How do you feel after this first victory at the US Open, three years later?
It was a difficult game. In the first set, I have chances that I don’t do, then I have a bad service game, he breaks. I was a little nervous. A first match in New York, three years later, in a night session. It’s always exciting. I was able to get past that afterwards. I played better. It wasn’t perfect, but I’m happy. This is my second match in fifty days, more or less. In a way, it’s not the day to play perfectly either. It was a day to do the job and that’s what I did.
“You have to be humble enough to be willing to fight and suffer
After such a period, a match in fifty days, how important was it for you tonight to position yourself, physically and tennis?
I trained well during these weeks. But competition is another story. You have to go through this whole process, it’s not easy. I lost a first round match (at Cincinnati). When you come back from a long period of injury, the first game is so important because behind, the feeling is better. Today, if I seize the opportunities at the start of the match, things can perhaps turn to my advantage more quickly. You feel more comfortable more relaxed and you are better able to develop your game aggressively. My opponent did this very well for a while. it was a tough battle. Three hours. In a way, it probably helps me. I know what I have to do better in the next few days. It’s always the same story: things aren’t perfect when you come back from injury. You have to be humble enough to be willing to fight and suffer. That’s what I did today.
How did you handle the service. Did you stay careful like during your training?
It’s obvious that I served a little below to avoid attacking the abdominal area too much. The tournament could not be won today, but it could be lost today. You have to be smart, take it step by step.