AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2014
Anything Is Pospisil
by ATP Staff|
Playing his first Grand Slam championship as a seeded player, Vasek Pospisil is far from fazed. It’s been a fast turnaround for the Canadian, who this time last year was sidelined with mononucleosis and outside the Top 100. But going from the hunter to the hunted has given the 23-year-old Pospisil extra confidence as he looks to step onto court and grab his opportunity with both hands.
Pospisil rocketed up the Emirates ATP Rankings in the blink of an eye last summer, when he beat Tomas Berdych en route to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal (l. to Raonic). But there’s going to be little time spent enjoying the view from the Top 30, where he currently resides after a semi-final in Chennai at the start of the year. Pospisil has already set his sights on the Top 20 in 2014.
“It turned quickly for sure,” Pospisil told ATPWorldTour.com after his first-round win at the Australian Open on Monday. “It’s one of those things that’s hard to get used to at the beginning, but I feel like I’ve settled down a little bit now and I feel like I’m in my place.
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“I’m just trying to not think too much about the consequences and results, but just do the best I can every time I get on the court and try to improve. I feel like I’ve been doing that really well lately and I’m excited about where my game is right now.
“My goals are always changing,” continued the right-hander. “The more you move up, the more you want to do. The goal last year was to finish Top 50, which I accomplished. Now that I’m ranked No. 30, we set our goal to be Top 20, which is going to be extremely difficult. It’s a lot easier said than done. But it’s always important to want to reach higher than where you are now. I think as long as I have that in mind, then I can give myself a chance to get there.”
In a confident display on Monday at Melbourne Park, Pospisil cruised past Samuel Groth to set a second-round clash with another Australian, Matthew Ebden. He is hoping to reach the third round of a major for the first time, but relishes the expectation that goes along with being seeded.
“There’s been added expectations to get used to in the past six or seven months,” said Pospisil. “But that’s actually something that I like. I don’t mind if suddenly I’m expected to beat players that six months ago I was the underdog against. It actually gives me a bit of confidence.
“It definitely feels different in the locker room. I don’t mind it at all actually! It’s kind of nice to be honest, to be seeded at a slam. I never thought this would be so quick. Going back one year ago, I had mono, and a year later I’m seeded at a Slam. It’s rewarding to see your name seeded in the draw. It changes things a little bit, but at the same time not very much because every day you go through the same routines and you try to get better and it’s pretty simple from there.”
Backing up a breakthrough year is never easy. That notion was at the forefront of Pospisil and coach Frederic Fontang’s minds when they set about their 2014 preparations in the off-season. With the game going in the right direction, more consistent aggression from the 6’4'' Pospisil, there was focus also on dealing with the target that is set to be on his back now.
“I’m in a different position now, obviously,” said Pospisil. “This is going to be the most difficult year for me. Always when you have a breakthrough, I think the year after is always a very difficult one. I knew going into the off-season that I was going to have a lot to deal with this year. I’ve had a good start so far and I trained really hard, so whatever happens now happens. I have no regrets. I prepared the best I can. I guess I’ll just see how it goes from here.”