Bjorkman Talks Champions Tour Debut
by ATP Staff|
Speaking before his first singles match at Kings of Tennis by Index Residence in Stockholm, home favourite Jonas Bjorkman talked about making his Champions Tour debut and what we can expect on the ATP World Tour in doubles this year.
What has the experience playing in Stockholm been like for you?
It’s been great. It’s my first time playing the Champions Tour and I’ve wanted to play for some time, so I’m happy I was finally invited. And obviously to start off in my hometown is very special. I have some great memories winning in singles and doubles at the ATP event and it’s one of the highlights of my career.
How do you think you’ll do here?
I’m not sure. (Smiles). There are a lot of good players out there and a lot of guys who are younger than me. But it’s been so much fun just to see everyone, go out to dinner or have a coffee and catch up. You stay in contact with a lot of guys, but having the time to sit down and catch up can’t be beat. It’s a great experience.
How often do you get to train on the court these days?
A little bit on and off. Obviously coaching Marin Cilic pushes me a little bit because he’ll need someone to hit with and occasionally he needs me to step in, so I need to keep up and do a little training.
What did you think of your doubles match with Robin Soderling at Kings of Tennis?
I thought it was great fun. He didn’t have the choice as to whether he retired, which is no fun, so for him to come back and hit some balls in front of the crowd is something he had been hoping to do for a long time. It’s nice to have that feeling again and he’s still hitting the ball extremely well. The bombs were still coming off the racquet on the serve and from the baseline.
What are your thoughts on Elias and Mikael Ymer?
There’s a lot of pressure because it’s been a few years that it hasn’t really been happening for Swedish tennis. But we have more Futures events now and more tournaments. Just in Stockholm alone, we have 2,500 kids queuing to get into the clubs. You always need someone up at the top to inspire kids to play, so hopefully Elias or Mikael can. Mikael has a great mindset and knows how to win when his A- game isn’t there, so that will be a huge step for him in the future.
What are Marin Cilic’s goals for this year?
The target is obviously to stay consistent and get to the ATP Finals at the end of the year. He’s at No. 6, so his target is No. 5 and to keep going from there. He’s had a slow start to the year, but had such a great finish last year and then a very short pre-season. The last two weeks have been much better for him, so hopefully he can have good tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami before the clay season starts.
Which doubles teams do you think we’ll see excel this year?
That’s a good question. What I find disappointing with the doubles game now is that the guys change partners way too early. They switch if they don’t get the results they want after four of five tournaments, so it’s tough to have consistent teams. But to no surprise, I think Henri Kontinen and John Peers will continue to do well. Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau have stuck together and won in Dubai, which I think is great for the doubles players to see that you can turn around a negative trend in results.
But I still think the Bryan brothers, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, and Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares will be the main teams, with one or two new teams as well.