Palmanova, Spain, ITF World Tennis Tour, W15 Palmanova, clay, outdoor: 1R, Anna Siskova (CZE) - Vicky Van De Peer (BEL) 26 64 63, 2R: Celia Cervino Ruiz (ESP) 57 63 61, QF: Maria Gutierrez Carrasco (ESP) 16 64 63, SF: Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers (ESP) 62 46 62, F:  Alba REY GARCIA (ESP) 6-3 6-1 TITLE!!!!

Palmanova, Spain, ITF World Tennis Tour, W15 Palmanova, clay, outdoor: 1R, Anna Siskova (CZE) - Vicky Van De Peer (BEL) 26 64 63, 2R: Celia Cervino Ruiz (ESP) 57 63 61, QF: Maria Gutierrez Carrasco (ESP) 16 64 63, SF: Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers (ESP) 62 46 62, F:  Alba REY GARCIA (ESP) 6-3 6-1 TITLE!!!!

Andrej Martin: If I play well, I will reach TOP 100

Andrej Martin, interview

Davis Cup player and EMPIRE Tennis Academy member Andrej Martin (26) needed good rest after spending two months on South American trip. He was on holidays in March, skipped playing competitive tennis to come back refreshed, ready to fight his way into the TOP 100 in the ATP rankings. He is not far, being No. 127 at the moment, but it definitely won’t be easy. 

The original Slovak version of the interview was published on the

What is your evaluation of challenger tour in South America?
"I would divide it into two periods. In the beginning of the new season, I played bad tennis. I improved match by match. In the end I played some really good matches on tour. Pity, I could not achieve better result in terms of points. In Quite, I reached 2nd round from the qualifying, but did not take too many points from this ATP tournament. In terms of my playing level, 50% satisfaction, but I am not happy with the results."

When did you feel best about your performance?
"It started to improve in Quito, where I did not expect anything from myself. I played a year ago in Bogota in high altitude and it was horrible. I thought it might be the same this year in Quito. It was the complete opposite. It was improving since playing there."

You lost in the second round in Quito against Estrella Burgos 5-7, 1-6. What did you miss in that match?
"He won the tournament. I am not sure if I was capable of winning it all if I would have beaten him. (smile). I had my chances in the first set, I was the better player, but did not make the best of it. He played better tennis in the most difficult parts of the match, but it was very positive experience in Quito."

What is the level of challengers in South America? How did you feel?
"They are on very good level. In South America there are big differences in social life. Clubs we have played in were on very high level, for rich people. Facilities and courts and everything were great. When we decided to go and see the city, it was not so positive out there."

You rather stayed in the tennis clubs?
"They did not recommend going out, but I did go to the cities, because it was interesting for me to see the way other people live. I was not enthusiastic about it, it was like in a different world. Lot of poverty in that region. It was worst in Columbia and in Argentinian Mendoza, outside of capital. In Columbia, Bucaramanga, they did not recommend us to leave hotels because of safety."

Immediately, when you started playing with Chilean Hans Podlipnik-Castillo, you reached twice doubles semi-finals. Are you getting on so well together?
"It is definitely so from my side, but Hans is winning also playing alongside other players. We are getting on very well outside of courts, I enjoy playing with him. It is very important for me, I did not feel so comfortable with anyone else, a part of Igor Zelenay. Hans is very cool guy, we have lot of fun on the courts. When I have fun, I play 50% better. He helps me to relax. We will play together in Italy, we start in Napoli."

Are you planning Roland Garros together?
"We still have a month to go; we need to win points at four tournaments. I am No. 82 in ATP doubles ranking, he is on NO. 70. If each of us moves up by ten places in the rankings, we might do it. It is achievable definitely."

Karol Beck from EMPIRE Tennis Academy in Trnava joined you in South America. Was it a big help for you?
"It is always great to have a coach with you. It helps mentally, because there is someone out there to help me, give me advice. He makes good atmosphere, even if the results are not so good. He tried to emphasize to play more active tennis, move better inside the court and play more like hard court tennis. However I had more problems with myself, mentally, in the basic elements."

After coming back from the trip, you took a longer rest...
"I was graduating from high school, but I took longer rest because I did not have in between the seasons. I left on holidays for short time. I was skiing in Schladming, Austria. It was a good relax, without tennis."

Is any ATP tournament also in your calendar or only challengers?
"After challengers in Napoli, Barletta and Torino, there is a possibility to play in Ostrava at the end of April. Or we still have possibility to go to Munich for ATP."

Is it going to be easier for you in next weeks, not defending so many points?
"Logically yes, but it often happens to me, when I have to defend points, I deliver the best performance. Not sure why, it might be by the part of the year, but that’s what happened last three years."

You are close to reaching your career best, Ni. 119 position in the singles ATP rankings from September 2013, now you are No. 127. Is TOP 100 one of your goals this season?
"Definitely, my goal is to reach TOP 100, like for everyone who has not been there. In the past I was concentrating too much on it. Now I don’t think about it. If I play well, I will reach this goal. Compared to situation three years ago, I am wiser, more mature and I know more about tennis."

Hungarians, beating Israel recently, will play Slovakia in July in Davis Cup. Was it a surprise for you?
"It was not as easy as it may sound before. Already after seeing the draw, there was no guarantee Israel will beat Hungary on clay. We all wished to play Hungary. I am also very happy. We do not have to travel far. I am also glad, because most probably, we will play on clay courts. It suits us more than playing on hard in Israel."

Olympic Games are being held in Rio this summer. Slovak Tennis Association asked you for your clothing sizes, but your chances are not very big to qualify....
"I have to be in top 60 in singles and top 40 in doubles. I was thinking about Rio last year, when I had series of good results. It was my big dream. However since then I have not played so well. Now it is not a topic up to date. Decisions about qualifying for the Olympics are made after Roland Garros."

Photos by: 
Milan Hutera, Tennis Arena

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