First-Time Winner Spotlight: Gilles Muller
Gilles Muller beat Daniel Evans 7-6(5), 6-2 on Saturday at the Apia International Sydney to capture his first ATP World Tour title. It was an emotional moment for the 33-year-old Luxembourg native, who had gone 0-5 in his previous ATP World Tour finals.
ATPWorldTour.com spoke to Muller after his victory in Sydney.
How does it feel to be holding your first ATP World Tour singles trophy at the age of 33?It feels great for many reasons. I’ve been waiting for this a long time. I’ve lost five finals before, so my biggest dream and goal was to win a title. Finally it’s here, so it’s great. It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders now.
What does it mean to be the first player from Luxembourg to win a title?To be honest, it doesn’t mean that much because I’m the first player from Luxembourg to do a lot of things. [Laughs]. It’s obviously nice to win the title and bring the trophy back home to Luxembourg. There are a lot of people who are really happy for me and have been waiting for this for a long time.
What was it like to receive the trophy from Rod Laver?It was amazing. I wasn’t expecting that. It was like being in a movie, standing there on Centre Court, getting the trophy from Rod Laver, having my boys watch this. It was very emotional and an unbelievable week for me.
You saved a match point at the beginning of the week. How does that play into the victory?That just shows what you can do when you keep working and keep believing in yourself. I came into the tournament not feeling great, not playing very well. I fought very hard on every point and at the end of the week, I was there with the title.
What were some of the things you worked on during the off-season?I’m always working hard physically and taking a lot of time to get into really good shape. I was working on my serve, working to be aggressive from the baseline and come into the net. Just the usual stuff. I’m 33, so I’m not going to change stuff at that age.
You finished last season with your best Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 34. Do you have a ranking goal in mind for this season?For me, it’s important to try my best and give 100 per cent, and then I’m confident I can improve that ranking by the end of the year. I’m already going to improve it anyway after this, but I think I can go even higher.
Is there anybody who has helped you get to this point that you’d like to mention?There are many people. The only people I’d like to thank are the team I’ve had around me for the past two or three years and have really been helping. My coaches, Alex and Benjamin. My physical trainer, Frank. Both of my agents, Hugo and Jack. And then obviously my family, my wife and my two boys. They’ve always been behind me. It’s very tough sometimes to leave them behind at home for a couple of weeks. They make a lot of sacrifices and it’s nice to give something back to them.
Who were some of the players that you admired growing up?Andre Agassi was probably the player I followed most. I played him twice in my career and even beat him once, which is a nice moment for me.