Sergiy Stakhovsky Interview - US Open, Sept 3Posted on September 4, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. There were some unhappy people at the USTA office. You broke their hearts here.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: I doubt that. I mean, he's quite young and he still have future in front. It was good for him beating Ljubicic here. I was a bit more lucky to pull it out.
Q. You aced him two straight. Did you feel that that was the breaker at that point, that he didn't return your serve at the end?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: You mean when I'm 6 3?
Q. Exactly, 6 3.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: No. Facing three match points down, I mean, not much can be done. I mean, if I put two aces, he put one more ace on his serve and it's gone.
Q. When you returned it, did you say, Hey, I put this one in play; he's gonna probably crack it?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: No. It was nothing like that. I mean, he played that tiebreak very well, and he didn't really seem that he's gonna choke or in some way he's gonna underestimate it. So he was playing really well. The mistake he done was actually unexpected from me.
Q. What was the overall atmosphere like out there?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: It was nice, I mean, except that 99.9% of the people were against me. But yes. (Laughter.)
Q. That's gotta be a learning experience.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Well, I mean, I've played Davis Cup, so I quite know the atmosphere is going around. So there's nothing can be done about it. I mean, people supporting one person, you just can't tell them, Guys, cheer for me. But I'm glad that they did really appreciate some nice points we played. They really clapped for both sides more or less, so it was fair.
Q. How did the rain delay affect you? You came out and held your serve, but then obviously he came back.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Well, actually the longer rain delay wasn't any good for me because I felt more stiff when I got back on the court. I was a bit, I would say, dead. (Laughter.) So it was really hard time for me to get back into the rhythm, and he used it. I've done some big mistakes on my serve and he broke me. He just took his chance.
Q. The crowd did cheer for you when you shook the cameraman's hand.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Yeah, but, I mean, that was bad. I mean, I hit it hard. I just missed -- completely missreturned [sic], and I hit it hard. I saw the guy just fell off the chair there. I felt sorry for him.
Q. How surprised were you by Ryan? How much had you seen of him?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Well, the thing is that when you're facing a player that you never seen playing before, you always you know, you don't know what you can expect. And if he's beaten Ljubicic in the first round in four sets, then your expectations are going up a bit bigger. It's not easy to beat Ivan on hardcourt. So basically he played the way I expected. So he come in a lot, he got a great serve, moving around really well. It was really long and tough match today.
Q. What do you think of his potential?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Well, to do good to him, I'm not gonna say any good of him. Because usually, you know, when the young guy's coming up, I mean, and they have all this publicity and everybody saying they're gonna be, they're gonna be, they're gonna be, and in the end they're just losing it. So I would say he got a huge amount of work to do. Huge amount. (Laughter.) Like hours and hours of practice. But he got a reputation.
Q. Are you still a little bit stunned that you did win this match in the end after being down three points after the back and forth and back and forth that it kind of ended so quickly in your mind?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: No. Actually I cannot believe I can't really be angry in myself in the fifth set, because I've done two mistakes on my serve; I lost it when I was a break up. I've done one mistake in tiebreak, and I was 6 3. I can't really say I was playing or I missed some easy shots which put me in that position, so I just lucky to pull out winner in the end.
Q. How hard was it with the crowd? You may have answered this already. I came in late.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: It was not easy. If I would say that, I just spend another eight hours on court in the last three days again, and today was another four hours. So it was not easy at all. It was just a lot of pressure, and they were screaming. And then when the court was slippery they started booing. I understand everything, but I don't understand booing when the court is slippery and you can twist your ankle. People just don't understand it.
Q. Do you remember a match where you lost when you were younger, maybe you had a chance to win that you really learned form that really helped you later on?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: I don't remember. I have a short memory, but I don't remember I had any big matches like this in my junior career, because I didn't have that much chances to get any big tournament as a junior, unfortunately.
Q. Do you have to tell yourself when the crowd is going like that, Okay, it's just because he's an American; it's nothing personal?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: More or less you know what you can expect. It's great that Americans are supporting their players hard. But I mean, it's part of the game.
Q. Do you think part of it also is you're from the Ukraine and they pulled out the old war words come back?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: No, I doubt that there was many people from post Soviet Union in my match. I don't really think that I heard some people cheering in Russian, so I don't know. Maybe 20, maybe 50. But if there's 50 against, I don't know, how big is Grandstand? Couple of thousand. So not easy.
Q. You come in coming off the win in New Haven, and you've reached for the first time your third round in a Grand Slam. If I'm not mistaken, do you feel now at 24 years of age coming in with, I would think, confidence off the New Haven win and now, you know, coming into the third round, do you feel right now this is a big turning point in your career?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Well, I would say it's a turning point for my Grand Slam career, because unfortunately before I was not able, or due to bad draws, I would say. But it's an excuse. I was unable to pass through two rounds. So for me it's a great opportunity to play third round. I would say it's a huge turning point in my career, because New Haven was the second title this year. I had one before. It was my fourth in total, so I do have some experience in that. I'm still now looking for my game, still trying to get better in the game I'm playing.
Q. Coming off the win, do you feel right now that your own expectations of yourself has risen?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Um, not really. I'm just -- as long as I'm on court I'm just trying to win, more or less, and I'm trying to win every point, or, you know, sometimes put a little show in there. But I'm just trying to enjoy it. I'm just trying at the moment not to be angry on myself if I'm losing.
Q. So you're enjoying yourself?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Yeah, I do.
Q. When he was serving at match point, are you surprised he didn't try and hit a harder serve?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Second serve, I think. Seriously, I don't know if it was soft or not soft. I know he missed it and that was enough for me.
Q. You have a very unique style of play. You have a similar style to your opponent today. What is complicated? What complicates that style of play for you?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: For me or for the other guy?
Q. For you.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: In his game?
Q. No, just with your own game. It's very precise. You come to the net.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: It's very physical, because if you serve and volley a lot, you need to really, first of all be focused, and then secondly you have to be fit. Running forward is actually sometimes harder than running side to side. After four hours, it's not easy at all. You still have to be focused to finish that volley, which I didn't actually in the fifth set couple of times. So just a little physical. And seriously, you have to be in every point. Because I mean, you just can't miss two easy shots, and, Oh, I got to get back in the rallies. You have to put that serve in and you have to finish it.
Q. But like you also used the slice a lot and the chip in dropshots; you were hitting a bunch of dropshots.
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: The game is not giving too much rhythm to the opponent. Unfortunately, Ryan is playing the same style. We were having no rhythm and we were serving good. So I mean, our rallies were not so interesting, I would say, from the baseline as the other matches. But that was just due to because two players of the more or less same style faced each other.
Q. So what would you say or what would your reaction be to people who would say it would be very refreshing to see your style of play and your matchup against Ryan today? Any comments on that?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Once again, I just think that...
Q. The game has been dominated largely by power baseliners for a decade. What is your comment about people who would say you guys are bright lights for a very exciting, different style of play?
SERGIY STAKHOVSKY: Well, I wouldn't say it's been dominating. The tennis in the past ten years get really physical, and really everybody is moving very well around the court. It's not easy to play, let me say soft balls in tennis these days. I mean, if you just play it short, the guy is just gonna kill it. They don't really give a damn if you play a slice or spin it. When I'm playing good, more or less when I'm feeling the ball good, it's not easy for them to play against me. But then, you know, if you have a bad day or just played a half meter short or just a meter shorter than usually, then they just dominate you. They move you around the court, and after one set you're burned out.