28th NOVENTI OPEN June 12th to 20th 2021

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Interview with David Goffin

You played a very good first set. Then Roger played a very good tiebreak. Was it like a neck breaker because then you started to serve worse, many double faults?
Yes, of course, it was the key the first set. I thought I was maybe a little bit better in the first, especially during the rallies. I think during the rallies it was okay, I was playing aggressive, I didn’t miss a lot, I made him run, I was really aggressive, I was serving great but Roger is there. I had a couple of opportunities at 0-40, with three points in the rallies that I can’t miss because you know against players like Roger it’s tough if you don’t take the opportunity you have then he’s walking over you and he’s coming back and he is getting more confidence in the match. That’s what happened. He stayed in the first set. Then he played an unbelievable tiebreak, with only first serves, the last serve was in the tiebreak. And then as soon as he had the break I just made a bad service game, I made two double-faults and then he was more confident. As soon as Roger is ahead with a break, then he started to serve a little bit more aggressive and it was tough to come back. So, the key was the first set.
In your match against Zverev there were some tough situations as well, against Berrettini, too, but today it seemed like it’s different in the final because you struggled a little in the second set? Is it different?
Yes, it was a different opponent as well. All three matches were different. Zverev, yeah, they are both really different, different games, big serve. All the three players have a really nice serve. It was two different matches and it was tough. And here in the first set I was really good, I was moving well, I was aggressive and I had the opportunities I needed but I didn’t take them. In the first set maybe one or two points made the difference.
It seems like this week you really made improvements, you really like turned it around. Can you talk a little bit about what impact also maybe Thomas Johansson has on the change? Now it feels like you have much more fun on the court?
Of course, it was not easy. At the beginning of the year it was not easy, I was without confidence and I changed coach, like you said with Thomas. And we started to work. The most important when we started to work together was just to put the basis, just to come back with a little bit more confidence, to play some matches, to believe in my game again, to have the ideas really clear when I come on the court. And then we started to work on the things he wants me to improve and then we build the confidence, we build the game, we built a different part of my game that I improved and it’ s getting better now, better and better week after week. We knew that during practice I’m playing really well for a long time now and I just needed sometimes maybe match, a set or two matches to prove to myself that I'm playing well at that I’m playing with confidence and that was the case this week with the matches against Albot probably. I was playing well the first match against Pella and then against Albot I won a great match, a great fight, and then I felt that the tournament … my level of confidence turned after that match. So, it was really important to fight in this period and I think now it’s much better.
You have played nine times against Roger now over a quite long span of time. Does he play differently than before? Is he maybe a little slower?
It’ tough because all the matches I played against him it was on different surfaces, different conditions, different moment in the tournament, sometimes it was earlier, sometimes it was also in the finals, sometimes it was indoor, you have different conditions that he likes more. Of course, I didn’t play Roger on clay for a long time now. This is maybe … it’s not that fast on clay for me, maybe I have more time, and then here on grass it’s probably his best surface. So, it’s a different match. But I think the way he is playing now he wants to play more aggressive, his serve is even better than before and then he tries to go the net to be aggressive to cut the point as soon as he can, and then on two or three shots he’s still very fast, very explosive, great footwork. So, he’s still in a good shape.
Today, there was another guy of 37 in the final in Queens. Do you think the NextGen is still not really there yet? I mean you are still 28 but you have met a lot of these new guys, they are not …?
It’s funny because as soon as a guy … if Roger wins a tournament we say that yeah the next generation is not there yet and as soon as the week after, let’s say Stefanos is winning, then the next generation is there. You change your mind every week (laughs).
But isn't it strange that there are four guys in the final hat are thirty something?
Yes, but I think now we improved the fitness, the preparation, also the physio, the doctors, I think everything is better than before. Tennis now is so professional from the start of the career until 37, 38. For him, for Roger and Philipp, but no, they improved their game, they changed their game to stay in a good shape, to stay on the Tour. They work with really good coaches, who saw a little bit before what they had to work on to continue to improve and they are still there with some good results physically also and tennis technically. So, we will se, I hope to be there as well at 38 or 37. So, we will see.
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