On the importance of end-of-season form
I think always the end of the season carries over in some way, shape or form, good or bad. But then again, it’s just about hard work, about relaxing a little bit, recover from all the inflammations you might have in your body, because those also need to disappear a little bit because you try to start the next season as physically good as you can, sort of mentally refreshed, I’d say. You’re going to look back a little bit, but once you actually start the off‑season, I think you’re just happy to be playing tennis again after a bit of a break. Then you kind of start sitting down on what would you like to work on, where do you feel like your game’s got to go. Towards the end is where you maybe start talking about future opponents and that stuff. In the off‑season, you take a break from all that stuff, the tactical maneuvering.
On the speed of the courts these days, and Nadal’s style
It’s unbelievable that he gets away with playing so far back indoors these days, but that’s the conditions. So credit to him for making that work for him.
On what he expects from 2014
Yeah, winning titles, winning five titles or something, I guess, something exciting, leaving the tournaments as winner. That’s what keeps things exciting. But, you know, I think something’s possible for next year. I think it was a stronger finish than I thought it was going to be in Basel, Paris and London. I’m more positive now looking ahead than I would have been a few months ago where I wasn’t quite sure what to expect after the US Open. But, you know, I’m back confident and excited, you know, going into the off‑season and starting again next year. I need to make sure I stay competitive, I can hang with the best, and particularly beat the best.
On how important rankings are to him
Rankings, if it’s not world No.1, then I’m not that, you know, interested in. Even though you kind of look at it, it would be nice to stay in the top four, top eight, that kind of thing, for seeding purposes more than anything else. Losing in the quarters is like losing in the first round for us at the top. That’s why either you’re good enough to make it to the semis and finals, and then especially wins. It’s really a tour of winners. If you look at the points difference from the points I’ll make during this tournament and what the winner’s going to make, it’s like I never even played this tournament almost, which is fine. The winner deserves it all.
On how his body is coping with match-stress
Well, what I learned is that I can play three weeks pretty easily. I played a lot of matches, you know, as of late, a lot of three‑setters, a lot of tennis. From that standpoint, that’s very satisfying, knowing that the body can do it, the mind can do it, life allows it to happen. I’m happy that I have that option, as well, that I know I can play three weeks in a row because I remember Agassi didn’t do that at all any more towards the end of his career.
On his semi-final showing in London
You know, just again beating two top‑10 players is a good thing for me after not having beaten any for almost seven or eight months. Considering the back issues I’ve had, I’m pleased that I’m pain‑free for a long period of time now with a lot of tennis. That’s definitely also going to give me confidence physically and also mentally.
On his love for the sport
For me, it’s pretty simple: this is what I used to do as a little boy, you know. It’s something that always is there in your DNA. It’s almost like I started walking at the same time I started playing tennis in some ways, you know. It’s like one of those moments where you’re just happy out on the court, you’re happy improving, happy trying to change things, adjusting now. The thing is that when you stop, you’re still so young that why stop so early? Why just walk away from it because, I mean, I have many other things to do in my life than play tennis, but because I can still choose, I pick to play. As long as I have this choice, I’ll keep on playing.
On his schedule for next year
I don’t know if I’m going to play more necessarily. I’m just going to play a full schedule. What that means, I don’t know yet. I mean, it’s pretty much planned through my season. Clearly Grand Slams are going to be part of my highlights, hoping to sort of make sure I play my best there with some selective other events that I consider important to me, some of the Masters 1000s. Then hopefully I have something left for the World Tour Finals at the end of next year because that’s clearly a goal. Then just some personal goals because there’s a big gap, as well, between Australia and the French Open. I just still have to decide what the goal is there, then I’ll just attack and try to play good tennis.