Lawn Tennis Interview With Brian Vahaly June 2005 USA
The Tournament The 2005 Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon
(lawntennismag.com)Brian Vahaly is one of several young Americans who have entered the Wimbledon qualifying this week including
Jan-Michael Gambill, Brian Baker and Paul Goldstein. Lawn Tennis magazine had a chance to talk to Vahaly
who takes on Tobias Summerer of Germany in round one qualifying today.
Lawn Tennis: How old were you when you moved from New Jersey to Atlanta?
Brian Vahaly: I was 4 years old when my family moved down to Atlanta based on a change in my father’s employment.
Lawn Tennis: Being in your hometown beats out living and training in a tennis
hotspot like California or Florida?
Brian Vahaly: It's nice being able to spend time with family and friends in the off-weeks of being on tour. There are times when I think its necessary to train in different cities to eliminate distractions, but for the most part, you really can’t put a value on good quality time with people you love, and the ability to sleep in your own bed rather than a hotel.
Lawn Tennis: Winning the Tallahassee tennis tournament this spring without losing
a set, did your game just come together that week?
Brian Vahaly: It was a comfortable setting for me and I had really worked hard in the early part of the year to make another run into the top 100. I had many setbacks with injuries but really felt extremely focused that week and it was not to get a glimpse of the old Brian. Sometimes when everything is so new, you don’t really think and just react. I’m trying to find that ‘zone’ again.
Lawn Tennis: Did you have a chance to visit any shows or casinos in Tunica
Brian Vahaly: I had the chance…but I declined:)
Lawn Tennis: Was beating Juan Carlos Ferrero in Indian Wells in 2003 your biggest
win to date?
Brian Vahaly: Yes, that’s probably been my biggest win because he went on to win the French Open a few weeks later and was ranked #1 in the world that year. Wins over Chang, Spadea, Robredo, F Gonzalez were also big career building wins for me as well.
Lawn Tennis: Is it true your math SAT result was almost a perfect score?
Brian Vahaly: I’m a math nerd. Verbal on the other hand…
Lawn Tennis: Can you describe a typical day in your training routine? Hours of
tennis and then lifting and running?
Brian Vahaly: I train with my coach in the morning for a few hours working on specific things…or sometimes I will call other players like Robby Ginepri or Bobby Reynolds to play sets. I breakdown my game and see what I need to work on. In the afternoon I focus on conditioning and strength training.. just depends on what I need for that particular season. But honestly, I can’t say that I have ever had much of a ‘routine’ with being a professional tennis player. Part of the job I guess… constantly adapting to the needs of your body.
Lawn Tennis: Have you set any goals for your tennis for the remander of 2005?
Brian Vahaly: I’ve honestly never been a goal-setter. It sort of stresses me out and puts pressure on myself for whatever reason. I think my overall goal at the end of tennis is to have no regrets. I never want to look back and wish I did more…I think that would haunt me for years. I know many other college players who decided not to give pro tennis a shot, and I’m sure seeing my success drives them crazy, because they know they could kick my butt!
Lawn Tennis: Are you in favor or against tournaments such as the US Open using the
"challenge replay" where a player would be allowed to dispute several close lines calls a match on an instant courtside television?
Brian Vahaly: I think it adds a new exciting dimension to tennis, so I like it. I just would like it to be made available to all players…and not something that just the top players receive on stadium courts. But I also realize there are costs associated with that. All I can say is that there is nothing worse than when you put your heart and soul into a game and feel as though you were cheated. But any athlete can attest to that feeling. Part of the game.
Lawn Tennis: Your coaches are Scott McCain and Jerry Baskin?
Brian Vahaly: Yup.
Lawn Tennis: Will you prepare for the Wimbledon qualifying in Georgia?
Brian Vahaly: Yeah I’ll train with my coaches mostly on hard court and I’ve got a secret little spot in Atlanta that has a grass court..so I think I’m going to train there as well. Its hard to get in a good rhythm on grass so I’ve learned from other americans and make sure to balance time hitting on very fast hard courts to keep my timing down.
Lawn Tennis: Do you have any favorite things about Paris or London you'd like to share?
Brian Vahaly: They are both beautiful cities. Musee d Orsee (sp?) and the Champs Ellyessee (sp?) were two highlights for me. In Paris the food is incredible and there is so much history and culture. Next to Rome, its probably one of my favorite cities I’ve been too. As for London, I love it for its tradition… there is nothing like walking out on centre court of Wimbledon.
Lawn Tennis: You're playing World Team Tennis and Wimbledon qualifying? Any more
tournaments on your schedule yet?
Brian Vahaly: Who only knows. Ask my coach. I always like to play LA and DC because I have good friends in the area. But otherwise, I know nothing. Just doing whatever it takes to make a run at the US Open.
Lawn Tennis: Three close sets at Wimbledon 2003 against Tommy Robredo? What went
Brian Vahaly: Nothing really went wrong…he was just playing awesome that day. It’s the frustrating thing about tennis. Sometimes it feels like there is nothing you can do. I had beaten Tommy earlier that year at Indian Wells and he was out for blood. And in the end, I just didn’t have enough game to stop him.
Lawn Tennis: What do you enjoy best about playing tennis on grass?
Brian Vahaly: It helps my serve out which is nice…that’s one of the weak parts of my game so it adds a few more mph which is nice. Just gets frustrating when the points are so quick.