BMW OPEN 2011
Haas To Begin Comeback In Munich
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Tommy Haas wants one more crack at the ATP World Tour.
The former World No. 2 is returning at the BMW Open in Munich this week after a 14-month absence. Haas had right hip surgery in February last year, as well as right elbow surgery the following month, and hasn’t played on the ATP World Tour since falling in the first round of the 2010 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.
He is approaching his comeback with caution, and has opted to enter only the doubles in Munich, partnering Czech Radek Stepanek, but is eager to assess where he’s at physically. “I’m looking forward to the tests of seeing how my body feels, playing competitively again,” the German told ATPWorldTour.com. “Going out there is something you can’t really practise, so being tight and kind of nervous, and wanting to win again, I need to see how that feels and also see how my body responds.”
The ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament is the perfect place for Haas to begin his comeback, giving the German a chance to test the waters in his home country. “I’m always compensating with something else, and then something else goes wrong, so it’s nice to be back in Munich, to see my family, my team and the people that take good care of me, doctors and physios,” Haas said.
Haas is taking his return to the court one tournament at a time, and plans to enter singles draws in the near future. “I’m hoping to see what it’s like, and hopefully make a return in singles the next few weeks.”
The lengthy layoff hasn’t been all bad news for the Hamburg native. This past November, his fiancée Sara gave birth to the couple’s first child, Valentina. It’s provided Haas with a perspective of life away from tennis. “I’ve really been enjoying life. I became a dad five five and a half months ago, which was obviously great. My daughter is everything that really matters to me now,” proclaimed the 12-time ATP World Tour singles titlist.
He added, “Timing wise, being away and off, it wasn’t that bad. I missed competing and playing… at the same time, life opened a lot of different doors for me. It’s been great and a thrill.”
At 33 years of age, the German knows the clock is ticking, and will make the most of his return. “Time goes by really fast too. I can’t believe it’s been 14-15 months again since I actually played competitively.”
His ambition is clear – he wants to remain physically fit, long enough so Valentina can understand what her father’s life was about before she was born. “I’d like to see one more time what I can do, if I can stay healthy and play a little bit, it would be great if my daughter could maybe see me play in a year or two, just at least a couple times, to see what I actually did before I stopped completely,” said Haas.
Plagued by numerous injuries in the past, he knows his wishes may not come true, but will make sure his daughter knows what he did for a living.
“If my body doesn’t allow it, she’s going to have to take a look at some old tapes or see me on the senior tour!”
Haas and Stepanek open their doubles campaign in Munich against Sweden’s Simon Aspelin and Australian Paul Hanley. The German and Czech have partnered each other on three occasions, with their best showing coming at the SAP Open in San Jose two years ago when they won the title.