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Tommy Haas Q&A: Walking In Memphis

Memphis, U.S.A.

Haas© Memphis Tennis/Ron AngleTommy Haas won his first ATP World Tour title in Memphis 13 years ago.

With his performance in San Jose last week, reaching the SAP Open final, 34-year-old Tommy Haas returned to the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since 3 May 2010.

Now, the German has an opportunity to continue riding his form at a tournament he knows well, the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships. In Memphis, Haas has triumphed three times and with his win Wednesday over Evgeny Donskoy, the sixth seed improved to 28-9 at the ATP World Tour 500 event. sat down with Haas to discuss the reasons behind his success in Memphis, favourite match at the tournament, the local restaurant scene and more…

Here in Memphis, you have a history of performing well. Your first ATP World Tour title came here in 1999. Reflect on that moment for us...
I made it to a couple finals before that. I remember this one was right before my 21st birthday. I came in feeling pretty well. Beating someone like Jim Courier in the final was special. He was someone I looked up to and admired on and off the court. He was really professional, which was important to me. To win that first title here was like getting the monkey off your back and it was a great moment.

You have three titles in total here. Why do you think you’ve been able to perform so well here in comparison to other indoor hard events?
I’ve always been successful indoors in general. I’ve had some titles at the European indoor tournaments. It’s a surface I like to play on. Here, the conditions play in my favour in some ways. I like coming here because it’s close to Florida, where I live. It has a nice atmosphere too. This club is different than any other tournament.

What is your favourite Memphis match you were part of?
I’ve had a lot of pretty good matches. The one that comes to mind is the 2007 final when I played Andy Roddick. It was one of those matches where everything clicked. I remember it was just the second tournament where my fiancée came to watch me play. That was special.

Given Memphis’ restaurant scene, do you have a particular place you like to eat at or do you tend to mix it up each night?
I’m not so superstitious anymore. I definitely used to be. Around the racquet club, there are a lot of great restaurants to choose from. I used to only go to ‘Folk’s Folly’ and then there was another time where I would only eat at ‘Houston’s’. ‘Corky’s’ up the road has some of the best barbecue sandwiches you’ll ever eat in your life. And there’s a ‘Whole Foods’ just across the street as well, in case you want to eat a little healthier. So there’s a lot to pick from, which is a good thing.

Last week, your fiancée Sara and daughter Valentina were able to watch you make a run to the final in San Jose. Do they travel with you often or is it selective?
It’s selective. I don’t want my daughter to spend too much time at a hotel. I know she has it much better at home with family and friends with her routine. We pick the right tournaments to ensure she has a good time on the road.

And is Valentina more like her mom or dad at this point?
At this point, she seems to be more like her dad! 

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