– What problems and difficulties did Xinyu Wang create in the second set in today’s match? Or was it you who created all the problems for yourself?
– I began to struggle with my serve, so the percentage decreased, therefore I became a little less active. In a couple of moments, I was a little tight, and the opponent, probably, gained confidence. In a tennis match, little things can turn the tide. They can be very basic, subtle things. A couple of moments can change everything dramatically.
– Yesterday you said that you wanted to learn how to enjoy playing in St. Petersburg, but it seemed that today you enjoyed the game, and played in a relaxed manner. It looked like you did not feel much tension, especially at the beginning of the match. Is this impression correct?
– Yes, that’s right. But no two times are ever the same (laughter). You never know if you get up on the wrong side of the bed or not. Therefore, you just play tennis and try to do your best. There are no strategies and super complicated things. You just need to play your best tennis.
– Two duration records were set one after the other today and that resulted in an unexpected late start of your match, were you upset by that? Did you get a chance to watch at least half an hour the CSKA-Zenit football match?
– No, I watched a TV-show on my phone. I can’t be upset about it, because it does not depend on me and I think I should not waste my energy on this. I was just waiting for my match to start and even managed to catch a wink of sleep after the warm-up which helped me a bit. I know that Zenit won and I saw the end of the football match after my match.
– Have you set any goals for this season considering the uneasy times we have now?
– On Tuesday I am supposed to play in Miami, so the goal is to finish my matches here and get there in time. It is hard, but there is a bright side to it that we are still able to play tennis. I don’t have any particular goals this season, just enjoying my game, perfecting and getting to know myself, gaining better control of my emotions.
– It is really tough to travel now. Which coach is with you here to aid at this match?
– Javier Piles is here with me, he coached David Ferrer for many years. And Slava is my fitness coach.
– So, your whole team is here and you are planning to travel to Miami all together?
– No, I couldn’t get a visa for Slava, because all the consulates are closed now. And Javier and Guillermo take turns, because my second coach is from Argentina. He is present at all of my Australian, Chinese and American tournaments. And then Javier follows me to Europe. So, they take turns and Guillermo will be coming to Miami for one or two weeks.
– Today the Zenit basketball club players came here to support for you. Tell us, please, are you friends with them?
– Yes, today Andrey Zubkov was here. He is a husband of my good friend Masha Zubkova. Vitaly Fridzon was also here today (together with teammate from Zenit basketball club Anton Pushkov). I know the guys, sometimes we meet each other at some events.
– Do you play basketball? The basketball players told us that they play tennis as amateurs. Vitaly said that he even has his own court.
– No way! We haven’t discussed this, but I’ll find out. When we meet each other, we don’t discuss sport. I like basketball as a game but I like watching it more than playing, because I rarely succeed in throwing the ball into the basket.
– Basketball players attended your match today. Probably you need to make a return visit? If they invite you, will you come?
– The guys did invite me. Yesterday or the day before yesterday they had a match, but we have to be in this bubble. Because of this bubble and isolation I can’t go out but if there is a chance, someday I will definitely come.