The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

PRESS CONFERENCE: Vasek Pospisil (l. Auger-Aliassime) 1R

August 6, 2019

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
6-2, 6-7, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. You lost two matches the last two days, but considering where you were a month ago, how happy are you with the way you’re playing, with the injuries and all the difficulties you’ve had?

VASEK POSPISIL: Yeah, I’m happy with where my game is right now, for sure. I think especially even a month ago, I mean, I played Felix Wimbledon, but physically I didn’t feel quite ready.

Obviously today physically I was having some issues at the end. But, yeah, I mean, I’m feeling like my game is there. As good as it’s been the last three years, to be honest, since I was in the top 50. I feel like I’m playing a pretty high level right now.

Q. What areas of your game are you now going to be focusing on as you prepare for the rest of the hard court season?

VASEK POSPISIL: Well, I didn’t hit a backhand for three weeks. I mean, just like two days ago was the first time I played. I had a wrist issue. I need to work on that side a little bit. The first set I was afraid to hit the ball. Kind of cost me some quick breaks there.

I mean, in general, I think just being a little bit more aggressive. I was a little bit defensive in the first set. I tried to impose my game a little bit more in the second and third sets.

Yeah, just working my way forward to the net and physically trying to get stronger. Yeah, so need to put some work in the gym, for sure.

Q. You seem pretty dejected. How are you feeling physically? You look like you’re cramping up a little bit. Is that what it was?


Q. You were talking about the wrist injury, coming off the back surgery. Is it tough to get back in the grind, playing matches quickly, is that the reason why you’re getting these nagging injuries now?

VASEK POSPISIL: Yeah, I mean, I think so. I mean, sorry, I’m a little bit tired. I already forgot the first part of your question (smiling).

But, yeah, the second part of your question, for sure it’s tough to come back after being out so long. I didn’t hold a racquet for five months. Just got like a bit of a bone bruise, a little issue with the TFCC in the wrist. I took three weeks off without hitting.

I think it’s normal coming back. When I played at Wimbledon, I was getting some pretty bad knee pain, which I think the body wasn’t used to the pounding. When you jump right back into the high level, it’s obviously extremely physical, as you can see when Felix plays. Your body has to be ready for that.

What was the first part?

Q. Were you cramping in the end?

VASEK POSPISIL: Yes, I was cramping. I think I still am, I’m not sure.

Q. Could you give us a comment on Felix’ game, maybe if you thought the moment was getting to him at certain points?

VASEK POSPISIL: No, I don’t think so. I mean, he started extremely well. The first set was a combination of him starting very well and me being a little bit tentative, especially on the backhand side with the wrist.

I hadn’t really played any points. I wasn’t sure, even though it felt good the last two days, I had it taped up, I was afraid to hit the ball on that side.

Then as the match went on, I got more confidence there. I started to play a little bit better, I think, too. Then I was serving really well. I mean, I raised my game up a bit.

I thought he came out firing, playing really well. He played a good breaker at the end, to be honest. Yeah, I mean, physically I could have been better. I think he was better physically than me, that’s for sure. That definitely made a difference at the end of the match.

I mean, he also stepped up, played a little bit more aggressive that last breaker, last five minutes of the match. He kind of stepped in a little bit more and played some good points.

Q. Was it disappointing at all to have to play against a Canadian, a Canadian you know so well, in the first round of this tournament? The crowd was clearly leaning towards him, but this is your home.

VASEK POSPISIL: Yeah, for sure, it sucks (laughter).

Yeah, it would have been good to play someone that wasn’t a Canadian or isn’t a Canadian just have to definitely a little bit more crowd support. It’s nice to feed off that at Rogers Cup.

I felt like I was ready to win some matches this week. I was playing good enough. It was a tough draw considering who it was, what city it was in, what country.

But, yeah, it is what it is obviously. It’s not always going to go your way in terms of the draw. I mean, I still gave myself a chance to win this match. But, yeah, it’s just unfortunate. It is what it is, you know.

Q. Where were the cramps?

VASEK POSPISIL: Calf, quads, a couple in my wrist. It was just like full body (laughter). Like upper hamstring once. They weren’t like full body cramps. They were grabbing.

I took some anti-cramp stuff. I double overdosed on it probably. I took a few of those. I was having some stomach rations from that at one point, yeah.

Q. You took the anti-cramp stuff before the cramps or after the cramps?

VASEK POSPISIL: No, I could feel it coming like middle of the third set. I took one, I don’t know, it was like 2-All or something. I started cramping anyway, so I took another one. Then I started, like, throwing up, so…

Yeah, it’s tough on the stomach.

Q. What exactly are they?

VASEK POSPISIL: I don’t want to say because I don’t want other players to take it (laughter).

It’s called a Hotshot. It’s kind of like this thing that’s supposed to prevent cramps.

Q. It was kind of windy, the match was choppy, not too many long rallies. You both were serving well, especially you. Was the wind a factor in not too many rallies? How would you explain it?

VASEK POSPISIL: Maybe, yeah. I think we were both serving pretty well, too. Yeah, I think it’s more the serves than the wind.

Q. On another topic, you recently wrote an interesting article in the Globe and Mail. You spoke about how a boycott almost happened in 2012. I was wondering if that prominent player you spoke of might be of Swiss descent, a holder of many Grand Slams? Also do you think something like that is what it will take to get to where you want to be in this sport, a player boycott again?

VASEK POSPISIL: I mean, yeah, I won’t speak of who the player was. I think you can maybe even find that out there. I’d rather not get involved in that.

But, yeah, I mean, I’m definitely not very popular right now among the ATP. I’m pretty sure they don’t like that I’m speaking out about it. They like to keep their control and spread their information.

But, yeah, it’s not very fun to see what’s happening with it, I’ll be honest. I mean, yeah, it makes me pretty upset, so (tearing up).

Q. What is the next step?

VASEK POSPISIL: The next step is the players need to be together. They need to stand up, stand up to what’s happening. It’s not a very player-friendly environment.

Yeah, I mean, talk about the Grand Slams, the Masters. Obviously the Masters have so much —

I love this, we’re in Canada. I’m talking about globally. There’s a lot of Masters events.

Yeah, there’s a lot of work to be done to have a voice, to have a bit of a more democratic process. Even though it’s painted as such, it’s not the reality. I mean, c’mon, tennis makes billions of dollars a year. It’s a huge industry. You have 50 to 100 guys that make a living. It’s impossible. I mean, it can’t be like this. There are guys 150 in the world that are breaking even or losing money or needing the family to pay, or are trying to find…

150 in the world in tennis. Yeah, if you’re top 100, it’s great. Even so, you can’t invest fully into…

They’re probably not too happy I’m talking about it. But, yeah, there’s something that needs to change. I mean, that’s for sure.

I think it will grow the sport. If you have 300 guys that can earn a living instead of 100, I mean, that’s going to grow the sport. If you think about it long-term, more people are going to be playing tennis.

I mean, how sad is it? Tennis has given me an amazing life, I’m so grateful for it, like beyond what I can say even in this press conference. But how sad is it that if I have kids, I’m going to be like, Hmm.

Knowing how difficult it is to make it, the percentages of being able to make a living versus let’s say the NHL or going into other sports. I mean, tennis is so global. You have to go from the age of five. The average age of a top 100 player when they started playing is five and a half years of age. I think when they’re eight, they’re training to go professional. That’s how I did it, from seven or eight years of age. So you’re training for 15 years to get to this level.

It’s tough, yeah. Everybody, everybody, even guys that are 200 in the world, it’s the same thing, right? It’s not easy to be 150 or 100 in the world at anything. I mean, in tennis, in sports especially, right?

If there was no money here, if these tournaments and Grand Slams weren’t making money, okay, there’s no argument. But there’s a lot of money there, so…

I’m ranting (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. It’s the third time you played Felix. Can you give me your impression on your game today and maybe his improvements.

VASEK POSPISIL: The level of game was very high. He plays very well. I myself played a good match, too. But even the level was good. I knew that in a match like this, if I was able to play at that level, I would have chances of winning the match, which I had. I was close. But Felix played very well at the end of the match.

I’m happy that I was on the court without pain. That was good. Congratulations to Felix. He played well.

Q. You lost in three sets, but the way you played gives you some hopes to be back in the top 100 or top 75?

VASEK POSPISIL: Yes, when I was injured, of course I fell in the rankings. I really want to get back to the top 50 or maybe higher. I had been there for a few years. I believe if I continue playing that way, I will soon be able to be back at that level.

I would like to be back at that level a year from now, the beginning of next year. It would be great. That’s my goal. But I need to be without pain and without injuries. That would be great.