By Mario Sarmento
After he served as special guest at the Sony Open Tennis men’s draw, we caught up with No. 13 seed Tommy Haas and asked him for his thoughts.
"Everybody can play," he said. "Obviously, the first-round opponent is the most important one. It's always nice to be seeded, at the same time these guys get to play a match before you in these tricky conditions. It's always tough."
Haas' quarter of the draw features Australian Open champion and third seed Stanislas Wawrinka No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych and No. 10 John Isner. Last year Haas had his best result at the Sony Open, reaching the semifinals. And this year, he's primed for another big run.
"It gives you confidence always when you play tournaments where we've done well before, it always gives you confidence coming back," he said.
Since returning to the ATP Tour in 2012, Haas has played at a high level, winning three tournaments and reaching seven finals. Last year, he reached the French Open quarters, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
"As long as I stay healthy, and can compete hard and still have some victories here and there, I'll continue to play," he said.
Did you feel any pressure picking numbers for the draw?
“Yes and no, as far as the drawing board, these guys are professionals and they do it pretty quick. So I will take a full look at the board and there are some good matches coming up. Obviously, everybody can play, everybody who’s in the tournament. But yeah, these are the moments everybody looks for, everybody looks to see who they’re playing and who they’re up against.”
Does it reinforce how difficult this tournament is with so many names in it?
“Yeah, there’s so many difficult tournaments during the year, and this is certainly one of them. You want to do well, and it’s always great to be back here and play in such great events. Everybody’s coming from Indian Wells which is a great event. We’re looking forward to this one now. So, a little different conditions, everybody’s going to adjust to the humidity and wind and go from there.”
How do you feel about playing at the Sony Open?
“Last year was one of my highlights of my career coming here, going all the way to the semis, playing a great match against (David) Ferrer, and I’d like to just play as good as I did last year.”
What makes this event so unique?
“Just the atmosphere. It’s nice, the conditions are great ... the atmosphere is great. The people coming here enjoy it, watching some great tennis and it’s a very big, nice event. And being in Miami is not too bad!”