Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Guillermo Coria French Open Interview - First Round

Guillermo Coria
Guillermo Coria French Open Interview - First Round

Q. You talked about retiring a few weeks ago. I think that was in the tournament in Naples, Italy. How do you feel today after your performance? Do you feel like you've recovered all your strength physically speaking?

GUILLERMO CORIA: Yes. I'm very happy with my match today. It is true that I couldn't serve as well as in the previous tournaments, and one month ago I served well.

But one month ago I didn't think that I would play this tournament. I didn't think that I would be here at Roland Garros, and you know what Roland Garros means to me.

Last week I was in Casablanca, and I was quite happy with my performance at Casablanca and was very happy. Today it was a major challenge for me, and I took up the challenge and in three weeks' time. I can tell you that the situation has changed.

So I'm back, and I'm really eager to be on the tour. I'm very happy with my performance today, and it was great pleasure for me to be here today.

Q. First, what does it feel like to be back at Roland Garros? I mean, this is obviously a place that was maybe bitter sweet, place of great success, but also a bit of defeat.

GUILLERMO CORIA: It is true that I've had good memories, but bad memories, also. I lost here. It was a bitter memory because I lost in the final here. But I said that if I were to win a Grand Slam I would withdraw from the game.

That's what I thought when I played the final a few years ago. But, in fact, as I didn't win this final, I'm again here, and I'm struggling with my shoulder. There were some doping accusations, so I'm very happy to be at Roland Garros and back here at the club, waving to the different people say you feel like being at home. It's something very special.

I feel great, and I hope that next year I will be at Roland Garros. I hope one day I will win the tournament.

Q. Just talk little bit about what's kept you off tour. Has it been physical, has it been mental? Has it been motivational?

GUILLERMO CORIA: I've been on the tour for quite a long time, and I was a little bit tired. I was waiting for the judicial decision regarding vitamins, and I wanted to sort that out. Thank God everything is over.

From then on, I was able to have rest. I was with my friends, my family. I was able to practice. I've never stopped practicing.

It was true that it was difficult sometimes to practice, because it I was practicing for nothing. But last year I played a little bit. I played three ATP tournaments during the year, so I was back, and I was really eager to win in Barcelona, which is a great tournament.

I mean, I played well, and it's true that tennis means a lot to me. I'm playing tennis the very first day. I'm very happy to be back in Paris.

A few weeks ago I didn't know that I would play Roland Garros, and I'm very happy now, because I was able to take up the challenge. I think I will be even better for the next tournament.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.

Q. So you've overachieved, and in the second set there was a good moment for you? It was 3‑All, but it seemed you were tired.

GUILLERMO CORIA: I don't know what happened, but I was nervous. I mean, it is true that I built up some adrenaline before stepping on the court. Because I was really eager to be on court.

When I was told that I would play on center court I was quite happy, but you have to realize what is different here. It is true that last week I played good matches against good players and had this match in my mind. That is, the Roland Garros match.

But I couldn't prepare well for this match, and I tried to do my best. I enjoyed this match, during this match, had the opportunities to hurt him to a certain extent.

But I would say that the second set slipped from my hands, and it was very difficult for me. I couldn't serve as usual, and he served very well today. I couldn't serve as appropriately, as precisely, as last week.

But this demonstrates that I can play against a player who is ranked 13th or 14th in the world, so this gives me a lot of confidence. It shows that I'm on the right track, and I'm quite humble about it.

Q. So if you don't have a good ATP ranking you won't be given a wildcard. So what about your situation?

GUILLERMO CORIA: I will play at Warsaw, and then I will play two ATP tournaments and then Wimbledon. But, if in fact I won't play Wimbledon at the end of the day, I would rather play the two ATP tournaments. So I'm not afraid about the ranking. That's my concern.

What matters today is to be in the position to take up the challenges, as it is the case today. If I have to play the qualification tournament I will do it. That's not a problem.

In the past, I mean, I had no motivation. In fact, I played, but in fact it didn't matter. And whether I won or I lost, I mean, I didn't mind. It was tough for me at that time.

But in Barcelona, it was a great moment, and now I will try to do my best in order to play the great tournaments. I know that I'm here to fight. When I play a match, I'm there.

And when you win you're playing with confidence, in fact. Even when you lose, you're quite happy.

Q. During the match, I mean, did you feel that you were better than in the past?

GUILLERMO CORIA: I would say I'm even better, because I haven't played for the past two years against such a player. So I won a set today. Last week I played well. But today the match slipped from my hands, because I didn't get the rhythm today.

So I'm not sad. I'm not sad. I mean, I haven't thought of playing this tournament, so I played only three ATP tournaments so far. I noticed that Tommy was a little bit desperate. He doesn't know how to play against me. He plays very short balls and he decided to take the initiative, but he made a lot of mistakes.

And at the end of the day, I played against the player who is ranked 14th in the world, and we were almost on par.

And it is true that he's won three sets but he has more rhythm, he's more consistent. But I don't know what would have happened if I'd have found the good rhythm.

Q. What about your opponents? Do you think your opponents respect you because you're back with splendor?

GUILLERMO CORIA: I don't know exactly what they think about me. Of course, I have to think about my own concerns, I would say. Today I feel great on the court, and I hope that I'll be able to ‑‑ to play matches such as that with Nadal in Rome a few years ago.

Three weeks ago I didn't know what to do, in fact. And, in fact, three weeks ago I wanted to know where I was heading. Today was a good sign because I played well. I would say that I enjoyed today's match, and I hope that I will continue to make headway.

I'm on the right track, and I hope that I will play with the Argentinian Davis Cup.

Q. What about this match? Was it important to you?

GUILLERMO CORIA: Yes. It was very important to me. It is true in Argentina I started playing but had to care for my own business and to care for my life. I mean, I had things to sort out in Argentina. I can tell you that in Argentina I was able to settle some things that were of concern to me.

But today on the court, I mean, I was really focused on my objective. In the past, I mean, I pulled out in different directions, I would say. Today, in my mind, it is clear I want to enjoy, I want to play tennis, and that's what happened today.

So I'm really happy. It's very difficult to be aloof of the tour, and now I'm back.

Q. Over the past few years, what have you discovered? What about tennis? What about life? So when you were on tour, I mean, there were things that you didn't realize, did you?

GUILLERMO CORIA: In the past, I mean, basically I had to win a match. I had a good ranking, and I had to win the matches. I didn't enjoy tennis. So I won nice matches, but I was not very happy because I wanted more.

At the end of the day, things happened very quickly. I mean, I got good results when I was 19, 20. And when you are so young you don't realize how it is important, and you don't enjoy basically tennis.

And when you are two or three years older, I mean, you're more mature. So I was at home and had to look at the videos, at the newspaper articles. It is true people supported me when I was out there in the restaurants.

The people told me that I had to be back on the tour, and I realized that I had to give a lot. It is true that I was able to build up some maturity when I was off court, and that's why I'm back.

If I want to be at the top, if I want to be happy, I can tell you that I needed to stand back a little bit from tennis in Argentina.

But tennis has given me a lot, and I couldn't leave tennis this way. So that's why I didn't quit. This is something that I didn't envisage, to withdraw so quickly.

Q. You read some newspaper articles; you watched videos, you said. Did it help you?

GUILLERMO CORIA: Yes, it helped me quite a lot. I realized that I had a successful life in tennis. And as I told you, being here at Roland Garros, that's fantastic.

So I'm playing on center court. I mean, it was the match of the day, even though I was two years off the tour and I don't have a good ranking. What I've done was quite important, and it represents quite a lot to be on center court.

Because, remember, I was ranked 700th. When I started playing again, I mean, of course I was a talented player, but had some physical problems.

So I achieved good results, and I realized that tennis was quite important to me. I think that I have to keep a high profile, but I have to fight really, because I don't want things to slip from my hands.

Q. Your professional career, of course you have to take into account the ranking. You've told me that you needed a sign. You've told me that you even felt that you played better than you were ranked. What do you think of that?

GUILLERMO CORIA: I would say that I've made some strides here in Paris. I haven't always played very well. I tend to keep the good memories, and I'm quite happy with my practice sessions. I practiced with very good players. This is what I want to take on board.

And last week I set myself some objectives. I just want to cast the future, cast a future‑oriented eye. I just want to make the most of tennis, and I want to enjoy tennis. I don't want to think about the next tournament. I don't want to think about what's going to happen to me in the future.

I mean, I want to enjoy life and to enjoy tennis on a daily basis. I hope that after so many efforts, I think that I deserve it. Thank you.

Guillermo Coria's Interview from RolandGarros.com - Here

Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images