An article from: La Gazzetta dello Sport
by Vincenzo Martucci
«I’m old but motivated and I still want a Slam»
Twenty-nine years («I don’t remember to have ever lost on my birthday») are not many, but maybe are too many to win another Grand Slam tournament. «I’m old, but I feel pretty well and I’m motivated. The Davis success gave me a remarkable boost: I know I’m always able to play well. And, since here at the Australian Open I’ve had a good draw, since I’m convinced I can still win, I think I can do it. It can happen here or at the next, or at the one after the next, but the target is a Grand Slam tournament and, most of all, express myself at the best».
Stefan smiles serene: «I think that simple people are happier than the jet set and the vips. My parents, that I consider my best friends, taught me since I was a kid that happiness is a modest thing that has nothing to do with money and fame». Then, among a thousand flashes, he blows the candles on the cake: «Meringue and chocolate… Very good. You taste it even more after such a long match». He even licks his fingers, for the photographers’ joy.
After Philippoussis he beat Voinea. After the Australian with an Italian mother («but I don’t know where she’s exactly from») and a Greek father («from Tinos»), he tamed the twenty-year old talented Romanian, who has been living in Perugia for five years and trains with coach Alberto Castellani (who also coaches Alami, but says: «I won’t take other Italians, then the Fit – Italian Tennis Federation – takes them away from me and behaves badly»).
And now he finds Dreekman, the German hope: «With Voinea I had to fight ‘cause he is a rising player, another of those who can come up at a high level, because he hits the ball very well. Already in Doha he had put me in trouble (he led 7-6, 3-1), but back then I had played badly. This time instead I’m happy with my match. They are young and itching, but I won».
An easy first set, a close second won at the tie-break (double fault by the Foscani’s boy who reached the world number 176 and came here as a qualifier), a very hard third – in the stifling heat – in which, from 5-1 and two match points up, he only got off for 6-4 at the fifth match point. «The heat? At the start it wasn’t even that dreadful, it will be worse in the afternoon. That’s why I’m happy I closed in straight sets».
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