SAP OPEN 2013
Tommy Haas: "Anything Is Possible"
San Jose, U.S.A.
by ATP Staff|
The 34-year-old German, who turned professional 17 years ago, said he's continuing to experience some of the most memorable moments of his life. "I’m still experiencing some of my best success," said Haas. "I could have easily thrown in the towel after my hip surgery. There were many times where I thought there was no way I was coming back from that," he said of the surgery that kept him sidelined for most of 2010.
"Even when I did come back, I was always a step slow. And when you are a step slow in this game, you do crazy things on the court that you are not supposed to do," Haas mused. "But if you have a good environment around you and people that believe in you and have fun, enjoy life and keep motivating you and pushing you, that’s also huge.”
The right-hander believes age is just a number. "I really love playing the sport on so many levels," Haas said. "When you compete, you go through so many mixed emotions, highs and lows."
Haas, who held an Emirates ATP Ranking of 168 a year ago, said he was surprised with his results from April 2012 onwards. In June, he won the Halle title after defeating Roger Federer in the final. In July and August, Haas was a finalist at the bet-at-home Open in Hamburg and the Citi Open in Washington.
"I got some confidence back in my game. I [feel] like I can actually physically get better, which is so important when you are out there for two hours playing at a high level," he said, adding that tennis has evolved into a more competitive and athletic sport. "For me, it’s going out and competing and trying to win matches. Just trying to improve is such a goal of mine," said the veteran.
The World No. 22 said he won't miss the hard work of keeping in shape when he eventually retires. "My warm-up sessions are much longer before I even go on the court," Haas admitted. "I have to maintain my body at a high level [and] a lot comes with it."
"As you get older and wiser, you feel like you know what you have to do," said the German who acknowledges that he moves slower than he did a decade ago if he feels any tweaks in his body.
The right-hander said Friday's victory was special because his daughter, who is learning how to cheer him on, was in San Jose. "I know she probably won’t remember watching me play today, but maybe I can continue on playing and she’ll get to be around a couple of these tournaments and see me play competitively at a high level...it’s fun to have her around."
His ultimate goal, both for his daughter and for himself, is to win a Grand Slam. "Obviously, I know how tough it is, especially with the top four or five guys. You have to be realistic because the fact is those guys have dominated Grand Slam tennis and even the Masters series for the past eight years," he said.
"There haven’t been many people besides them lifting those trophies. Maybe they are just five or ten per cent better than the rest of us [but] it doesn’t mean there is never a chance," Haas said.
"I fancy myself having a better chance in best-of-three sets than best-of-five, especially against the top five guys [but] you have that vision, those dreams that continue," he added. "You never give up. When you are on the court, anything is possible.”