TOPSHELF OPEN 2014
First Time Winner Spotlight: Roberto Bautista Agut
's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
by ATP Staff|
Roberto Bautista Agut captured his first tour-level title on Saturday, rallying from an early deficit against Benjamin Becker for a 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 win at the Topshelf Open. The Spaniard becomes the second first-time champion of the year after Federico Delbonis won in Sao Paulo (d. Lorenzi).
One of the ATP World Tour’s fastest-rising players in 2014, the 26 year old has soared from No. 73 in the Emirates ATP Rankings to start the year to a new career-high of No. 23 with his title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
Bautista Agut spoke to ATPWorldTour.com after his victory.
How does it feel to be holding your first ATP World Tour trophy?
I feel so happy because I've been playing very well this year, but I didn't have a trophy at home. I was focused on taking it. After the very good feelings on the first day, I got in a rhythm and got through these two difficult matches [in the semi-finals and final].
Did you ever imagine your first title would be on grass?
I did not imagine that I would win a title on grass, but it's true that I can play well here. I can play my best tennis on this surface. Last year I played very well on grass and this year I won a lot of matches to take the title.
You lost your first final last year in Chennai, did you approach this year’s final any differently?
I was playing well in Chennai, but I got injured after the first set. It's a completely different final. Here I was healthy, I could play better [even though] I was tired.
Talk about your success this week, beating three good grass-court players [Mahut, Melzer, Becker] in the final three rounds.
I know they are very good on grass and I feel I can beat good players on this surface. Now I just want to start thinking about the next week and focus on Wimbledon. I feel I can play well there.
This was your 26th match win of the season, already tying last year’s total. Talk about your success in the first half of the season.
Last year, I was playing really well at the start of the season, but the injuries didn't help me. I couldn't find my rhythm, because then I had to stop. This happened to me three times. This year I'm very healthy, feeling good physically, mentally and getting the confidence of winning a lot of matches.
You have made a steady jump in the Emirates ATP Rankings over the past three years, what is your goal for this season now that you are in the Top 25?
I just want to [stay] healthy and we will see where the ranking will be at the end of the year.
You have played well on other surfaces, do you have a favourite surface?
As a Spanish player I like to play on clay. I like to play points from the baseline and long rallies, but I feel good everywhere.
Who has been instrumental in helping you in your career?
Everybody. My coach Pepe [Vendrell] and all my team are doing really good work. My physical coach Jose Canos, my trainers Jordi [Zaragoza] and Daniel [Peris], also my family and my girlfriend. It's important. Everything has to stay like this to play well.
Who were the players you looked up to and admired growing up?
I've looked up to David Ferrer and before to Juan Carlos Ferrero. They are both from the place where I live [in Spain]. We practise when I am home and we don't have tournaments. I try to learn and do the same things they do and see how hard David works. That helps me to do better and better.