GRAND PRIX HASSAN II 2011
First-Time Winner Spotlight Pablo Andujar
by ATP Staff|
Spaniard Pablo Andujar won his first ATP World Tour title at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca after posting a decisive 6-1, 6-2 win over Italian Potito Starace in the final. ATPWorldTour.com caught up with the newly crowned champion after the trophy presentation.
How does it feel to be holding your first ATP World Tour trophy? As a young player growing up, did you dream of a moment like this?
Of course I dreamt it. It was an amazing feeling in the court when I make the last point, the last of this match. Of course I dreamt it, but I felt it could be possible after my first defeat in [the] Bucharest [final] last year. But when I came here, I didn’t think I could win the tournament. I was feeling an unbelievable sensation like I cannot describe.
Did you think you would have won your first ATP title a bit earlier in your career?
No. It was a big experience for me to play [Juan Ignacio] Chela last year in the final. That made me mature a little bit. Today, in the final, I felt I could win and I had plenty of confidence in me and that made the difference. I think every player matures at a different age, so this was my age.
Did you feel different this time than you felt in Bucharest? Did you learn something from that experience?
Of course. I tried to be more calm every point. I took the match as a normal match, as a first round match, and that made me feel better. Although I had those normal nerves before the match and also during the match, I tried after my experience in Bucharest to manage better my feelings.
There have been so many great Spanish winners over the years on the ATP World Tour. How do you feel now that you are part of that group?
It’s really unbelievable for me. It’s very, very important for me to be one of those big Spanish players. I really don’t have words to describe what I feel right now to be one of those, and it’s unbelievable. For me, I didn’t think I could. Of course before here I felt I could win, but now that I’ve finished the match and I won the tournament, it’s really amazing for me.
You only lost one set on the way to the final. You defeated top-seeded Albert Montanes in the semi-finals. Did that give you extra confidence for today?
Of course. Montanes is a player I have a lot of respect for, because he’s 22 or 24 in the world. He’s a very good tennis player on clay courts, but I felt like I could beat him although he beat me twice or three times before this tournament. It was a very difficult match for me because I didn’t beat him before. It changed a little bit my mind to make the final.
What were you happy most with your game this week?
I think I was aggressive. I took the responsibility on the important points and I think that made me grow a little bit as a tennis player.
So far you made your best results on clay. What do you have to do to show better results on other surfaces?
It was a big surprise for me beating [Fernando] Verdasco, winning as well [against Bernard] Tomic was a big [win] on hard court. After playing there in Miami made me think to have a little bit more confidence in myself on hard court. Everybody told me I could play good, I could play great tennis on hard court, but I didn’t have the confidence in myself to make it happen. And I think after Miami, I hope I will improve my game and I will beat players on hard court.
Did that make a difference for you, getting on clay? You were really aggressive, coming to the net, attacking.
I think improving the game on hard court makes you improve the game as well on clay court. It gives you lots of things that maybe can make the difference in the match against such a solid player as Starace or Montanes.
What do you consider the best part of your game?
I think I’m solid. I have a solid game. I can come to the net. I try to be physically and mentally very, very focused and very good at it and try to imitate a little bit David Ferrer.
Last year you finished in the Top 100 for the first time at No. 71 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Now with your first title what are some of the goals you set yourself?
Well, I don’t fix goal. I always try to make my game improve every practice and every match. I cannot fix a goal. I try to improve my game and listen to better players. We will see the finish at the end of this year, and then we will try to fix a goal.
Who influenced you to help you get where you are now?
For me it was a whole thing. It was a mix. My parents, my coaches, my situation and my [mentality]. I think I try to make the big step to be a better player with my new coach Jose Luis Aparisi, who’s got a lot of experience and I really have faith in what he says. He is a very important person for me.