The 25-year-old Greek was 3rd at the ATP this week, struggling on the circuit since his final at the Australian Open in January, in particular due, he explains, to a “shoulder injury ".
What did you miss in this game?
It was a day off. My serve was not working well and against an opponent like Taylor you have to serve well. I realized it during the game, but I couldn't find the rhythm. I'm much better than that and I'm disappointed that I couldn't show my game. It's not a happy day, but it's a good lesson. Since the Australian Open, my results have not been very good. I haven't played many matches. My shoulder injury prevented me from gaining strength and rhythm. And there are players who will play their best tennis to beat me. They know how well I am capable of playing on clay and they are hungry, they have nothing to lose... Yes, I was really hoping for a better result today. The semi-finals are the round that starts to give a lot of points (ranking) and really that's what I wanted.
What exactly is on your shoulder?
There are several things. We really do not know. Nobody really knows. I never imagined having to deal with this type of injury. It's the worst injury I've had on a tennis court so far. It affects my arm in general. I tried to modify several things on my racket, such as the weight, the string, to relieve my arm.
Does Taylor Fritz have a game for being dangerous on clay?
It is certainly more difficult for American players to play on red clay. They're not used to it. But Taylor was very good. He played very good tennis. I was even surprised how well he managed to control the ball, because I really think my lift is quite heavy. When I feel the ball come out of my racquet like that, I'm very confident. And then I saw that he was able to control the ball, so I had to change some things. It didn't really work... I hope to have good results in the coming weeks because I want to finish the year in the top four.