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Radek Stepanek, Tennis Masters Cup, November 14, 2008

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November 14, 2008

Radek Stepanek


G. SIMON/R. Stepanek
6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did it feel to play with your own racquet? You didn't play as good as last game.
RADEK STEPANEK: You know, definitely I didn't play as well as the first match. You know, just 10 minutes before my match I was a bit in a hurry before the match to get ready, and it cost me the beginning of the match. The concentration wasn't there a hundred percent the first few games. But I was trying to fight back.
But I think Gilles played a very good match today. He didn't made any mistakes, any errors. He didn't give me much chances to get back into the match.

Q. If you could use one word to describe the week, what's that?
RADEK STEPANEK: Describe the week of what? Of my game?

Q. Yes, the two games.
RADEK STEPANEK: Today definitely my serve didn't -- you mean this week?

Q. Yes.
RADEK STEPANEK: Now I understand (laughter).
You know, for me, as I said before, it was honor to be here, to play the biggest event of the year, playing the Masters here. The eight best guys of the year were here. Just Rafa wasn't here.
You know, for me it's a great experience and great motivation for the next year to work hard and be here, one of the eight guys who came straight here. For me it was an amazing week. You know, it's definitely disappointing that I lost both matches when I got the chance to play.
I played Roger Federer, the best player of all times. And today Gilles played just a great match. You know, he improved a lot this year. I tried my best here. I tried to play my best tennis. The conditions here for me, you know, with all the lost stuff, waiting, all this, wasn't too happy for me.
But, as I said, was honor for me to play here. I was treated, you know, amazingly. For me this is the greatest experience.

Q. In Roland Garros this year you beat Simon pretty badly. What part of his game made him difficult to play against?
RADEK STEPANEK: You know, I came to Paris very well-prepared. It was in the middle of the season. I was playing my best tennis the first six months until Wimbledon. I was in a great shape. To play best-of-five sets is always different. To play a Grand Slam tournament is different.
But, you know, Gilles made incredible improve since that. He's not missing much. He's moving very well. He's making you play a lot of balls. I think he improved his first serve a lot. He's serving much faster than he was.
You know, I think he improved in every aspect of the game. He's coming more to the net as he was before. I have respect for his game.

Q. What is your schedule? Vacation or get ready for next year?
RADEK STEPANEK: You know, the vacation was done since I came here. So, you know, when I get back home, during the weekend I'm going to go see my family back in Czech Republic for two days, and then I'm starting the preparation for new season.
Going to the mountains first two weeks, doing some condition. Then I will fly to Florida to prepare for the new year.
My vacation is over.

Q. You will celebrate your 30th birthday at the end of this month. You're still good enough to be ranked 20 something. What is your secret? What is your target for next season?
RADEK STEPANEK: First of all, I'm still young (smiling).
No, you know, I started my career a bit later than most of the guys. You know, my best years came when I was 25, 24. So I'm not that tired as maybe most of the players in age of 30. When you go back and you see most of the Czech players, they played their best tennis around age of 30.
So I hope my best tennis is still in front of me. Definitely I know that with the age you have to take care much more of yourself. You have to be more patient. You have to work hard. When you see the young guys, you know how fit they are, so for me definitely the most important thing is to be healthy.
Throughout my career I had a couple of injuries which always took me back, got me out of the shape. But this year I was healthy throughout the year, which was great for me. If I stay healthy, I work hard, I believe I can still be in the top.

Q. Shanghai will hold the ATP 1000 event next year. Will you come here again?
RADEK STEPANEK: Yeah, definitely I will come back because, as I said, I enjoyed to play here this week, especially because this event was for me a dream come true, you know, to play Masters Cup. Definitely I will come back.
The way they are treating us here is amazing. It's a special place. I always be happy to come back.

Q. Who will most probably win the Masters Cup?
RADEK STEPANEK: You know, definitely in the semifinals there will be four great players. We'll see how the next match gonna end up. I will not underestimate Roger still to fight. Definitely he will fight for his semifinal spot in the next match.
So far, you know, Andy Murray looks very good. He's playing very good tennis throughout the whole year. He seems to me very much in the control.
Novak Djokovic is playing very good tennis. Definitely it's gonna be interesting. But my guess, I'm not going to say the name (smiling).

Q. Not every player is happy with the Hawk-Eye system. What are your comments on Hawk-Eye?
RADEK STEPANEK: You know, I think it's great for the spectators because they get more involved in the game. For us players, you know, during the matches there are a lot of very tough calls. Since the game is very fast, to see millimeter differences if the ball is good or out is always difficult.
I think the Hawk-Eye system helps, you know, also the umpire and the linesmens and also the players, you know, to keep the calls right. As we saw today, you know, it's a question of one millimeter which can make a difference on a big point.
I think that Hawk-Eye is good for our game.

Q. Did you play with your own racquet tonight?
RADEK STEPANEK: Yes, it arrived actually 10 minutes before my match, a few minutes. I was warming up still with Novak's racquet. When I started to serve that bad, I was thinking of taking out his racquet and mine put back. No, I'm joking.
Definitely, you know, once you have your racquet, your stuff, it's feeling better. You know, the whole story this week was quite funny and for me quite, on the other hand, quite sad that I got my life chance to play Masters Cup and don't have my own stuff.
But, yeah, I was taking the situation as it was. You know, I tried my best, tried to play my best tennis as I could, and was fighting till the last moment.
Yeah, you're right, today everything what I was needing was in Shanghai.

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