February 18, 2019
It was a special weekend at the Delray Beach Open in more ways than one for former World No.2 Tommy Haas. The German not only led Team World to victory with three singles wins, but he was also inducted into the Delray Beach Open Walk Of Fame, joining John McEnroe and Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan.
“It was a real honour. I didn’t even see that coming,” Haas said. “But I feel very honoured. It was a real privilege of course, especially reminding yourself that you had a nice impact on the Tour and you did something special. To have it actually happen here in Florida as well where I spent so many years — I came here as a 13-year-old to visit the Bollettieri Academy and have a nice relationship with the state of Florida in that sense — is very special. I really enjoyed that and I enjoyed the event being here in front of a lot of familiar faces.”
Haas spent some of his teenage years training in Florida, and he lifted the Delray Beach ATP Tour title in 2006, so the setting was plenty familiar for the German.
“I just like the flow, I like the lifestyle. The weather is usually quite good. Sometimes of course it gets too humid and hot. Especially now when you get older, you start to maybe find more excuses about that since you’re not in such great shape any more, but we go out there and play two sets with a Champion’s Tie-break and no-ad which is fun. I just like the whole area here,” Haas said. “The beaches are great here. I love Florida beaches much more than the California beaches, so it’s great times.”
Haas has been on fire on the ATP Champions Tour, triumphing at the Legends Cup in Mallorca, Spain, and finishing runner-up at Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
“I really enjoy playing against the former players that I played on Tour, getting to know them even better now a little bit because things are much more relaxed and seeing familiar faces and just having a good time,” Haas said. “The places that we usually go and play are great. Mallorca, playing at the Royal Albert Hall in London, those are obviously spectacular places, here in Delray as well. It’s very nice to go out and play in these stadiums and have some fans come out and watch you play and cheer your name, it’s a nice feeling.
“You miss that once you do retire from the Tour. You have that going back out there playing with the legends, it’s great fun.”