First-Time Winner Spotlight: Damir Dzumhur
How does it feel to be standing with the trophy and a first-time ATP World Tour winner?
It feels great, obviously first title for me and having that trophy with me. It's really a great feeling and the best memory of my life definitely.
Was this something you dreamed about growing up and playing tennis as a junior?
It was definitely one of my dreams when I was young, when I was playing as a kid. Playing big tournaments and winning one of them, which the St. Petersburg Open definitely is. Yeah, it was one of my dreams. And now when that that dream has come true I will probably try to get something bigger.
Did you go in with a different approach from your first ATP World Tour final a month ago in Winston-Salem?
It was definitely a different approach from my first ATP World Tour final in Winston-Salem. In Winston-Salem I was a little bit more nervous. I was a little bit more tight than for the match against Fabio Fognini in St. Petersburg. I just knew that any of the finals are not easy to play. You are going to be nervous in the start. But as the match will go on, you'll get more relaxed and you'll have chances. So I used my chances in the second set and turned that match, and definitely the first final helped me a lot to win this final.
You only dropped one set going into the final and broke opponents 20 times. Was this the best you have returned in a tournament?
Yes, I can say that this was definitely a tournament when I was returning the best. I just felt good on return, especially that match against Jan-Lennard Struff in the semi-finals, where I needed a return against a big server like him. So I can say this was the best returning tournament for me.
You have a 15-3 record since 31 July. What have you been doing so well to get to this level?
My record since July is really great, and I hope I will continue like that. I think mentally I was very strong, I was very tough. After a few wins, I got my confidence back, and when I got that confidence I was playing tennis on a higher level. Being very strong on the court mentally made the difference from the results that I had before.
How does it feel to be the first player from Bosnia and Herzegovina to win an ATP World Tour singles title?
Being the first Bosnian to have an ATP World Tour singles title is really great, and I am so proud of myself and of my country. I'm really happy that my country, Bosnia-Herzegovina, has a winner of an ATP World Tour title.
Now that you won your first ATP World Tour title and have cracked the Top 50, what are the goals for the rest of the season?
I think the biggest goal until the end of the season is to stay really healthy so I can have some good rest at the end of the season and prepare well for next year. Of course now that I'm No. 40 my goals are bigger and I want to get close to No. 30 until the end of the year. Hopefully I will continue with the good results in the next few weeks, in China and then after in Europe. My goal is to be close to No. 30.
You have had a lot of support in your career. Who are the people that have allowed you to get this level and you would like to acknowledge?
Support is always important and my biggest support was all the time from my family, my mother and father, especially my father, who was my coach since I was 5. He was always with me, helping me and definitely I can say he brought me here to where I am right now. As a family it's really important. I always play for them and all my results I give to them.
Also, in the last few months, my girlfriend was really helping me a lot, travelling with me to the tournaments. The last few months I haven't had a tennis coach. She was always there and helping me. And of course my fitness coach, who I've been working with the last year, helped me a lot. My fitness is at a great level. Big thanks goes to him.
Big support of the media from Bosnia-Herzegovina, of the people from Bosnia, who were always giving me a lot of power and energy to go for more and to try to do something more in my tennis.
Is there a player (or players) you looked up to and admired while growing up?
For a long time, my idol has been Roger Federer. Everything he did on the court and off the court was really great. He was always inspiring so many people for so many years and I'm definitely one of the players who Roger inspired and he's definitely my biggest idol.
There is one more player who really helped show us from the Balkans that we can do so much more than we really think we can and that's Novak Djokovic, who showed us that... we can make so much more. We can have great results on the tennis scene.
When you’re not playing tennis what are your other interests?
When I'm not playing tennis I like watching movies a lot. I like watching series. I watch a lot of series. I like playing football. And if I have a chance to be home for a few days when it's winter I like skiing.