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Joachim Johansson Blogs From Adelaide

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Saturday, January 6, 2007

Well, I’m finally out of the tournament, losing today to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. And you know, even with this round robin format I think this time I’m finally out of the tournament! I can't see a way back now!

It was certainly tough having to play two matches today because of yesterday’s rain and I have a little secret to pass onto you all. Since Monday I have had problems with my stomach. In fact to tell the truth I think I have spent as much time on the toilet as on the court. I just couldn’t eat or drink anything. In one match I tried to, but I just couldn’t and I finished up having goose bumps on the court. That night at the hotel I’ve never felt worse in my life. I got really dehydrated and I was thinking about going to hospital. I couldn’t even open a bottle of water. But I decided to stay at the hotel and went to bed with my tracksuit on and I was still shivering. In the morning I couldn’t sit up in bed and my girlfriend had to help me.

I went to see the tournament doctor and he sent me to the hospital to get an IV. I did that, but the last three matches I’ve really been struggling, but somehow I’ve made it through.

I have another problem and that is I know have an infected blister on my foot. The blood and fluid is so deep under the skin that I can’t get it out and it is very hard to walk.

I hope you’ll forgive me for not letting you in on this secret, but I didn’t want my opponents to know my problems!

I was struggling in the semifinal today, but it was live on TV and I like Adelaide and everybody here is so nice so I was determined to give it a go. I stayed out there as long as I could, even though I didn’t feel so good. I just did the best I could.

Now I am going to Sydney, but with the way my foot feels I’m not sure if I can play. I still have problems with my stomach too. It will be the first time there for my girlfriend and coach, so maybe we can do some sightseeing and take a little break. My main goal now is certainly the Australian Open in Melbourne and I really hope I am fit for that.

Melbourne will be my first Grand Slam event since Wimbledon in 2005 and I have a lot of happy memories there. I’m really looking forward to it with all the Swedes who go there to cheer us on. I remember when I qualified in 2003 I went out in the tournament to play Mardy Fish on a small court that had only two rows of seats on each side. They where all full of Swedes and they sang the national anthem. A very nice memory.

Those fans got me through one of my toughest matches there too. I beat Lopez 13-11 in the fifth set and even though I was cramping, they kept me going. I didn’t think I could break him but I knew he had trouble breaking me so I knew it would go for a while. Finally at 11-all he made a few mistakes and I could go on and serve it out.

That match finished at about 1 am in the morning. My next match was against Andre Agassi. I remember I was cramping during my warm up for that match!

I walked out on a hot sunny centre court without a cloud in the sky and I knew I was in for a very tough challenge. I served 51 aces that day (a record) but somehow still lost in four sets! I must admit my body wasn’t feeling too good after that tournament.

I must say however that playing here in Adelaide has been great. I’ve enjoyed being back on the tour and playing with the best guys again. This was great preparation for Melbourne.

I also want to say that it has been great writing the blog and I really hope I can do it again one day. Thanks to you all for reading it.

Well now I am off to eat at a Mexican restaurant, the same one I celebrated my win at in Adelaide two years ago.

I promise you one thing though-----I won’t be eating anything spicy!!

Pim Pim

Friday, January 5, 2007

Ah ha! I think I’ve found a way to win a round robin tournament by losing four matches and winning just three! You have to be a lucky loser in qualifying, a lucky loser in main draw elimination and then lose both matches in round robin, but the other two guys both have to pull out before they play each other!! Giorgio [Di Palermo] from the ATP hasn’t got back to me yet on this, but I think I’ll make it my plan for round robins!

Actually, here in Adelaide, I’m the only player to win through to the quarters in round robin without winning two matches. I had to rely on the other two guys to get me through. I hope that [Florent] Serra recovers from his sickness or injury, but I must say that I was cheering for [Gilles] Simon to win that match, but of course I was not cheering to loudly. But I really wanted to get through.

Things are going very well here for me in Adelaide as I make my comeback on the ATP Tour. My blisters on my right toes are now getting better and I can walk on my foot again and the rain delay today allowed me to get an extra days rest. This week everything seems to be going my way. I’m looking forward to winning two matches here tomorrow after the rain delay.

Last night I went to Henley Beach to celebrate reaching the quarterfinals. It’s always great to reach the quarterfinals but it was an unusual way to reach a quarterfinal after losing a match and I had to rely on the other two guys, so I thank them for getting through.

I went to the gym today for my warm up and then I went and hit in the rain. Despite the rain I felt fine and my rhythm was starting to come back after the first few days where I didn’t feel so good. It has been hot here but today was more humid and sweaty. For four or five weeks my coach hasn’t missed a shot when practicing with me but today he couldn’t put a ball in the court! Obviously he doesn’t like the humidity. Maybe I should take him to the US Open in New York to get used to it!

My coach is also a little disappointed because his head has become a little sun burnt! I think he wants to complain about the sunscreen he has been using. The problem is he went down from 35 spf to 30. I’m hoping to win here and claim my fourth ATP title not only for myself, but everybody reading this blog. My coach did a special dance in Sweden in February last year when he was home and a friend secretly video taped it, while pretending to send text matches. He promised me he will let me put the dance on the web, but ONLY if I win! His best friends have the dance on their phones and whenever they feel a bit down, they look at it and it always gives them a laugh and cheers them up.

This year I want to play more doubles but I have to think about my body. Even with the shorter doubles format it still takes the time and effort to prepare before and even if it was just a two-minute match it still takes the time. In the future when I have control of my body I want to play more doubles.

My favorite player to play doubles with is Jonas Bjorkman. I still remember our victory in Davis Cup against Australia in Adelaide in 2004. I remember we won 7-5 in the fifth and I hit a second serve and break point down in the fifth set. I hit it at 245 kilometres per hour at Todd Woodbridge and he still doesn’t know which side it went down!

I was supposed to play with Jonas at the Athens Olympics but he got injured playing soccer/tennis on court and he then lost in singles to Mardy Fish, losing the first set 6-7 before pulling out injured. I would love to have played doubles with him there and I still give him a hard time about that injury when I see him. Now he has promised to play with me at the Olympics in 2008 and 2012! He’s only 35 so he should be in good shape, even for 2012! If we do well in 2012 we’ll see what we want to do after that! But I really do like the Olympics and want to do well there.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow having had to hang around all day because of the rain.

Pim Pim

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Straight after my match [against Gilles Simon] last night I went and rode on a bike for 20 minutes and had a quick stretch. It is good to get the lactic acid away from the body, it helps a lot I think, I haven’t always done it but I am trying to do it as much as possible, and if there is not a bike around I try to go for a little jog, not very hard just so I feel better the next day. Then Stephen from the ATP was waiting for me and he took me all over the place for various activities but I enjoyed it.

I did an interview for the French newspaper L’Equipe, then I did a television interview for the ATP Tennis Show and then went to the sponsors’ tents to chat with sponsors who were having dinner and then after that I did an interview with a Swedish newspaper.

Before I did the last interview, my girlfriend Jenny, my coach Johan and physio Totte wanted to go back to the hotel after one hour of hanging around. They said they were going and I told them no I need to do another thing and they said come on we want to have dinner, don’t you want to have dinner!!! I’m like I really want to have dinner but it was tough when I had to do stuff. Even though it was around two and a half hours after my match to go home and have dinner, but it was fine as I actually felt like I was out of the tournament, but today Simon won – so I am still in!!

My ‘family’ went out to dinner at La Tombola for the first time. The owner seemed to know me as had my autograph from when I won the tournament two years ago so that was pretty funny. I got a free meal and yes, it tasted even better because of that. I seem to have been the last player to eat there this week; everyone has been going there every night. It was a little bit outside of town and even though it was 10:30pm, I really enjoyed it.

Today, I was really keen to run into Robert Lindstedt and my coach to see if they had read the blog. It turns out that Robert had as he filled up my bag with around 15 towels. That was the best thing he could do as revenge ;) He was laughing. He didn’t really want to tell me the real story behind it as he said he can tell me on Monday, when I don’t have the power of the blog, perhaps I should buy him a physio for a week!!!

Before watching the Serra-Simon match I had a hit when it was about 40°C and then went to try and have a quiet massage. Mr Djokovic and his coach were kicking a football about in the locker room. It’s dangerous to be there – Novak almost hit me on the head! I don’t know if he thinks he could be a professional football player, but after what I saw and how scared I felt – I know what my opinion is!!!

I know Florent [Serra] and Gilles a little bit. It is always tough seeing players you know playing in the heat. I watched their match and saw them trying to battle it out. Serra put everything on the line and Simon also struggled with the heat. Maybe if it was another match, in normal circumstances without the Hybrid 32 Player Round Robin, perhaps they may have kept playing. Serra played well in the first set, but then it turned around. Both looked as if they might quit, but it was a little shock to see Serra quit due to sickness. For me it is nice, I picked up maximum points and some extra money. I am through to the quarterfinals.
Novak just walked past – I think he wants to jump into my blog!!!

When Jenny was in the hotel there was an electricity cut, probably due to the heat of around 40C. She had been training in the morning and then returned the car at the airport as we thought we might leave tomorrow. My coach and I were already onsite and waiting to go and watch the match, but when Jenny was back at the hotel, the room blacked out. She was a little bit stuck up there. She couldn’t walk down 23 floors, as there was no lifts or lights on the stairs.

It reminds me of a similar thing during the 2003 US Open. I was on the 50th floor sharing a hotel room with Robin Soderling. All the lights went off in Manhattan. I was there in my room by myself, and I was on my computer and the room was dark, but I only noticed when my battery went down. I walked down the stairs in complete darkness – I had to use my mobile phone light to direct me. That was tough. My mobile phone went flat of course. One day later the lights came back on.

Well I hope everyone is enjoying reading my blog this week. Wish me luck for my quarterfinal tomorrow!

Pim Pim

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Hi Everyone,

As I had a very relaxing day yesterday, topped off with a nice dinner with “my family” – coach Johan, physio Totte and girlfriend Jenny – I woke up feeling happy and ready to go!!

We had breakfast at the hotel. I had as usual yoghurt with cereal, bread and of course the fruit that is so good here. Last time here in Adelaide, two years ago, my parents were here with me, and I know they would like to be here now as well. They like travelling, the like the sun (who doesn’t in Sweden this time of the year!!), and they love me!! (Read with a sense of irony...)

So, in the mornings I usually have a few text messages on the phone from friends and family in Sweden (its night time for them), which also makes for a good start to the day!

Next I’m off to the tennis courts for a warm up and hit with my coach Johan. He is still in good shape since he only retired from playing himself a couple of months ago. I really enjoy the warm weather and the sun, but during a match day I try to stay out of the sun as much as possible and to drink a lot of water. But I don’t try to be like my coach – who rubs his face at least every 2 hours with what I suspect is total sun block.

If his skin even comes close to a suntan this trip, I will be very surprised and he would probably consider this trip a total failure even if I win the Australian Open!!!

He also makes sure all of us know how to protect ourselves from the sun…1. Shade. 2. Hat. 3. Sunglasses. 4. Sunscreen, and 5. Protective clothing. He repeats this list like it is some kind of holy mantra :)

When I came back to the hotel I continued to plan my schedule for 2007, something Johan and I started to work on yesterday (while Jenny had a massage after a tough workout at the track).

When Jenny came back from the beach, we went out for a lunch in town. It is nice to get away from the club for a while when I play so late, - not before 5.30pm today!!

I really like this tournament, not only because I won it two years ago, even though that leaves some special memories! The hotel is located in town, but only 5 minutes walk from the courts. The surroundings are beautiful with the parks and the river. But best of all is the tournament directors – Peter Johnston and Mark Woodforde. Since we arrived early I’ve seen them in action from day one – working with their bare hands! Running, sweating, wearing shorts (not the usual suit and tie-directors), carrying stuff, even doing some light construction, talking on the phone, answering my questions, trying to figure out the hybrid 32 (round robin)…crying… (no they weren’t actually crying – but it did sound good in writing).

The round robin format keeps my coach and I busy trying to come up with new questions to harass Giorgio (Di Palermo, ATP Tour Manager) with. I think I’ve come up with a theory in which you can lose 4(!?) times and still win the tournament!! More about that tomorrow…!

Before my match today when my physio Totte was taping my foot, my friend Robert Lindstedt was telling me how badly he also wanted a physio travelling with him. I said: “If you also fly economy class, you’ll afford to bring your own. That’s when he got his new nickname: Slipsen (The Tie), since flying business class – but you can also use his old nickname – which he likes – BRAD, (I promised him to not write BRAD’s surname, but he is a famous actor and he is married to Angelina Jolie).

I won my match 6-4, 7-5 against Gilles Simon. So tomorrow me and my coach/bodyguard Johan will watch the match between Simon and Florent Serra to make sure that Simon will do his best to beat his doubles partner and friend, even though he has no chance to reach the quarterfinal. For me it’s enough if Simon wins the match to get to quarterfinals on Friday, and have a shot at the title.

I hope you are all cheering for Gilles tomorrow, these 10 extra points mean a lot to me! And the best part is that I can earn them not risking another injury…!

Later
Pim Pim

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

First up, why the nickname Pim-Pim? When I was born my brother, Niclas, was three years old and he couldn’t pronounce Joachim. He could only manage ‘Joa-Pim’. There is a candy in Sweden called ‘Pim-Pim’ so that is how I got the nickname. Now everyone calls me Pim-Pim, but my brother calls me Joachim!

I haven’t heard a lot of gossip from players in the off-season, but whenever I get together with Thomas [Johansson] and Jonas [Bjorkman] they always rib me. But I get back at them too. I think Thomas is on the ATP Players Council, so I’ll be talking to him about the Round Robin format.

The Swedish players try to go out for dinner now and again, but they have girlfriends, wives and kids. So it is not as easy. When I played the futures and challenger circuit it felt like a family travelling around, but these days on the ATP circuit everyone seems to be doing their own thing. The doubles guys don’t have too many people around them, such as coaches, physios etc. If everyone has a girlfriend and coach with them, then when you are on your own they won’t be asking you out for dinner.

Last night I was a little tired after the match, having spent a lot of time in the sun, so I returned to the hotel for a massage and then room service with Jenny. It was good to spend some time together.

Jenny is a 100-meter hurdler for Sweden. She competed in the 2006 European Championships in Gothenburg and made the final. She also came second in the European Indoors and raced in the Athens Olympics in 2004.

As it was a day off today I had a relaxing start with breakfast with Jenny, my coach and physio. Followed by some cards and onto lunch at the club. I have talked to a few players and given my racquets to the stringers.

It’s tough to say which player is in the best shape. Peter Luczak and Chris Guccione have been playing well here this week. Dominik Hrbaty always plays well at the start of the year. Although he has lost both of his round robin matches I have heard he has been practising a lot. No one is looking muscle-bound on court, but I know I’m in good shape having done 18 months of fitness work.

When I’ve got some spare time I never spend too much time on the Internet. I go on to check my emails, the [ATP] Players Zone and read Sweden’s two biggest newspapers, but I only do so when I have something to do. I text message friends more than I email, because I always keep my phone in my pocket and don’t always bring my laptop.

However, I do really like to play golf. I’m decent my handicap is six. I didn’t play for almost two years but did so at the start of last year in Monaco. The first 12 or 13 holes I was one-under, then had two bad holes and felt the ball wasn’t dropping. I began to lose interest so didn’t keep the score. It’s always the same story. I really want to have the best results, but my short game lets me down. I’m not sure if I would have liked to be a professional golfer.

I’d like to play more golf, but the way my shoulder has been the last few years it has been tough. When I stop the tennis, for sure I will play more.

I had wanted to go into town, but it is too hot. I think I will spend time at the hotel, drinking plenty of water in preparation for my next match.

Pim Pim

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year! There weren’t any attacks from kangaroos and emus last night. I can’t remember any dreams. I slept soundly.

Last night we went to the players’ party at the hotel. My girlfriend, Jenny, my new coach, Johan Landsberg, my trainer, Totte, and Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt, joined me for dinner. Lindstedt was sucking in the helium from the balloons and was pretty funny.

I came back at 10pm and one hour later I was asleep. So I did not see in the New Year and any of the fireworks. I would have loved to stay up but I was tired. I needed to get up early this morning.

My mobile telephone started buzzing at 8am with text messages from friends and family wishing me a Happy New Year. Due to the time difference to Sweden, they likely kept going when I was on court playing my match.

This year I am working with a new coach, Johan. He is very experienced, he knows everyone and is good to hit with. He didn’t quit too long ago; in fact his last match was in Stockholm. That match, myself and Thomas Johansson were due to play Jonas Bjorkman and John McEnroe in the first round. But Thomas found out that his wife [Gisella] was going to give birth the next morning, so we pulled out. I telephoned Johan and said: “You’re in!” He had about three hours to prepare. He lost, partnering Andreas Vinciguerra.

I have to tell you another funny story about Johan. When I was turning 18, I played juniors at Melbourne. Vinciguerra was playing, then there was his coach, with Aspelin and Landsberg sitting down too. I came along and watched. I didn’t know these guys were playing, I had heard of the names but did not know them. They had just finished college. So I asked Johan stupid questions like “what are you doing here? How long are you staying?”… Now he is my coach! I thought he was a tourist. We joke about it now and again.

I played an exhibition tournament at the end of the year, where we each played two round robin matches in a group then onto the final. I got through the group. For sure it is different. I don’t love the system, because I think when you are out – you are out.

After my match against Florent Serra today, I was disappointed.

I didn’t use any ice to cool down during the match. I like the heat, but perhaps I will drink a little more water next time. The temperature was 39°C. When I walked out my mouth was a little dry and found it difficult to swallow fluids initially. My girlfriend and the others in the box were in the shade. It would have been funny to seen their faces had they been in the sunlight.

I played well for the first set and a half, then had chances for the break but lost my momentum. But afterwards it means that I am very keen to win my second round robin match here for 20 points. Obviously if I beat Gilles Simon two sets to love, then he might not have a chance to qualify. We’ll then see how friendly the two Frenchman are!

My girlfriend and Totte, my physio, have never been to Australia. Johan has been here as a tourist in 2000, but Totte has slept the last two night since he has been here. He has never been outside Europe, but he has found the time difference no problem at all. :-)

Pim Pim

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hello from Adelaide! I arrived in Australia on December 23, coming in via Vienna, Kuala Lumpar and Sydney. My girlfriend, Jenny, and I missed the plane in Sydney.

We had to go to a hotel and overslept, missing our scheduled flight. We then got up and took the earliest bus and took the earliest flight possible. Not the best preparation, but it was good to get here earlier.

When we left Sweden it was 8°C, normally it is –20°C when I leave in December. The first day we were here it was 18°C. Not too bad. It’ll be almost 40°C here tomorrow. I normally handle the heat pretty well. I really like it as the ball goes faster and with my game hopefully I can make my opponent run a lot and perhaps get frustrated by standing in the heat.

Since arriving I have gone to a lot of different restaurants. I went to the airport twice, to pick up my coach on the 26th and my physio yesterday. Last night we went to Henley Beach to a Thai restaurant, when the sun was setting. Two days ago, when I had a day off, we went to the zoo – around 20 minutes away – to see kangaroos and koalas.

Despite being kept in an enclosure, my girlfriend, my coach and myself saw emus hunting kangaroos. At one stage the kangaroos were coming towards us. We leapt behind a tree, not knowing what to do, my coach and I were grabbing one another in panic. We left very quickly out of the gate. I like animals but not when they get too close and become aggressive.

Christmas Eve is the big day in Sweden, so Christmas Day was pretty quiet. Everything was closed, but we went to try to eat somewhere. I hit once and did one session of fitness.

Before leaving for Australia, I had a few days with my girlfriend’s family and then spent some time with my family before a little Christmas celebration here in the warmth. In Sweden, although there was no snow, it gets dark at around 2:30pm.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve, but I have another match tomorrow against Florent Serra in the Round Robin stage so I will go home, prepare and have a massage. I know when I haven’t played too many matches in a while you do get stiff.

I don’t think I will be awake at midnight, as I will hit pretty early at 9am tomorrow. When I have not played matches, I need to prepare 100 per cent. Having had all the operations I have had, I do not want to stuff it up by going out the night before a match.

Whenever you come into a new year, you want to start well and get matches under your belt. For me I have not seen many of the guys, apart from when I was in Madrid and Stockholm. Everyone is rusty with a lack of matches; they think they are doing well in practice and are healthy, but in a match situation it is different. I have played an exhibition in Austria a few weeks back, but have not played competitively for two months. That isn’t too long for me. I am used to year breaks.

I try to come first in the morning and I probably leave last at night. Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson always rib me about that. I may be playing last at night and they could play first thing in the morning, but we always try to warm-up and hit together.

I enjoy hanging out in the players’ lounge and trying to catch up and see what has been going on in the last year. Many people ask me about the shoulder. That is not surprising, they care. The players saw I won a few matches at the end of last year and if I win a few over the coming weeks, then the question will not be asked too much. When I beat Rafael Nadal in Stockholm in October, everyone said I was back. Not yet. I expect to get inflammation in the shoulder, my body will take damage but I have gotten used to these questions. I have a long way to go. To play these matches day-in day-out will take a lot of dedication. I have got to prove myself this year.

Of course Adelaide is the first ATP tournament to employ the Hybrid Round Robin format. I have to admit I was a little skeptical when I first heard about it. But having won my Main Draw Elimination match [against Lukas Dlouhy] today, I have guaranteed myself two round robin matches. It felt like I was playing last round of qualies today, but it is good to try something new.

Wish me luck tomorrow. Happy New Year.

Pim Pim

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