Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What are your thoughts on that?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, you know, it was from the beginning tough match. Almost every game hard to win for both sides, I think for me and for him. If I’m not wrong, only the first four games was 20 minutes. You know, it was a difficult — I mean, close match, difficult match, hard physically, mentally.
So I knew that it was going to be like that, because every time I play him, it’s like that. He’s one of the most solid guys in the circuit right now, on the ATP Tour. Maybe don’t having unbelievable serve or like — you know, like he has a really good forehand, but I think that his movement on the court, he’s one of the best, and his mentality, no? It doesn’t matter how the score is, that he’s always giving his 100%, and that is what is making him so tough to beat.
I know him for many years, of course, and I know that it’s like that if I want to win. So I came mentally for that. And even if games, with a break in the third set, couldn’t — like, how you say? Like I lost completely like the coordination in my serve. Sometimes it was — maybe, I don’t know, in the stands, feel it a little bit windy. It was kind of like windy on the court. It doesn’t look that much, but the ball moves and is sometimes hard to make a good toss, and when you lose a little bit the confidence in that, it’s really hard to put the ball in.
You know, I was just trying to stay in the match, even if I lost that break and that advantage in the third set. I think that it was good for me that I start the third set also serving, because even if I lost that game, I was always even or on top in the third set. That is what made me return for the match with 5-4, and I made it.
But, I mean, with him, you know, until the last point, you have to be like unbelievable focus and fighting every point. That’s what I did, and I’m very happy that I went through and I’m in quarterfinals for the first time here.
Q. How much confidence do you get from a win like that? Because you just said he’s really, really solid. What does that make for your confidence?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, always beating these kind of players give me confidence. It’s like when I beat Goffin in Doha. Is kind of — you know, more or less every player is different, but more or less also like a really tough player, like mentally unbelievable, movement really good, good from both sides.
So, you know, that kind of player is that if you are able to beat them, they give you unbelievable rhythm, and it’s always good for your game.
Then after, you can win, you can lose, but it’s always really good for your game.
Q. You’re one of several Over-30s left in the draw. What do you think is the reason that so many older men are still playing so well and ranked so high?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: I don’t know. I feel old, also. I feel old and tired after these kind of matches (smiling).
No, but I don’t know. I think that — I think it’s about everything. I think the medicine, physiotherapy treatments for recovery, all, I mean, I think is everything together what makes the player have longer career, I think, and what makes players, Roger or Feliciano Lopez or myself or Ferrer or, I mean, many of us still been able to be in the top, some top 10, some top 20, some top 30, but whatever, keep trying to beat the young guys.
You know, also, of course, if you don’t have the motivation and you are consistent and you practice and you give everything you can every day is even impossible to be there, because, you know, the medicine or the physiotherapy is not magic. At the end you have to run and you have to win and you have to stay mental tough. It’s so, so complicated.
But, you know, is what we are trying to do, and for the moment is going well. So hopefully we can be, for few more years there, fighting and giving a little bit of, you know, bad days to the young guys (smiling).
Q. Monfils or Dan Evans? You can just talk about each one of them separately.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: They are both in I think different, of course, styles. Monfils is one of the best defenders on the tour, but also, he has a really good serve, good forehand, sometimes very good backhand, too. He can make, like, all of a sudden unbelievable shots. But for sure, also, the best thing is his movement, no? He covers all the court. His flexibility, his energy, like, everything on the court, meaning about movement, is amazing. He’s really tough opponent.
And Evans, he’s becoming one of the young stars. You know, he’s playing amazing. Last year already he did unbelievable matches. This year he’s already playing great. And, you know, he’s one of the guys that for sure you have to be careful in the next couple of years.
I think that between them it’s going to be a tough match. For me, I don’t really have a favorite, no? I think that both of them is gonna be a very tough match in quarterfinals.