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. How important was that Love-40 game in the third set?
MOHAMED SAFWAT: Yeah, was very important. Well, he played also good. He served very well. He had a couple first serves. I was running left-right trying to cover. I guess was very important moment on the third set. But he served very well. I didn’t see I could have done something better. I returned well, then tried to save the points. He was there for it.
Q. It seemed like mostly you did everything right. What are the positives you can take?
MOHAMED SAFWAT: Yeah, was a good match in general overall. I cannot say it was really bad match. I had some gaps in the middle like after the first set, I had some gaps. 4-All in the third was poor game from my side. Again, if I look at the bigger picture, it’s just improving every week. Yeah, results will come eventually. This is all I can say at the moment.
Q. Coming from a country like Egypt, where the attention is on players like Mo Salah, how do you see yourself trying to make it big for yourself?
MOHAMED SAFWAT: Basically I don’t think Egypt we really focus too much on sport. Even Mo Salah, I feel like he did it on his own. He went outside. He tried. He gets some support from Pepsi when he was young. I feel like the education and the culture really doesn’t support the sport. I mean, we trying to change that as sportsmen. We’re trying to improve, get more knowledge. We’re trying to make it as high as possible not only in tennis, I feel like in all the sports. We’re trying to change the culture to make it for the young kids much easier to go up higher, compete at a different level.
Q. If you go out with Mo Salah…
MOHAMED SAFWAT: You comparing me?
Q. You are the second highest rank player.
MOHAMED SAFWAT: But you’re comparing me with Federer. I’m not in the league yet (smiling). It’s good to see an Egyptian competing in such a level. Of course, he’s an inspiration for not only in football, for all the sport.
Q. Where are you going next?
MOHAMED SAFWAT: China. I go three weeks to China. After that I think I will start to prepare for the clay court season.
Q. Any particular goals you have?
MOHAMED SAFWAT: Again, I don’t put really ranking goals. I really just try to improve as much as I can. Of course, I try to keep myself in the slams. I try to keep minimum level to compete. But again, the ultimate goal is just to improve every week, trying to see what do I need from every week I play, what do I do good, what do I do bad, to try to improve. This is the ultimate goal for me. I don’t really try to set up goals. Of course, everyone want to be in the top 100, winning here, winning there. I don’t think this is the right mindset to go up.
Q. What sort of a report card would you give yourself after today?
MOHAMED SAFWAT: If I look at the whole picture, I did really 85% of my job. I had some gaps in the second set and third set. The good thing also, I continued. I fight with myself, try to push myself. I didn’t stop there, say, I did this, that. I tried to fight till the end, even the last point. I still feel when I was 5-4 down, I had a chance to come back. It wasn’t an easy game. It was a close game. He had more experience than me. He managed to close it, to play it outright. I think in general it’s a good experience to take it from there and build on it for the next week.
Q. In the match you looked at your box and were telling them to…
MOHAMED SAFWAT: …support, yeah. After what happened in the second set, I maybe needed a push, needed support in the third set because it was tight. Yeah, I was 1-Love down when I asked for it or 1-All, or 2-1. I was down, then I lost the point. C’mon, give me a bit of support.
Q. What was it like playing in the stadium with the crowd?
MOHAMED SAFWAT: It’s beautiful. The crowd is great. Always good to play with the crowd on court. Crowd, it gives to the match different taste. It’s becoming emotional. You can hear them. You can hear the support. It’s different feeling. Definitely better to play with the crowd. I’m happy if they make some moves or say something during the point, but better than silent. For me it’s more fun.
Q. Is it a difficult switch mentally going to China for a challenger?
MOHAMED SAFWAT: Back to reality. Here, obviously I don’t play in such big events every week. But I try to take the experience. I try to push. I have my coach, my friends there. We try to support each other, push each other. Yes, it means the stadiums are not full in the challengers. We’re trying to get the support from your team.