Bercy – First Rounds, First Words with Murray and Nalbandian

By Guillaume Willecoq and Marijo Marugan

On Monday, Andy Murray arrived fresh from winning his first title with his brother Jamie, asked if he was ready for Bercy, after winning the doubles title with his brother Jamie in Valencia, he said, “Physically I’m fine, my hand injury is fine! ” (laughing). He was reported to have injured his hand due to excessive playing with his PlayStation. “Mentally, I’m fresh as well. It was very special to win a title with Jamie. Ask the Bryans or the Williams sisters what it is to play together. It’s obviously a great moment”. Asked about his season, and the last remaining challenge of the Masters Cup in London, he said:”Well, I think I can say my season was a bit up and down. It’s a good year overall, even if I hoped for more. I wish I had been more consistent.”

At the end of the season, some players are still motivated to finish the year with a better ranking, so it’s no surprise that Jarkko Nieminen, Fabio Fognini, Benjamin Becker and Santiago Giraldo have managed to pass the first round in the main draw. Giraldo played a 2 hour 46 minute cracker against Tiemo de Bakker 7-6 4-6 7-5. Both are quite explosive and can mix up their games with some volleys here or drop shots there. But most of all they hit big and fast. Giraldo, reminds me of Juan Martin del Potro, he has the same kind of flat forehand, and double handed backhand, he moves with big steps around instead of small steps. Will he follow the Tower of Tandil steps? He’s improved a lot this year beating very good players on clay or hard courts like Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sam Querrey and Philipp Kohlschreiber, and he’s only 22 years old. He plays Jurgen Melzer next, nothing out of hand if he’s still fresh enough after his three matches.

The race for the Masters is over for Mikhail Youzhny. He had to quit against Ernest Gulbis today with a back injury. He played his second best season, cracking into the top ten again. Gulbis, after making some noise at the beginning of the season, winning his first title and beating Federer in Rome, pushing Nadal to lose a set on clay, has been injured and it hasn’t been very easy to come back to his best level. He will have a chance to show his best against Andy Roddick or Nieminen next, since his first two rivals in this tournament had to retire.

Where has Radek Stepanek been hiding? The Czech player made a final in Brisbane at the beginning of the year, and then nothing… apart his big wedding with Nicole Vaidisova this summer. It was a kind of long layoff, he made a good return in New Haven, and the indoor season has confirmed his return with some good results in Tokyo and Bâle last week. The courts in Bercy have always favored his game; he was finalist in 2004, semifinalist in 2005 and last year. An early loss could have cost him his spot in the Top 50 which guaranties the entry for all masters series. Could the Czech fly and sting his volleys again on a court? He did against Nico Almagro, taking out the Spaniard 7-6, 6-4.

David Nalbandian met with the media. He’s known for being an uneasy fellow to interview, check the last questions, typical answers from him. But he seemed to be in a good mood, according to one of the reporters.

Q. (Reporter) David the surface has been speeded up this year, what do you think about it?

A. (Nalbandian) Yes, it’s faster than it was, but its fine for me. I prefer when it’s faster rather than slower. I can adapt on it. But it’s going to be a different kind of tournament for some others (smile)…

Q. After your first round against Granollers (won 6-3 6-1), are you in good form?

A. it was a good first round, I was feeling well. I’m not in the best possible form, but I can play well anyway.

Q. Your next opponent is Andy Murray; you played a big match against him two years ago…

A. Two tight sets if I remember well, it was in the quarters I think… he beat me easily in Toronto this year… every match is different.

Q. Do you have a special tactic against him?

A. and you, what do you think?

Q. There is nothing particularly important in your tactic against him?

A. everything is important.

Q. Can you say more?

A. Murray…. Djokovic, Nadal, Federer are great players. If you do one bad thing, only one and it’s over.

The French tennis website 15-LoveTennis is covering the Paris Masters tournament as media for Global Village Tennis News. Follow their French language coverage on and their English coverage here on GVTN.