Posted on May 16, 2005
Albert Costa: Tennis-X 5 Questions
By Richard Vach, Tennis-X.com Senior Writer
In Hamburg Tennis-X cornered Al Costa, who was a couple weeks removed from his statement in the early goings of the 2005 claycourt season explaining he was no longer a threat to regain Top 10 status or to win another Roland Garros title.
The 29-year-old Costa details the injury that could bring his career to an end, balancing tour play with the family demands of twin daughters, and who he's tipping this year at the French.
Tennis-X: Many people were surprised when you came out and said you could not reach the Top 10 again, and that you no longer saw yourself as a French Open favorite. Is this coming from age, why did you make such a statement?
Costa: Well I think it kind of goes with the age. Physically I am not feeling 100 percent. I have problems in my left knee, but I am fighting and I want to play my best. I am here and I am playing the tournament and I am on the tour, so I hope that my knee stops bothering me and I can stand the pain.
X: What is it exactly with the knee that has been bothering you and how long has it been?
Costa: Well it has been a lot of time, and it does worse and it goes better sometimes. But now for me it is about motivation, I am motivated to play tournaments and I want to win as many matches as I can.
X: Do you see yourself having a playing limit with age, or do you play as long and you are motivated and enjoying it?
Costa: No, a lot of older players are top playing, enjoying themselves and having fun, winning matches -- why would I want to retire when I am enjoying myself on the court, winning matches? I love to play tennis.
X: How are the (twin) girls?
Costa (smiling): The girls (laughing), the girls are great, now we are having so much fun.
X: Has that changed the way that you have approached playing the tour, how you have set up your schedule?
Costa: Yes, yeah, that's true. I have been playing all the tournaments where I live, and I came to the USA for Indian Wells and Miami, then I was at home, and I know this decision was a little bit long for me, but I think I play five, six tournaments less than before, but it makes me feel comfortable.
X: And how about your top three for the French?
Costa: Well of course (Guillermo) Coria and (Rafael) Nadal, Nadal Coria, and, uhhhhh, (Roger) Federer, I think he is also one of the favorites.
Costa won the Roland Garros title in 2002 and the Masters Series-Hamburg in 1998 among his 12 career titles, and was runner-up as MS events in Rome (1998) and Monte Carlo (1996). He was married a week after raising the Roland Garros trophy three years ago, which was a little more than a year after the birth of twin daughters Claudia and Alma.