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Radek Stepanek: The Biofile

Paes, Stepanek© Getty ImagesRadek Stepanek is lifted by doubles partner Leander Paes after their Miami triumph.

Czech Radek Stepanek, who has teamed with Leander Paes to win the Australian Open and Sony Ericsson Open doubles titles this season, talks with Scoop Malinowski for this Biofile...

First Tennis Memory: "My father, tennis coach in Karvina."
Inspirations: "My tennis inspiration - I'm taking all my inspiration from somewhere else because I see a lot of great athletes playing well in a higher number of ages. And this is what is inspiring me to do the same in my sport."
First Famous Tennis Player You Met: "Hmm, good question...Thomas Muster. He was playing an exhibition against Slava Dosedel in Czech Republic, in a town where I lived for a few years. And I think I was 12 or 13, I just had to warm him up for the exhibition. And I was badly nervous [smiles]."
Greatest Sports Moment: "I think, singles-wise, my first title, definitely, in Rotterdam (2006). And winning doubles with Leander in Australian Open. Winning a Grand Slam [title] is always a memory which stays with me forever."
Most Painful Moment: "When I got in 2006 to Top 10 - I had a great year, I felt on top of my game - and I woke up in the morning and I didn't feel my right hand. I had a dislocated disk in the neck and couldn't play tennis for six months."
Favourite Tournaments: "Grand Slam - Australian Open. ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Indian Wells. The others - Dubai, Basel."
Why Do You Love Playing Tennis: "Because I grew up playing tennis, I love the competition. I love the one-to-one; it's like in a boxing arena. The one-to-one, there is no draw. You win or lose. I like that gamble. That's the only gamble I do in my life - playing tennis. I don't do gambling in casinos and stuff. I have a passion for tennis. And it's the thing I know best in my life, so far."
Which Match Did You Feel Your Very Best: "I think that was the final of Rotterdam when I won my first title. There I played really good."
Strangest Match: "Definitely that happened in the Davis Cup, that's where all the strange things happen. As I remember it was 2007 in Prague when we played against Switzerland when they had on the team Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. And I played the final match against Wawrinka at 2-all and I was two sets to love up. And suddenly on one of my serves, my knee didn't hold up. I didn't know what happened and I had to finish that match really injured. And I don't know how, I don't know where it came from, but I was able to close out the match in the third set. And the atmosphere and everything that comes with it was just amazing feeling which I will never forget."
Three Athletes From Other Sports You Like To Watch: "Jaromir Jagr in hockey. Peter Cech in soccer, he's the goalkeeper for Chelsea. And Tiger Woods in golf."
Funniest Players Encountered: "I think Gael Monfils is very funny. I used to watch Yannick Noah in the times before, he was a little funny. Mostly the past generation, they were bringing to the game something special, something where the crowd laughed. They brought up some energy with the umpires. It was more of a show, which I like."
Current Car: "BMW."
Last Book Read: "Pavel Nedved, soccer player of Czech Republic."

Courtesy of Scoop Malinowski,

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