Ontario Tennis

Ontario Tennis 2017/2018 | Summer 2017

Tennis, Ontario

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OT: What was the most important result for you in 2016? AS: Definitely the Wimbledon run with Jonathan. I didn't have a great year until then. Lots of losses, not that many wins, going from partner to partner, not confident with my game, and not confident with the game of whoever I was playing with. Then Jonny and I unexpectedly connected at one of the tournaments and decided to play together for a bit longer than one or two weeks and start working on a system. That was probably the turning point. Jonny's brother Dave helped us quite a bit, and another coach who we were working with was Jimmy Davidson. We also were helped by Louis Cayer who is now working for the LTA (Jonny being British had access to him). At that time my ranking was like 110 or 120 so we could not get into the main draw by ourselves. But Jonny, being a past Wimbledon Champion, got a wild card and the LTA trusted his judgement and that's how we got to play Wimbledon. OT: Can you describe a little more your experience of playing Wimbledon? AS: It was just great. We had a difficult draw playing 2015 Champions Jean-Julien Roger and Horia Tecau in the first round. It was overwhelming, but I trusted the system, and what we were working on, and it clicked. It was like WOW! All that hard work is paying off and it's happening at Wimbledon. OT: You've said a couple of times that you didn't know how to win, and also that you were trying the system, and working on one... can you explain this a little bit more? AS: I think it is normal to always have a little bit of a doubt. Particularly when you are losing two, three weeks in a row, you start hearing that inner voice: "how come I cannot win? It's been three matches in a row", then you get to the point at deuce (and in doubles that's a deciding point now – PF) or 8-all in a super-breaker, and you have doubts. So, by the system I mean you have to decide what is going to work for you the best. I went back to my strengths and that is my footwork, my speed, and volleys. I just said to myself "let's sharpen those things again." Strengthening the strengths, and making them they way they were supposed to be, made me believe that it would help me to win matches. With Jonny being such a successful doubles player (Marray won Wimbledon in 2012 – PF) we focused on positioning at the net. He and I like to serve and volley so we worked on that and how to help your partner. At the end it all comes down to self belief. Tennis is a game of inches, so you have to believe in yourself so you can actually give yourself a chance to win. OT: And after that spectacular effort at Wimbledon you beat Djokovic and Zimonjic in Toronto... AS: At that point in my career I felt much more confident playing in front of a home crowd, and playing with Bester was good. We both understood each other's game so the system was good. I also thought that whatever my partner is going to do I have to focus on my game, and it does not matter what he does or does not do, I cannot overcompensate for that. When we drew Djokovic and Zimonjic it was a pretty cool feeling. I don't play singles, so to play someone like Djokovic and to have an opportunity to do it at home was special. In the beginning everyone was excited to see Djokovic. To be honest, so was I (laughing). You know he is such an established player, and a legend on his own. I was a bit nervous in the beginning, but I've played Zimonjic before so I had a bit of a game plan. I said to Phil, "Let's play within ourselves and we will have our chances, let's just stay with our plan" OT: And it worked! You had a bit of a conversation with Djokovic at the net after the match. What did he tell you? AS: Well, he basically congratulated me. When you play wild cards you expect to win, and I think that they might have assumed that this would be a good warm up for Djokovic to play singles, and didn't expect it to be a tough match. It was a great feeling to have such a win especially in Canada, because I think that there are still some tennis fans in Canada who don't really know who I am. Maybe that win opened their eyes? OT: Later on there was a Davis Cup tie against Chile, and another appearance as a full time team member... AS: That was huge. Anytime playing for your country is important. I was coming to that tie playing well, and Tennis Canada trusted in my ability to play. Since Dan and Milos were not available, it was Vasek and myself A CONVERSATION WITH ADIL SHAMASDIN A dil Shamasdin, currently the #2 doubles player in Canada and a member of the Davis Cup team, enjoyed a good 2016 on the ATP Tour. Quarterfinals at Wimbledon (with Jonathan "Jonny" Marray), second round at the Rogers Cup in Toronto (with Philip Bester) after beating Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic, return to the Top 100 of the rankings, and another Davis Cup appearance. We caught up with Adil in April during his short visit to Toronto before departing for Texas to play an ATP 250 event and were able to ask him about his past year. Since this conversation, Adil has won an ATP title in Lyon, won a challenger event in Ilkley (with Paes), reached the round of 16 at Roland Garros and elevated his ATP doubles ranking to #41. BY PETER FIGURA INTERVIEW 20 SUMMER 2017 | TENNISONTARIO.com Peter Figura

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