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Steve Darcis first round

Monday 24 June 2013

Steve Darcis gives his Wimbledon press conference following his 7-6(4) 7-6(8) 6-4 first round defeat of Rafael Nadal.

Q.  Did you surprise yourself today?

STEVE DARCIS:  Yes, a little bit.  Just the second guy in the top 10 that I beat.  So, of course, it's one of the greatest win that I have.

It was a great match from the start to the end.  So I'm really, really happy today.

Q.  How much of a battle towards the end was a mental battle to keep focusing on the game and not get too excited?

STEVE DARCIS:  It's always tough.  Rafa is fighting like till the last point.  And I knew it would be very, very difficult.

I just managed to serve very good at the end and it help me a lot, I think.

Q.  What are your strengths as a player and why do you think you were able to win today?

STEVE DARCIS:  I think today I serve very good.  I could use a lot of slice.  And I think he didn't like it so much.  Of course, he didn't play his best tennis.  But I knew it is the first match on grass for him.  Me, I played already four.

So I think it helped me today.

Q.  You mentioned that he did not play his best tennis.  Did he seem to you to be physically all right with his knee?

STEVE DARCIS:  Physically, it looks okay.  I think he was running, he was moving good.  Of course, you don't beat Nadal if he's playing his best tennis, I think.

I knew it.  I knew the first match on grass is always difficult.  And, I don't know, if he was injured a little bit, I don't know.  Maybe you have to ask him before.

Q.  You were asked earlier about the mental side of this.  What about the mental approach before the match?  What did you do to get yourself ready and what were you thinking about this match?

STEVE DARCIS:  You know, for me it's easy.  Nobody was expecting me to win.  So I had to play a good match, relax, and enjoy the game.  That's what I did.

But I really wanted to do something today.  You know, if you go on the court, if you try to have fun, it's not the good point.  So I really try to fight.  I knew I could have a chance if I play a good match.  That's what happened today.

Q.  Were you ever thinking about Rosol and what happened last year, in the middle of the match, saying, I could do it if he did it?

STEVE DARCIS:  No, I was not thinking about him.  Just I saw from the beginning I was good in the match.  Of course, Rafa didn't play his best tennis, like I said.  I could see it.  So I took advantage of it.  I tried to fight

I think my goal today, it was to start good, because if you don't start good against him, you have no chance.  And I had a good start.  I have a lot of chances on his serve.  I converted them.

But at the end, yeah, like I said, I'm really happy.  But I didn't thought about Lukas.

Q.  Years from now when you're an old man, what will you tell your grandchildren about the day you beat the great Rafael Nadal?

STEVE DARCIS:  I don't know.  First I will try to catch the DVD of the match, to keep it at home.  Then, of course, those kind of match you like because you play tennis to play on big courts against big players.  Then, of course, in the end if you win, it's great.

So I think lot of people will talk about this match in few years, and also me I think.  So we'll see if I have more children, I have already one, and we'll see.

Q.  Before today, what was your greatest moment in tennis?

STEVE DARCIS:  I think it was on grass, I played Berdych in the Olympics first round on the Centre Court, the opening match.  I think it was my best memories, I have to say.  Like first top 10, you don't forget.  Here is the second one.  So I try to continue a little bit here.

Q.  You have the DVD of that match?

STEVE DARCIS:  Of course (smiling).

Q.  Did you feel you had a performance like that in you?  How much were you inspired by the crowd and surroundings?

STEVE DARCIS:  It was great.  Like I said, you play tennis to play those matches on big courts, full stadium, against unbelievable players.  So I enjoy it from the first point to the end.

Of course, you enjoy more when you win.  But it was a great, great moment.

Q.  How important do you think the second set tiebreaker was?

STEVE DARCIS:  Against this kind of player, you know that every point is important.  He's fighting like hell.  And, of course, if it's one set all, it's totally different.  I have to win two more sets.  Physically I know it's difficult against this guy.

To leave 2 0, to have an early break in the third, it was very, very good I think.

At the end physically I start to feel a little bit tired.  Luckily I could serve good and stay very calm.  I think it was the key.

Q.  Can you tell us what was your very first thought on Friday when you saw the draw, Rafa in the first round?

STEVE DARCIS:  Shit (laughter).

No, but when you see the draw, of course you say, Ah, it's bad luck.  I said also in the career, It's equalize.  You have bad draws, you have good draws.  After one minute, I said, Okay, it's a good match to play.  It will be on a good court.  I was happy anyway.

Q.  I understand your nickname is The Shark?

STEVE DARCIS:  Yes.

Q.  Can you tell us where that comes from?

STEVE DARCIS:  Because I have a tattoo on the shoulder like a shark.

Q.  Why do you have the tattoo?

STEVE DARCIS:  Why?  Because my astrologic [sic] sign is fish.  I love sharks.  It's like an S, like Steve.  So I did it like few years ago, and that's why.

Q.  There's a lot of talk about who the greatest player ever is.  In your mind, where does Rafael Nadal rank?

STEVE DARCIS:  Top three.  I think Federer is the best player ever.  Then I think Rafa is in the top three.  If you see, I don't know, won eight Grand Slams, maybe more.  Every surface.  He can play everywhere.  He's a great fighter.  He's still young.  He's 27 or 28.

But I think he will win some more.

Q.  So how does that make you feel, knowing where his place is in history?

STEVE DARCIS:  Yeah, I think it's my biggest win, so I have to be happy.

I heard also is the first time he lost in the first round of a Grand Slam, so it's even tougher I think for him.  Maybe he was not in the best shape ever.  Maybe he didn't play his best match.  But I have to be proud of me, I think.  I played a great match and I fight from the beginning till the end, and I played unbelievable tennis.

So I have to be really happy about today.  I think it's a big win for me.

Q.  If someone has seen you playing today, he wouldn't understand why you are No. 135.  Can you explain it to us?  Some regrets, something you should have done in the past you were unable to?

STEVE DARCIS:  Well, first, I have no regrets.  I had many injuries.  This year I had many problems, like private.  Really, I couldn't play for two, three months.  I was playing really bad.

I was also a little bit unlucky.  Two times I lost with match points two weeks in a row.

So it could make also difference with the ranking.  But it's tough, bad draws.  But like I said in the career, it is equalizing.

I think I had many injuries, and that's why it was tough for me sometimes.  I had a good ranking sometimes.  Then I had big problems, so I had to stop and come back all the time.  It takes you a lot of energy.

But I'm really motivated and I'm feeling really good since a few months.  Yeah, hopefully I could keep playing like this in the next rounds.

Q.  This is unquestionably the best moment in your career.  What was the toughest moment or toughest time in your career?

STEVE DARCIS:  I had many tough time.  Maybe the toughest is like 2005, I was around 140, I was playing really good and improving a lot.  Then I had a knee problem, so I had to stop for six months.  Drop 500.  Start again in the quallies and the futures.

Like I said, it took me a lot of energy for me to come back.

In 2007, I won my first tournament Amersfoort.  I think I was ranked 297.  From quallies, nobody was expecting. Of course, from the bad moments, it was a good one after.

Q.  You said you love sharks.  Have you been up close with sharks, swam with sharks?

STEVE DARCIS:  When I was young I did a lot of - I don't know how you say in English - work on the sharks.  So I know a lot from them.  But I never swim with them, in the cage.

Q.  Would you like to?

STEVE DARCIS:  Maybe someday.


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