Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
An interview with:
Q. Well played.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Thank you.
Q. First set not so good and then you turned it around second set.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah. I think I was playing pretty okay. It was just my serve, you know. The conditions here are very fast, and without serve it’s tough to compete against a guy like Feli when he puts so much pressure on his serve. You know, he’s serving unbelievable.
I mean, he was the better player today I think the first two sets. He couldn’t hold his nerves. End of the second he was a break up at 4-3, and serving with new balls he couldn’t hold his nerves.
The crowd helped me amazingly there, and, yeah, I found a way to fight in the second and win it. I think I played an unbelievable tiebreak, very solid, returned very well, served very well.
Then started to get momentum in the third. And once I did the break and then hold after the 2-1, Love-40 on my serve, then everything went pretty smooth.
Q. I think last year you needed a wildcard to get here.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yes.
Q. Now you’re in the final. Amazing turnaround.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yes, amazing. But like I said throughout the week, and I say, it’s been a long road for me the last three, four years. It’s all about fighting, getting back to where I want to be. Last year we set some goals to be top 50 with my team. I achieved that.
Now, you know, I’m moving forward. I think I have still a lot to improve on, but the most important thing is healthy-wise I’m very, very good. I don’t have any injuries and health problems that I had.
Yeah, I’m happy I’m back on the court and winning, you know. It’s a nice feeling. I’m going to work even harder so it continues.
Q. Long way back. It’s years you have had to fight.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah.
Q. Did you ever think it’s not going to happen?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yes. That’s where I have definitely thought of retiring. That’s where, you know, my wife was there and was very strong, made me take the right decisions.
My agent, my parents, you know, my team around me, we took away and we see the light in the tunnel right now.
So it’s pretty nice to see. It’s been a long road. I think everyone in my team is very happy. But like I said, there is a lot of work to do because our goals are even bigger.
Yeah, it’s more work to do.
Q. Is there one specific turning point?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Of?
Q. In your career when you…
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I mean, yes, marrying my wife, I think. Having her around. It’s amazing to have her around because she played tennis, you know. She was top 20. She knows how it is. It’s like having a coach at that level because she went through it psychologically.
So I think that’s the turning point, you know. Then starting to have a family. We have two children right now. But since we had the first one, your mind changes a bit. You start to think more and be more organized and more disciplined in what you do.
That’s what we did. Yeah, it’s paying off right now. And like I said, there is a lot more work to do to get some more tournaments like this in the future.
Q. I remember I was at the Australian Open last year, and I do a lot of work with Pat Cash and he said that he was doing — not your coach, but he was getting involved in your career. Is that still going?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yes. I mean, it doesn’t continue because he’s very busy. We didn’t find — but, I mean, Pat last year helped me a lot amazingly on grass. Even before the Australian Open a bit because we were in the same CTL team in India.
Yeah, he’s helping me a lot. Sometimes when we see him we talk about my game or we sometimes have chats.
He helped me a lot in the tennis-wise, you know, maybe change, play more aggressive, play a bit more serve and volley in my game. You know, adds a few things in my game.
Q. You said there were bigger goals. What are your goals for the season?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I mean, the goal for this season is top 30. So that was a goal that we put with my team.
But I think it can — you know, it can go even more. I want to put a realistic goal because I’m a guy who gets really frustrated early. I’m not so patient. (Smiling.)
No, I need to put goals that are realistic. I’m 30 years old, you know. It’s not so easy on the body anymore, you know.
Yeah, that’s a goal for this year.
Q. You’re playing another 30-year-old tomorrow.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yes, we are the same age, actually. It’s been a long time we know each other. Yeah, there is a lot of them.
Q. What are your views about Stan?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, he’s unbelievable player. I think he has a better percentage of winning tomorrow, that’s for sure.
I mean, the last two years he’s very consistent. He’s having his best years of his life. Winning two Grand Slams, that’s amazing. I think he’s a guy who deserves it.
But I cannot tell you much more. You know, I’m going to sit down with my coach tomorrow morning or maybe tonight and talk about it a bit.
Q. Three of the four semifinalists are 30 and over, and you were the younger one on court today. Does it make you feel that now that there are a lot of older players who are doing well, is that giving you also a sense that you can achieve what you want to achieve?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: I mean, in one way, yes. But I think it’s how the person feels. It’s not only their age. It’s how your body reacts after tough trainings, after touch matches.
I think that’s the key of deciding whether you can or not. So, yeah, I mean, it’s for sure seeing other guys winning tournaments over 30, last year we had a lot of guys over 30 winning tournaments.
Yeah, to see them winning a tournament, it’s also nice for me because it gives me some more motivation and belief that I can do it.
Q. The crowd seemed to really be behind you today.
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yes.
Q. Did that help?
MARCOS BAGHDATIS: Yeah, for sure. I mean, if the crowd wasn’t today here I think maybe Feliciano wouldn’t drop.
So, yeah, they were great. I mean, a lot of Cypriots, a lot of Lebanese were here. It’s nice to play in Dubai. Yeah, I’m very happy I’m in the finals.