdatis was greeted by hundreds of cheering fans at Larnaca airport when he returned home to Cyprus following his heroics at the Australian Open.

The 20-year-old fought back the tears as he was reunited with his family for the first time since his defeat by world number one Roger Federer in the Open final on January 29.

"It's very emotional to be back," Baghdatis told the crowd.

"I'm a little overwhelmed and I'm not sure what to say. I'd like to thank all who came and everyone who followed my matches. It was a great experience for me and for our country."

Baghdatis's mother Andri was hospitalized during the final and had a gall stones operation a day later but she was well enough to greet her son, accompanied by her Lebanese husband Christos.

Mother and son hugged and kissed. Baghdatis's eight-year-old sister carried a bouquet she said was for his girlfriend.

Inside the VIP lounge Baghdatis broke down in tears.

"I want to thank my parents and all who believed in me, and the people of Cyprus," he said. "I am here because of my parents and I thank them."

The exploits of Baghdatis, from a village named 'fairytale', seized the imagination of tennis fans worldwide as he swept into the final as an unseeded outsider.

"I didn't win but I had the chance to work very hard and it was great knowing that all of the people of Cyprus were behind me," Baghdatis said.

"During the bad times when I was feeling down I would think of the sacrifices I made and the sacrifices that were made for me."

Baghdatis is a rare success story for a divided island dominated by partisan politics where sport is synonymous with football.

Baghdatis is now ranked 27th in the world, up from 54th before the Melbourne final, and is hailed at home as the greatest sportsman Cyprus has produced.

"I decided to drive down and join the welcome party to show him how much it means to us that he has come so far," said 25-year-old Anthi Stavrides from Nicosia.

The minister responsible for sport, Pefkios Georgiade, praised Baghdatis as a role model and an ambassador for his country.

"The heart of Cyprus that beat with you during your two-week titanic fight, beats today from joy, emotion and pride. In your face I see all the hope of the youth of Cyprus," he said.

Baghdatis then traveled to his home town of Limassol where he will be given the key to the city during a ceremony expected to be attended by thousands of well-wishers.

More events are scheduled in the capital Nicosia for Sunday, after a meeting between Baghdatis and President Tassos Papadopoulos.

Baghdatis will leave the island on Monday to resume training in France.

Iza 02-07-2006 07:59 PM

Re: Articles, News ...
thx Peggy :hug:

-sOfia- 02-08-2006 03:53 AM

Re: Articles, News ...
Marcos Baghdatis aces draft
Tanya Giles

TENNIS hero Marcos Baghdatis has been granted a long-term exemption from military service in Cyprus.

The star of the Australian Open -- beaten in the final by Roger Federer -- has been told he can have extensions.
The President of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, invited Baghdatis to the Presidential Palace in Nicosia for a one-hour meeting on Sunday and assured the tennis star he personally and the state would offer him every possible help and support in his career.

A government spokesman said Baghdatis told Mr Papadopoulos of his "fervent wish to serve at the National Guard" but asked for a suspension of his military service while he forged ahead with his tennis career.

After the meeting, he thanked Mr Papadopoulos for his offer. "I want to say a big thank you for the help he is going to offer me, and the only thing I can assure is that I am always going to fight for my country with my racquet," he said.

The Herald Sun revealed last month that top politicians including Premier Steve Bracks and Energy Minister Theo Theophanous were pushing for Baghdatis to be exempt from the draft for up to 10 years.

Mr Theophanous lobbied Cyprus's High Commissioner, Achilleas Antoniades, who agreed to ask his Government to release Baghdatis from military service.,00.html

Choupi 02-08-2006 07:19 AM

Re: Articles, News ...
Ok, I know I have already posted it somewhere else, but now that we've got an appropriate thread....

Interview from L'Equipe, Monday January 30th 2006.

L'Equipe: How do you feel after that 1st experience of a GS final?
Marcos Baghdatis: To be honest, I feel disappointed. I've had my chance and I've let it go. I've played great tennis in the first 2 sets, been very aggressive. I didn't want to let Federer have time to play. The way I've started the match is amazing. I had him and I think he wasn't ok. But at 6-5, 40-0, I loosened the grip a bit. I don't know exactly what happened. And then, I've started to think of the victory, to stress...It cost me the match. When you let Roger play, it's tough to find the solution after that! I can tell you it's not really easy. But I've battled. Finally, it doesn't matter that much.

Eq: Is it physically that you broke down?
MB: No, I think it's stress that knocked me sideways. I had resisted to Ljubicic, Nalbandian, so, I think I had the physical means. But it's mentally that I've gone out of the match. After that, everything went very fast and I just couldn't do anything.

Eq: Because it's Federer you have in front of you and he's a special opponent?...
MB: For sure he's different. He doesn't break down much! Others do before he does.

Eq: Yet, he cried after his victory. And you were standing right beside him...
MB: No doubt it must have been hard for him. It's so crazy to win a GS! I've got it! Me too, I've cried when I won tourneys. I also remember the 1st time he won Wimbledon he cried too. I was watching tv, during a futures event (3rd category) in France...and he made me cry. Roger, he's a great guy. He fights for what he is. He gives his all for his sport. And he's got a heart. The words he told me after the match show he's got respect for everybody. It's a good thing to have such a guy as N°1.

Eq: a "guy" you adopted a trick from...
MB: Yeah, when I bounce the ball between my legs before serving. Been doing it since 2002, after the AO, when I came back training in Paris. I had seen Federer do it.

Eq: Most of all, a "guy" you have driven into a corner...
MB: Right now, I can only see negative things. I can't be lucid. But it's true, I've been able to have him far from the ball sometimes, and few players can get as close as I've been. For sure this experience will be usefull to me in the future. Basically, I'm fast, I move pretty fast on the court, I got a good eye and I can see the ball pretty early. Actually, I can adapt to any style of player!

Eq: Were you aware you could reach that level when you arrived in Melbourne?
MB: A bit yes. But, if I keep on playing crazy matches like this on big courts, it can't but help me believe it more. It's true that it was hard thinking about it. But that's life. Sometimes, things just happen that way, all of a sudden. You work, you work, you work, and one day, you wake up and you're just there. I'm proud of myself, proud of my team. I think I deserve it. The funniest is that, 3 weeks ago, in Auckland, I had just lost my 1st round match, I was talking with my coach. I was telling him that if I won the AO, I'd stop tennis. And he was telling me that, in that case, he would retire. We're gonna think about it now, to know if we stop!

Eq: It's gonna be tough after such 2 weeks.
MB: I guess the best memory will be that match against Roddick. That was the greatest win of my whole career. My 1st time on the Rod Laver Arena. It was the World N°3. Emotionally, it was just fantastic! But the whole tournament has been a great dream. Now I'm waking up. I'm gonna get my feet back on the ground. I've always worked to win 1 day a GS and I'm gonna go back training.

Eq: You were 14 when you've been picked the 1st time!
MB: Yes and it was in Ouganda. So it wasn't as great as that. But that was already experience to pile up. When I look at my life, it's an extraordinary tale....DC, that's really fantastic for me. The guy I'm playing with, he's 21 and ranked around 500. He's training in Belgium. We're playing events together since we're 8. That's real fun.

Eq: At the end of the day, your parents didn't come to attend the final....
MB: No, only my brother and my cousin. First, I had told them to come. And then, I told them not to....It's my father who made the decision.

Eq: What did your coach Guillaume Peyre tell you after the final?
MB: That it really didn't matter, mostly because I was 20 and everything was only beginning. When I've started to cry in the locker rooms, he just told me "don't stop crying". That's all.

Eq: You've lived a very peculiar story with him, together for 2 years in order to be better together after a split of more than 1 year.
MB: At the clash time, we weren't heading the same directions. I had been injured for more than 4 months. And it was hard to come back. I was young, I've made mistakes. He knew me well, he knew what I was able to do, but I was feeling like he wanted to go too fast. There was too much pressure. After the USO, I told myself: he's the one who knows me the best, and he's the one I wanna work with. I called him. I didn't apologize but we talked. He's a nice guy. He's there as soon as I'm in trouble.

Eq: And God knows you've had to cope with many difficulties in your career....
MB: The 1st day at the Academy has been the hardest of all my life. I was crying all the time, every day, on the phone with my dad. I only wanted 1 thing: fly back to Cyprus, to be with my family and my friends. The 1st 3 months have been very tough. I was feeling lonely. I had no fun. But one day, you realize that it's what life is all about and that you have to cope with it. I woke up one day and told myself: Ok, now stop crying, stop complaining. You got no choice and you have to do it. Many people believe in you. I was pretty well looked after, with Patrick (Mouratoglou) and the family I was living with. I owe much to Patrick because he's been the 1st one to believe in me, when I was 13. He's always helped me. He's always been there for me. Jean-Paul (Damit, his 1st coach) has also been like a father for me. They've all given me a lot of love. And when you're 15, 16, that's precisely what you need the most. I've been through tough times in my career. So have my parents. And the people with me too. So that's why now, I feel happy on the court. I'm happy to play.

Eq: Even if you'd have preferred turning into a pro of soccer when you were a kid?
MB: I like tennis, still......I had to stop for 2 years when I was 9 and I've missed it. But it's true I'm having a blast whenever I play soccer. I could have peaked in that sport, easily. All's in the mind with sport. Luckily, I still can play a lot at the Academy, in Thiverval. We often play 6-6, against the Plaisir tennis team. That's physical! We play like 2, 3 hours a week....

Eq: Tell me about life in Thiverval, in that pretty isolated area of the Yvelines....
MB: I just love the kids who are there and who wanna get into that sport. That's the group spirit that matters. Me, I'm training very simply. You know, we do simple things. We go on the court, Guillaume stands in 1 of the corners and gets me running. But most of all, at the Academy, I just love my chalet!

Eq: Are you gonna stay and live there?
MB: Maybe I'm gonna make it bigger now (laughs). I'm gonna talk about it with Patrick. But it's nice to live at the Academy. When you wake up, breakfast's ready, you can train directly there. I also live in Avignon, with my coach, and that's great because my girlfriend lives there too (Camille's Guillaume Peyre's step-daughter). And I think that now, we're gonna go and train in Cyprus, under the sun, whenever we can. Thus, I'll be able to see my parents more. It's gonna be hot and we'll be able to hit the ball well there!

Action Jackson 02-09-2006 10:16 AM

Re: Articles, News ...
I have this from a very good source that Mr Marcos will be in playing in Båstad this year after Wimbledon. It's a fun tournament and being from the coast, he will enjoy the beach and the relaxed fun feel of the tournament.

Choupi 02-11-2006 06:51 PM

Re: Articles, News ...
I remembered that, some time ago, I had read something about Marcos, in our French Tennis Magazine. After some research, I've found it again, and I think that, though being a bit old, it's still very interesting to read. Hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed translating it.

From Tennis Magazine, January 2005.

So, I suddenly got scared and felt like stopping it all straight.
By Guy Barbier.

Marcos Baghdatis can't erase this day from his memory: Sunday February 14th 1999, it was Valentine's Day. And he was already missing Danae. Danae, his girlfriend, who stayed in Cyprus. And him, Marcos, had just arrived in France. He was 13 ½.

More painful, even more bitter has been the next day. That Monday of his 1st training session, coached by Jean Paul Damit, at the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy, in Montreuil Sous Bois. First sufferings, first tears. "The session had been very tough. Jean Paul was yelling at me to move my ass. He'd given me some blowing up. So, I suddenly got scared and felt like stopping it all straight. I was crying when I left the court."

A thin trickle of tears before a flood, during the following weeks. It's gonna take 5 years to make them less bitter to the reminding, to legitimate them. With the Junior World Champion Title in 2003, first distinction of that sort for Cyprus. And "the joy and pride" for Marcos, "to have been able", he says, "to give back what I owed to all those who had helped me."

Marcos Baghdatis has good memory, which enforces his attaching side for those surrounding him. Yet, now that he's part of the most promising young pros, ranked 150 at only 19; how could he not remember the most teeny details of a very special progression?

For Marcos, born in Limassol, Cyprus, on June 17th 1985, all begins with his father Christos's devouring passion for tennis. It won't be Marinos, the elder brother, today aged 27. It won't be Petros, the 2nd son, 25, even if he played DC for Cyprus in 2002. And for Zina, the young adopted sister, aged only 6, one must still wait a bit...

So it's gonna be Marcos, sucked up behind his brothers by the Famagusta Tennis Club, its 8 courts, one of the 2 Clubs in Limassol. First hits with a coach, a Czech he never called otherway than Mr Paul. "I was 4 or 5. But only 1 year and a half when I'd first been given a racket."

The other Club of Limassol, the Sporting, aged 7. Other coaches: Bulgarian Kiril Yiasmakov, Romanian Jean Dobresko, Cypriot Yanos Hadjegeorgiou. With the latest, a further step is made: Marcos, 11, leaves his family in Limassol to settle down at Yanos's, 80 kms away, near the national center of Nicosy. On the world's general scale, these Cypriot movings are microscopic. Marcos Baghdatis's big migration starts though in the environment of an island, though small, but rich of multiple nationalities gathered together. Marcos has got the means to cope with every kind of situations: he's fluent in English. "I've been to the American Highschool in Limassol", he says," I've made all my studies in English, not Greek."

There won't be any communication trouble when Marcos Baghdatis gets contacted, twice in 1998, during the first international events he takes part, at the Petits As in Tarbes and the Under 14 tournament of the Stade Français, by Laurent Rizzo, the young talents ferreter of the Mouratoglou Academy, also in charge of the "agents" branch of the academy "Tennis Management".

"I had been stunned", he recalls", "by the irreproachable behaviour of that young guy on the court, but most of all, by his pleasure of playing and his joy of life. You could see that, for him, being there was some kind of a celebration." Of course, Laurent Rizzo had also noticed straight " a huge strength as well as a heavy ball, especially on his forehand, and also, an important ability to progress, openness to hard work."

That's how, after some phone calls with Christos Baghdatis, his 1st visit of the Montreuil site and a signed contract, Marcos arrives in Paris for the big adventure in February 1999. Marcos recalls " At first, my dad was with me. We were staying very close to the academy, in a 1st Class Hotel in Rosny Sous Bois. And after 1 week, he went back home."

Even though he goes and lives straight with that family, the Benhaim in Saint Maurice, with whom he gets on very well from the start, Marcos finds himself alone to face his big challenge.

It's been much harder than expected. "I was crying every night. I couldn't stop listening to Greek music, I was missing my family and my friends, and Danae too..."

After 3 weeks of this pace, Patrick Mouratoglou, the Academy director, has been the 1st to call Christos Baghdatis. "I told him his son was crying every day, that he seemed unconsolable and maybe it would be better that he goes back home. He then replied, don't worry, he's gonna stop and it's gonna be alright. Let's keep it up...."

4 more weeks were necessary to see the end of these loneliness strokes.

"The mood at the academy helped me a lot", tells Marcos, "everybody was very nice with me, there were a bunch of various nationalities, it was lively, joyful. And at the Benhaim, it was really like I was at home. They've been wonderful with me." At Laurent Benhaim's, manager of some computer graphic arts firm, successively in Saint Maurice then in Courbevoie, Marcos will stay for 4 years, sharing the bedroom with Jean Philippe, the son. The mother, Nathalie Benhaim, is considered a 2nd mother. "I used to tell her everything. Even about my girlfriend", tells Marcos. "We were talking and sharing everything when we were all together." Smiling, Marcos also remembers how once he's been blown up by Nathalie Benhaim. "I had given her my clothes far too late and I had a plane to catch on the next day."

The other main integration factor of Marcos was his French practising. On-the-job learning ("it was hard to find English teachers") and now a fluent practise. Even if Marcos, who dropped out school, aged 15, would like "to have some more lessons, in order to write and read it better."

Marcos's progression and well-being at the aademy have known only 1 obstacle, but which could have put a definite end to it all: his relations with Bob Brett. The famous Australian coach, who formerly worked with Boris Becker, was associated to Patrick Mouratoglou, between September 1998 and April 2003. "Bob had started deciding everything and everything was going wrong. Most of all, he didn't like me, he didn't trust me. And I had told him I didn't want to work with him. Of course, this, coming from a young guy like me, hasn't pleased him. I've started to look for where else I could go."

It was all the more pityful that Marcos was beginning to emerge. After missing very closely the Junior World title in 2002 (to Richard Gasquet's benefit), Baghdatis had just won the Junior AO title in January 2003.

"Luckily", he underlines, " Patrick fired Bob in April and everything went back to order."

This 2003 season has been the one when he won 4 "futures" events (3rd category of the tour), among them 1 in Cyprus, in front of his parents. And, last but not least, the Junior World Champion title.

Thanking all those who helped him, Marcos doesn't forget precising that, without Cyprus Federation financial support, including entire covering of his trips as well as his coach's, and without Patrick Mouratoglou's personally paying for all training fees, he would never have been able to do it, his parents just couldn't afford any of this.

"I like team sports and here", he says, showing the new installations of the academy, settled up since July 2004 in Thiverval Grignon, in the Yvelines, "it's a team, even more, a family. My title has made everybody happy." On the very 1st place, the one who was coaching him, Guillaume Peyre, as well as his physical trainer, Emmanuel Yague.

A first season among the pro tour which gave birth to some short movie, showed on Eurosport, "The Rookie", but which has badly started, because of some pubalgia which handicaped him for 4 months. But it ended on a very good note with 2 successes in a row, at the Bolton (UK) and Bratislava (Slovakia) challengers, Bratislava where he beat local hero Dominik Hrbaty in the final. Without forgetting about his strongest emotion of the year: his 2nd round match in Flushing Meadow on Arthur Ashe Stadium in which he took 1 set to Roger Federer in person.

What is he dreaming about? Winning a GS ("the USO, my favourite one, first") and.....DC for Cyprus (playing 3rd category!). Marcos has made his debuts in DC aged 14, being one of the youngest participants of all time. "I believe in it", he claims," as soon as we have a 2nd player, it's gonna be possible."

Just to fulfill his own dreams and go beyond the craziest ones of Christos Baghdatis...

SloKid 02-11-2006 07:05 PM

Re: Articles, News ...
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Choupi again. :sad:

Iza 02-11-2006 08:10 PM

Re: Articles, News ...
Choupiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii thank you so so so much :hug:
I'll rep u as soon as the "you must spread" thing goes away :smooch:

Action Jackson 02-13-2006 04:41 AM

Re: Articles, News ...
Excellent translation as always Choupi.

JMG 02-24-2006 02:49 PM

Re: Articles, News ...
Baghdatis will play in Halle this year. :)

kindablue 02-24-2006 03:55 PM

Re: Articles, News ...
:wavey: Marcos is training in France with his coach, Guillaume, before going to the United States. 02/24/06

03/10 Pacific Life Open, Indian Wells (USA), $3,169,000.

03/22 Nasqaq 100 Open, Miami (USA), $3,450,000.

Between the 7th and the 9th, First Round in the Davis Cup against Bulgaria.That's in April.

From Marcos Baghdatis website:

Iza 03-02-2006 07:47 AM

Re: Articles, News ...
Let's hope he'll have some good matches there :)
Pame :yeah:

Action Jackson 03-11-2006 10:41 AM

Re: Articles, News ...
There is a brief interview with Marcos at this site. He just doesn't say that much, just about his 1st MS event and how his life has changed etc.

You have to register, but it doesn't cost anything.

Choupi 03-15-2006 06:57 AM

Re: Articles, News ...
From the PacificOpen site. Interview of Marcos after his win over Gaudio:

An interview with: MARCOS BAGHDATIS


6-7, 6-3, 6-2

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marcos.

Q. Do you consider that a good win out there today?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: A great win. It was tough out there. Gaudio was playing great tennis, so it was tough. I fought for it. Second and third set, I started playing better in important points. I think that's what made the difference.

Q. Is this as good as you felt since Australia?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Not as good. But, I mean, is a great victory. You cannot play every day your best tennis. The most important thing is that I found the solution to win. I'm very happy about that.

Q. At the end, he looked demoralized. Do you think you really closed him out?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't know. You have to ask him.
I played my tennis. That's all. I mean, I played good. In the last two sets, I played solid tennis. I'm very happy.

Q. How much has your life changed since Australia?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Oh, a lot. I mean, I'm more famous. When you're famous, your life changes (smiling).

Q. How has that been to deal with so far?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Okay, because I have a great team around me that helps me deal with it okay. For the moment, everything going well.

Q. Have you changed at all? Do you feel different?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Feel different, no. I don't think I'll change because, like I said, I have a great team around me that keeps me who I am, just makes me shut up if I go with a big head (smiling).
I don't feel like I change.

Q. How about changing on the court?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: On the court, no, no.

Q. Confidence?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: A bit of confidence, but I had confidence even before. I mean, you cannot go to a final without confidence, of a Grand Slam. I think the confidence I had before in me.

Q. Before when you played as the underdog, there were no real expectations. Now because you've reached a Grand Slam, people are looking at you with expectations.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: They're waiting something from me. I feel that.

Q. Does that put pressure on you?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, it's more pressure. But for the moment, I deal with it okay. Like I said, I mean, it's just the whole team thing. My team around me, they help me for everything. They help me to keep the same, to go to the matches the same way and keep my routines, my old routines.
So really I don't feel so much the pressure.

Q. Sitting with your coach, I notice there's a huge relationship between you. You look at him and you seem to really feed off him and the crowd.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, he helps me a lot. It's really nice to have somebody that you feel like best friend or a brother to you, that gives you so much confidence and so much will to win every point and be there every time, not to give up.
He's a great fighter, so I respect him a lot. He's a bit not my idol, but he's somebody that I respect a lot. So sometimes I play for him. To win a match, sometimes I do it for him. It helps me a lot.

Q. Your parents didn't come to watch you in Australia. Will they come?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't know. I don't think so, no.

Q. When you talk about your team, who is in your team?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: My coach, girlfriend, parents, the academy, my manager. Big team (smiling).

Q. Can you tell us how you prepared for this tournament, how much rest you've had since Australia?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: After Australia, I mean, I played in Marseille. I was a bit tired. I had pain a bit on the ankle. I lost to Mario. I went to Rotterdam. I got injured there. I said that's enough, maybe I have to stop. That's what I did.
I took like four or five days off, then I start practicing physically. Had a week and a half for physical, then I came here one week before or five days before. I played some practice matches. That's how I prepared. Nothing special.

Q. What was the injury?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Just the groin, ischio.

Q. Do you feel more famous now, more recognizable?

Q. Is that more fun than being overlooked a bit?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: No. Sometimes you don't have your personal life, so sometimes is not so much fun. But that's life. I mean, I will not start crying about it.

Q. Do you play Berdych next?

Q. Have you played him before?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't think so. I don't remember. Maybe in Juniors, but I don't know. I don't think so.

Q. He's the same age as you, isn't he?

Q. Are you looking forward to that match?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Of course, like every match.

Action Jackson 03-16-2006 09:42 AM

Re: Articles, News ...
After the Berdych match.

An interview with: MARCOS BAGHDATIS


6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Marcos.

Q. The guy who beat Hewitt; you must feel pretty good?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Today in tennis, everybody can beat everybody. Every match the same. I take it the same. I played really good today. I served a lot of breakpoints. I was playing really good important points, so I'm very happy that I went through easily in the second.

Q. What happened with your eye?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Like an insect went into my eye. That's all. Like a thing went into my eye. I was, like, couldn't open my eye. The doctor, he put me some liquid in my eye, then we took it out.

Q. He had a lot of breakpoint chances. Didn't make many of them.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Didn't make any of them (smiling).

Q. Was that the big difference in the match?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, like I said, I was playing well in important points. I was serving really good. He didn't take his chances. So that helped me a bit. Then second set, I just played better than him, I can say.

I mean, I went through a great victory today, so I'm very happy.

Q. In a period after you got to the Australian final, did you at some point while you were resting and relaxing think how you were going to keep it going? Did you come up with a plan for what you were going to do?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Think about? Yeah, of course, I did. It's normal thinking. When you think, it helps you stay focused and stay in your objectives. So, yeah, I can say that I thought about it, yeah.

Q. What did you think? What was your game plan to basically back up your Australian performance?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Just play my tennis. Just continue working hard, especially working hard working on my physical because I know that my game is based on my physical. So that's what I work on.

Q. Do you take offense when people in the American press refer you to as "Baggy" and the "Bag Man"? Or are those names that you value?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't know. I just play tennis. That's my job. That's what I like to do.

Q. After reaching a Grand Slam final, everything that happened to you, it would be easy to go down. You must be very pleased with the way you've come here to this event?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Maybe it's easy to go up there, but it's not easy to stay up there. I think that's where the champions -- that's where you see the champions. For the moment, I'm dealing with it well. I want to continue this way. I want to continue work hard and continue to work hard and have fun in it.

I think if I do that, if God wants, I'll stay up there.

Q. Is it important, do you think, to keep Australia in your mind or is it important to try and put that to one side? It was such a great adventure.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: It depends. I mean, Australia, you cannot forget it and you cannot take it out for me because it was amazing emotions, amazing moments for me, and it was my first time.

But, like I said, I am dealing with it well for the moment. My team around me helps me a lot. I work with great people that keep me confident, keep me willing to work hard, don't miss a match, try to fight in every match.

Q. Do you sense when you walk into the locker room now that people look at you with different eyes?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't know. I don't think so. I mean, players are nice to me. They were nice to me before. No.

Q. You are 6-0 against top 10 players. Berdych is up and down. What is the difference between the two of you?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: What do you mean, what is the difference?

Q. You've had very good results against top 10 players. Berdych has been up and down. Why would you say that is?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't really know. I don't know what Berdych does. I don't really know what wins he had.

But he's a great player. I'm a great player, too. We're the same age. I think we play great tennis, both of us. Like I said, tennis is a tough sport. You have to be there every day and fight every day. Not a lot of people can do that.

Q. Getting back to the Australian Open, halfway through the Australian Open and beyond, the feeling was you saved this year's Australian Open.


Q. You saved it.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: What do you mean I saved it (smiling)?

Q. It was starting to get, with big withdrawals or losses, you were like a breath of fresh air.


Q. Would you have considered that?


Q. How do you compare this court speed to the Australian Open?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: In Melbourne, first of all, the atmosphere is different. The weather is different. The court's a bit faster. The ball jumps a bit higher. That's all. A bit faster.

Q. What is your preference?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I don't mind. I mean, I play good here. I play good in Australia. Maybe next year I'll go to Australia, I'll lose first round. Nobody knows. I don't know. That's life. I have to accept it. Everybody does.

Q. I don't know if you've had time to make friends with Marat Safin.


Q. Do you think that his comeback is a big story around the locker room? Are people excited he's back? Players tend to like him.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: You know, I wasn't in the circuit for long, so I don't know what the players were discussing about or the atmosphere. I cannot answer that question. I mean, I'm not there for long. It's my first Masters Series. I don't really know what's going in there. I don't know.

Q. A lot of people were asking you what was happening at home during Australia. What's going on now? Are people trying to get your matches on TV? I don't know of any reporters from a Greek or Cypriot paper here.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: No, they're not here, but they're watching my matches on Greek TV, I think. The last two matches they saw on Greek television. I don't know, maybe against the winner, maybe next round, because it's a quarterfinal, it's more important, maybe there will be more people watching. Maybe will get crazy again like in Australia.

Q. Do they call you at the hotel, reporters, from Greece or Cyprus?


Q. After you, who is the most prominent athlete to ever come out of Cyprus?


Q. Besides you.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Some football players. Orcas. Do you want the names?

Q. Yes.


Q. Football player?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, football player.

Q. If you were to play Nadal, that's going to be a match that everyone would want to watch.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Me, too (smiling).

Q. Your styles are so exciting.

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, I mean, it's a great match. I mean, like I said before, I'll take it like another match and I'll try to win it, of course. I'll fight for it and that's all. That's all I can do.

Q. Are you as excited at the way he plays?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, he's a great player. He's a great sportsman. He's a great guy. He's playing great tennis. That says it all.

Q. Can you reveal the secret of why the islands of the Mediterranean produce such colorful tennis players?

MARCOS BAGHDATIS: You can ask my father about that.

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