STEPANEK POST MATCH INERVIEW
Radek Stepanek after his win over Roger Federer in post match press conference
Q. You must be very, very happy. How do you explain? A great, great day of yours with a day so so Federer, a little bit of both, or how?
RADEK STEPANEK: You have to get him to his day so so, but I’m happy with the win. There is no better win than to beat No. 1 player in the world, you know, in front of full crowd. That’s amazing feeling. You know, the tournament is not over yet. I made just another step, which is very special, and that’s the way I feel.
Q. Did you walk on to court today thinking that he’s not quite the player that he has been because of the results he’s had this year, and therefore your confidence level was up a little?
RADEK STEPANEK: No. I came to the match today, you know, Roger, no matter if he’s losing a few matches in a year, you know, he’s such a great champion he can get ready like for the next tournament. So definitely he doesn’t have the result he was used to, you know, in the previous years. But, you know, the players are getting better, and it’s definitely not as easy as it looked before. I believe it wasn’t easy anyway.
But I came to the match with a believe that I can win the match. If I don’t have that believe I’m not walking on the court, and doesn’t matter if it’s Roger or somebody else. I went to the court knowing I have to play aggressive tennis, you know. I have to be the one who’s dictating and going for the shots, and it was working.
Q. 5 2 in the tiebreaker. You’re down. Are you starting to think maybe three sets?
RADEK STEPANEK: Actually not, to be honest, because I know I was serving. I knew that I was serving the whole match, if I could hold those two points, you know, and I get him to 5 4, the pressure is going to be again on him. I play two really good actually not points, but I serve twice very well. He didn’t made the return on the first one, and the second one was ace. So I got, you know, those two points were very important to get in touch with him again. Suddenly he made he missed his first shot at 5 4 and we been even again. So, you know, if would I believe if I would have those things going in my mind it would definitely be three sets.
Q. Can you compare this win to another of yours? Is this the most important ever beating No. 1 in the world?
RADEK STEPANEK: Definitely it’s an important win. You know, you can show yourself that you have the ability to compete with the top, and that’s, you know, important for me. It also is showing me that I have the ability to be there as well. That’s one of my goals: to get back to top 10, and I believe I’m on my way.
Q. Your style of game is more tough physically or mentally?
RADEK STEPANEK: For me or for the opponent?
Q. For yourself.
RADEK STEPANEK: For every game you play you have to be physically ready. You know, I came to that match with a strategy of not playing many rallies, because once you give Roger timing and the rhythm to his shots he can work with the ball amazingly well. He’s opening up the court and then you’re just running like crazy. So that’s why I choose to play aggressive, don’t give him the time, trying to play, you know, the rallies as short as possible, and playing serve and volley, attacking his second serve. I think it was pretty good tennis.
Q. What does this mean, the splash of joy you did at the end of the match?
RADEK STEPANEK: That’s the way I celebrated my first tournament victory in my career, and since that I’m doing that on special matches and special events.
Q. The reason why?
RADEK STEPANEK: Why? I know I did it once when we had a party in San Antonio during the exhibition, and everybody loved it there. So when I won my first tournament it came out and I just showed my emotions, and since that, you know, it’s following me and everybody is asking me to do it again, do it again. It has to be the right time to do it, and I believe today was a special day to do it.
Q. Your style of play is not really suited for play on clay. How special is it that you beat the world’s No. 1 on this surface, clay?
RADEK STEPANEK: You think it doesn’t suit clay?
Q. I don’t think so. You disagree?
RADEK STEPANEK: Definitely.
RADEK STEPANEK: Yeah. I believe there is not many players left with this style, and, you know, it’s I think my game is different than 95% or maybe 99% of the players. I’m not running behind the baseline and hitting the balls just back. I’m trying to create and playing serve and volley and, you know, the rallies are shorter. That’s the way I’m playing.
Q. But you prefer to play that style on clay than on other surfaces?
RADEK STEPANEK: I play it everywhere.
Q. But do you prefer to play on clay?
RADEK STEPANEK: No. You have to work with the ball. You have to suit it to the surface you’re playing. You know, on clay there are high bounces, much higher bounces than in, I don’t know, grass or indoors. So you have to really adjust it to the place you play. Here in Rome, it was always quite faster, the clay, than the other tournaments, and definitely it suits more my aggressive play of the game.
Q. You have a sort of different career compared to the other players. You started to become first a doubles player and then after the success you became good in singles. When was the moment when you realized that you could become a really good singles player? When you beat somebody or won something or when?
RADEK STEPANEK: In the end of the year 2001. That year I won I think two or three tournaments in doubles, you know. I was traveling around the tour playing with the guys, but even though I was playing doubles I never stopped practicing like a singles player, because I was too young to do that, I believe. In the end of 2001 when I drop my singles ranking very, very low, I asked Petr Korda, I picked up the phone before the first tournament of the year that he could help me out, that my singles is gone and I want it back. Since then he said, Listen to me. I know what you’re able to do, but you have to listen and do the stuff, and I guarantee you you’re going to play main draw at the US Open and you’re going to be Top 70 in the world. At the time when I call him I was 700. I said, Yeah, you’re right. Then came US Open and I was No. 63 and I play main draw. That explains everything. I’ve been working hard, you know, and I’m very happy that I got to the top level. I’m trying to attack it again. I would like to say one more thing to that. Since I started to build a team around myself, which includes Petr Korda; my traveling coach, Tomas Krupa; my conditioning coach which is here with me, Marek Vseticek; and my cousin as a manager. Those guys are helping me out with all the stuff, and I have a great respect for their work. I’m very happy that I’m surrounded with such a great people as they are.
Q. With Roger and Nadal struggling this week, do you think we’re going to see a more wide open French Open this year, or are those still the guys to beat?
RADEK STEPANEK: I don’t know if they’re struggling, but maybe somebody is playing in that moment better. No, I’m joking. Definitely, you know, it shows how the players are getting better; everybody is hungry. I believe it can’t work that only two players going to be all the time winning the tournaments.