Wednesday wasn't a good day for the ATP Challenger in Cordenons as the heavy rain that forced to suspend matches yesterday kept falling until the today's middle afternoon and despite the hard work from the organization, only one set was played, but the conditions of the courts forced once more to delay the whole thing to tomorrow.
On outer courts a lot of players kept practicing despite the slow and slippery clay and in one of them I found one of the most interesting rising names of the circuit, Norbert Gombos, from Slovakia, who accepted to say a few words once his training was over. Gombos was born in 1990 and reached his career highest ranking just a few weeks ago being number 262 in the world:
You played really well in your first round match against the 7th seed Pashanski, how was it?
N.G. I really felt good on court, I played really well because I know he is a very good and tough opponent, so I tried my best and I felt really good because I was playing on the centre court and there was a good atmosphere, with a lot of people on the stands…I was glad that I played good tennis.
Is it the first time you come here?
N.G. yes, it’s my first time here in Cordenons. I’ve played many tournaments in Italy this year, but it’s my first time here.
How is the atmosphere here? How do you feel it?
N.G. You know, it’s always good in Italy, really good atmosphere because so many people come to watch matches and, you know, so it’s like, those are just challengers, but with so many people it feels like the ATP tour and there are always nice clubs and good organization…that’s why I am playing only in Italy now!
I see, that’s flattering for us. You played a lot on clay this year, is it because you like it best?
N.G. Yeah, that’s true. I have more points coming from clay, but I don’t care if I am playing on clay or hard courts, also my coaches say that I have a good game for hard courts, but I don’t care, I think I feel more comfortable on clay, because I was grown up on clay. This is better for me, I guess.
You’ve got one more day to rest now because of the rain and the courts, what do you think about your chances in the next round and then for the tournament?
N.G. Yeah, I mean, I am playing against a wildcard [Stefano Napolitano], so some home player, but it will be a tough match because every Italian guys always play really good at home. I have played against local wildcards before in other tournaments and those were tough matches, but I will try my best, that’s for sure.
What would you tell us about your game? What’s your favourite shot?
N.G. Well…I play very good from the baseline, I feel good there, but I improve my game all the time, thinking about new things and I believe that I improved my game, not only my ranking, so that’s why I am training very hard at home, so I try to improve always new things on my game.
Of course, there’s always something to improve, but you are doing a great job. So where are you going to play next? And what are your goals for the season?
N.G. my goals for the season? Well it was to reach top 300 and I already did it *laughs*. So now it’s to get into some grand slam qualifying, you know, it’s my dream to play a grand slam.
Well, you are not too far from that, are you?
N.G. Yeah, just like few points, but I have to defend a few from the last year, so we will see, I will fight for the Australian Open.
So maybe we will see you in Australia next year?
N.G. I hope so. *smiles*
Anyway, I think that yesterday was your birthday…
So happy birthday!
N.G. *laughs* thanks!
Did you have time to enjoy it?
N.G. No, you know, it’s always tough to celebrate birthdays on a tournament, because you are always practicing the whole day or waiting for matches…yesterday I played doubles, so it was good because we won, so it’s been the likes of a present…*laughs again* but it was like a normal day for me…
Next week are you playing another tournament or just a bit of rest?
N.G. Yes, I signed in for a 50k + H challenger in Este, so I will go there from here.
Oh ok…well, you know, playing ITFs you are always around and there are very few combined events, so it’s hard to…well first of all, do you have a girlfriend?
N.G. No, not yet. *giggles*
Ok, so, do you think it’s hard to get to know players? I mean, women players…
N.G. Mmm…I don’t think so, I have a lot friends and sometimes we meet at tournaments, it’s easier with other guys though. Sometimes I travel with my coach, so it’s good for me, but I have many many friends on tour, which is really good.
Of course…can I ask you who are your best friends on tour?
N.G. I mean, I have a really good relationship with the Czech guys and also from Slovakia, but that’s why I am playing in Italy so that I can meet some Italian guys and have new friends, you know.
Has it ever happened to you that a girl or a play approached you, like for a date or to ask you out?
N.G. No, no. *giggles* I mean, I try to keep in touch with the girls at home, but I am abroad for a long time, but when I am at hope I try to meet every friend and also girls and I also try to also…how to say it…turn off from tennis a bit, so I try to relax a bit at home and feel good.
I see, well, thank you and good luck for tomorrow.
N.G. Thank you.