Andy Marie. Former world number one. Holder of three Grand Slam titles. Two-time Olympic champion. With a reason or not, he is part of the "big four" which, besides him, consists of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. He is now 134th in the world.
However, it is clear that his place is in a much better position. He had two great matches in Abu Dhabi. He defeated his compatriot Evans, later in the semifinals, and Nadal, so that in the finals he had to lend a hand to Andrei Rublev.
He came to the press conference with a characteristic lazy walk after the match with the Russian. He answers every question in detail. And he is completely focused. On that side, a professional from head to toe. Are you satisfied with your performances during these three days in Abu Dhabi.
What are the positive and what are the negative things before the start of the season? "Good week all in all. I played against Evans, Nadal and Rublev. Three different styles, three very high quality matches. It is positive that the body is in excellent condition, that I endured this intensity of matches."
"Of course, there were also bad segments, especially in the final against Rublev. There is a lot to work on, but in general I can be satisfied," Marie pointed out. As a goal in the new season, you mentioned a return to the top ten.
How realistic is that, given your current position on the list? "The game has changed a bit in the last few years. However, not so drastically. I still know what it takes to be at the top, what those shots are. That is what I have left from the period when I was the first in the world in 2016."
"On the other side, it will not be easy. Due to hip surgery, there are a number of limitations in training movements. There are also things off the field now, the family, to which I am also dedicated. I try, I try, the desire is to try to get back into the top complexion.
We will see how realistic and feasible it is. "
The season starts in Australia. You had a lot of success there. You even played in the final five times. What are your memories of participating in Melbourne so far? "I like to play in Australia.
I wish I had won one of my finals there. I played the decisive match with Novak four times and one brutal semifinal." "I lost one final to Federer. When you look at it realistically, I shouldn't be ashamed, considering what all these guys did.
They are the best in history." "There is a feeling that I may have deserved to take the cup at least once, but it didn't happen. I can handle that. In general, Melbourne is one of my favorite places to play tennis," said Marie.
Here you beat Nadal in the semifinals. Against when is it most difficult for you personally to play: Federer, Nadal or Djokovic when they are at the peak of their form? “Uh. It depends on many things. When it comes to Djokovic, the first thing that comes to mind is Australia.
He is untouchable there. The mission is almost impossible to win." "How many, I think he has nine titles. That's crazy. In general, it is difficult against Novak on all surfaces, but there in particular, because everything suits him, mostly surfaces."
"We also played on the grass, I beat him twice, maybe I found a way to oppose him. On the other hand, against Federer, I lost several important matches on the grass, so I can say that it is a shade harder against him than against Novak at Wimbledon. "