ATP Madrid, Cobolli: “Il mio obiettivo stagionale è entrare nella top50. Prima di sfidare Nadal ho avuto difficoltà a dormire”

From Madrid, our correspondent

After a not so simple period, Flavio Cobolli is back to savor the taste of victory, coming from behind to defeat the Chilean Alejandro Tabilo, world No. 38 and in good form. It’s his first victory in a Masters1000 on clay for the Italian (the second one overall), as he continues to build his path brick by brick. Right after his great win, the almost 22-year-old Roman appeared smiling and relaxed in the mixed zone, answering questions from Ubitennis first in Spanish and then in Italian.

Q: It was a very tough match, what are your feelings?

Flavio Cobolli: “Yes, it was a very hard-fought match, Tabilo is playing very well at the moment. It was nice to fight with him, I am very happy to have won.”

Q: In Barcelona, you faced Nadal, how was that match? How did you feel?

Flavio Cobolli: “It was an incredible experience, facing Nadal on his court was fantastic. I tried to play point by point, I have a lot of respect for him, but I was very nervous and didn’t sleep well the night before.”

Q: What was your reaction when you found out you had to face Rafa?

Flavio Cobolli: “I was with my best friend at the airport in Rome and I told him to be ready because I would definitely face Nadal. After the flight, I looked at the draw and indeed it was Rafa.”

Q: Did you want to face him? Or would you have preferred a different opponent?

Flavio Cobolli: “On one side, yes, but it is still always Nadal. It’s better to face a qualifier! Jokes aside, I really appreciated being able to face him, I had fun.”

Q: Was it a match that helped you understand where you were at, even though he was coming back from an injury?

Flavio Cobolli: “I think the match with Rafa was different from usual. I think today’s match is more indicative of where I am at. With Nadal, I was nervous and played very poorly.”

Q: What is your main goal for this year?

Flavio Cobolli: “Certainly it would be great to participate in the Olympics, as well as finish the year at least in the top 50, hopefully even in the top 30!”

Giovanni Pelazzo, Ubitennis: Did you feel like you really needed a victory, the first in a Masters1000 on clay, after three consecutive defeats?

Flavio Cobolli: “Yes, obviously we look a lot at results, but it’s the first year that I am playing at this level. I don’t think there’s much wrong in doing three first rounds in three such big tournaments. Of course, winning would have been better, but I think my season started well and I think I can finish it even better, I am improving more and more. I went through a complicated month, a moment of change. I was quite nervous because of external things, even before going on the court today. I don’t feel at 100% yet, but this victory is crucial to regain energy and focus. I brought out the best in me, I could only win like this.”

Giovanni Pelazzo, Ubitennis: It wasn’t easy to always stay attached to the game, especially with a somewhat inconsistent opponent who seemed to be very comfortable with the playing conditions. How do you feel?

Flavio Cobolli: “I feel very good at altitude, I was prepared. I didn’t train very well because I was going through a bit of a tough time, but I thought I would play well. I just had to fix the mental part: I think after playing a bit poorly in the first set, being able to stay attached and even turn it around was crucial. Even against Jarry, I will have to have the same performance as the last two sets to put him in difficulty.”

Giovanni Pelazzo, Ubitennis: What do you expect from Rome instead? Is it the most important tournament of the year for you?

Flavio Cobolli: “Obviously it is the tournament that we all dream of since we were children. Doing well in Rome is a goal, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, I already have a lot in my city! I am calm, I will enjoy every moment.”