BNP PARIBAS OPEN 2012
Andujar Embraces Djokovic Match-Up
Indian Wells, U.S.A.
by Alison Kim|
Pablo Andujar is relishing the opportunity to play defending champion Novak Djokovic for a place in the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals. The 26-year-old Spaniard, who is poised to reach a career-high ranking with his performance in the desert, is enjoying his best ATP World Tour Masters 1000 result to date.
ATPWorldTour.com caught up with Andujar ahead of his match with the World No. 1.
You made your ATP World Tour Masters 1000 debut at the BNP Paribas Open last year, and now you’ve achieved your best Masters 1000 showing here by reaching the fourth round. Is this becoming a special place for you?
I’m surprised because it’s not normal for me to beat three big players and I’m very, very happy and I’m trying to enjoy every match. I’ve always loved the places where you’re calm, and this is a place where you’re really calm. There’s no rush, no big buildings. You’re just focusing in the matches, the place, then go to the hotel. That’s the most important, maybe it’s making me play as good as I’m playing.
Has dining at Mamma Gina’s been a factor to your success this week?
I know this restaurant, it’s three days already I’ve been going every night, so I’ll try to continue to keep it like that. (laughs)
Prior to this week, you had seven wins on hard courts and now you’ve added three more. What do you think has made the difference?
I think every year I’m improving in hard courts, even if I almost try to play all the matches on clay court. You know when the years are passing, I think I’m playing better in hard court and improving some things like the serve and some steps that are different than on clay. I think the years and probably the mentality have changed.
You’ve got Novak Djokovic up next. The last you met was in 2007 at Umag, when you were ranked No. 182 in the world. Do you take more confidence into this match, now that you’re ranked No. 45 and have an ATP World Tour title under your belt?
I’m a better player right now, but he is also a better player than he was when I played him, so I’ll try to enjoy it. Novak, I’ve known him since we were young, he’s one younger than me. I’ve known him since we were 15 years old. I’ll try to enjoy it. He’s World No. 1, so nothing to lose and I’ll try to play as best as I can, enjoy the atmosphere and the moment to play in the last 16 round against such a good player as Novak.
You should reach a career-high ranking with your result here this week. How do you feel about that and what other goals do you have?
I’m really excited about that. I’m not focusing on my ranking and the points because you can win, but then afterward you have to defend so it’s a little bit of pressure you’re putting on yourself. I try not to think about that, just play every point, play every match and give everything every match and try to fight as much as possible. That’s the way I think and I try to play.
Of course I have set goals, but it has been the first year I finished in the Top 50. To maintain that is not easy. I think if I try to keep that level, probably my ranking will improve, but I don’t want to fix a number.
You speak four languages. If you could pick up a fifth language, what would it be and why?
Well, I can say I speak five because Valenciano, it’s like Catalan, the language we have in the region I live. But I would love to speak German, but it’s too difficult for me. I’ve always said I’d like to go to classes, but I have no time and right now I’m okay with this four or five languages.
Tournament: Barcelona. The atmosphere in Barcelona and being in Spain, you feel like it’s a real clay tournament, it’s a great club, you’re at home. My girlfriend is from Barcelona.
Place To Visit: Paris. I love the city. I love walking around Paris, all the places there are. I think it’s a great city to visit. I have a cousin that lives there so I really love it.
Food: Tapas. Being Spanish, I think tapas are the best food ever.
Music: Spanish music, like Amaral. And also, I like Maroon 5 type of groups, The Coors. I listen to very different kinds of music. I listen to flamenco sometimes, so it depends on my mood.
Movie: The most recent one is The Fighter, with the two brothers. It’s something new. If I have to think, there are a lot of movies that I like.
La Sombra del Viento (The Shadow of the Wind) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It’s a very, very good book. I also like historic ones - new history, but not long, like 100 years ago, 80 years ago. He’s talking about Barcelona, about the place.