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First-Time Winner Spotlight Martin Klizan

St. Petersburg, Russia

Klizan© Sergey NavetnyMartin Klizan defeated Fabio Fognini to win his first ATP World Tour title.

Martin Klizan dismissed Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday to win his first ATP World Tour title at the St. Petersburg Open. He is the first first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season and the first Slovakian to win a tour title since 2004. caught up with the new champion following his victory.

Final Report

What did you do well this week to put five matches together to win your first ATP World Tour title? How does it feel to be holding the trophy?
For me it's the best week I've ever played. I think I played a great week. It's pretty tough after the Davis Cup; we had tough matches Friday and Sunday. For me, it was a little bit uncomfortable to come here this week, but I was just fighting from the beginning till the end and I feel great.

It was your first ATP World Tour final, were you nervous? How did you feel before you walked on the court?
I wasn't nervous. I think the hardest match for me was against [Mikhail] Youzhny in the semis, so after that match I think I was playing pretty good. I wasn't nervous; I feel great and I was just enjoying the match.

You were coming off a 3hr., 50min., semi-final win over Youzhny. How did you feel physically?
I felt good. You could see today that I was very fit. I was fit and ready to play all three sets; I was lucky we played just two, but I was ready. I was also surprised that my body recovered from yesterday and I was ready to play. I felt great on the court.

You are the first player from Slovakia to win an ATP World Tour title since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004, how does that feel? Is he someone you looked up to growing up?
I am proud of this result because the last title was in 2004. I'm very happy for me and also the Slovakian team, Slovakian tennis and just normal people, who like tennis and like sports. I hope it's not going to be the last title. It's motivation for me and the guys who are working with me: my coach, physical coach, everybody. It's very good motivation for us.

At the US Open, you beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for your first Top 10 win and reached the fourth round. What kind of confidence did that give you coming into this week?
I don't know if I can say that I'm now more confident, but it was a big result for me and I started to understand that I can also play well on hard courts. Before, my confidence on hard courts wasn't very good, that's why I was losing many matches on hard courts easily. But then I had the good result at the US Open and I started to have better confidence. Hopefully this result in St. Petersburg will also change things a little bit and I feel good.

You're on your way to finishing in the Top 50 for the first time, what are your ranking goals for the rest of the season?
I think I'm already Top 40 at the end of the year. The motivation for me wasn't to finish "Top something". For me, the motivation was to be seeded at the next Australian Open. I'm still fighting for that and I hope I can do it.

What would you say are the strengths of your game and your favourite surface?
My favourite surface is clay, for sure. It doesn't matter even if I win the US Open, clay would still be my best and favourite surface. I grew up on clay, that's why. I think my forehand is my strongest shot.

Who has been instrumental in your development and assisting you with your career?
My coach, Karol Kucera, and my fitness coach, Juraj Dulik. I am also working with a physiology coach who has made me insoles. Last year I had problems with my feet and had to retire in a couple of matches.

When you're not playing tennis, what are some of your hobbies and interests?
When I'm not playing tennis I play a lot of floorball. It's like hockey, but the stick is very light. Sometimes we play ice hockey and football.

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