In the latest edition of Players’ Voice, Polish star Hubert Hurkacz shares his season highlights to date, what it meant to defeat his childhood idol Roger Federer and how Iga Swiatek’s Roland-Garros triumph inspired him.
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As a child, Roger Federer was my idol. At every opportunity, I remember trying to watch him as much as possible on the television; that was when I began to realise my dream of competing in the world’s biggest tournaments one day.
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When I played and won against him at Wimbledon this year, I felt nothing but sheer joy. It was an extremely intense match for me, accompanied by an amazing atmosphere. Facing a player such as Roger on Centre Court and coming out on top was an unreal feeling - even now I can’t really describe that experience. There isn’t heaps of time between players at the end of matches, but he told me that I played a good game and wished me good luck for the rest of the tournament, which meant a lot.
That quarter-final victory is definitely one of my most memorable moments of the season. It was more than just a win because it represented that I’d taken another step to break down my barriers and show that I can achieve big things. Wimbledon, combined with what I achieved in Delray Beach, Miami and Metz, were all equally big achievements for me as they each gave me the confidence to know that I can keep pushing myself further.
From the very beginning of the season, I believed that it would be successful, however I can’t lie and say it hasn’t had its ups and downs. It’s like I’m in a continuous process of self-development; the year started really strongly because I won the title at Delray Beach, but then I experienced a number of early exits up until Miami.
There I faced Jannik Sinner in the final, a match that could have been tricky because he is one of my best friends on tour. But when you go out on the court, you always think about playing your best tennis. You strive to win the game. Regardless of whether you are competing with a friend or not, you prepare for the duel in the same way. You have to be ready for how your opponent is playing. You have to concentrate on how to play. It doesn’t matter if you like someone or not. That is my approach and I guess how I won my first ATP 1000 title.
In general, I think this season has been my best because I feel I am much more aware of what is happening on court; mentally I feel stronger. Physically too; I’ve been able to move forward and I think my service has improved a lot.
It would be nice to win a Grand Slam someday. Iga's [Swiatek] victory at Roland Garros last year was definitely an inspiration for me. It was something amazing. She showed us all that someone from Poland can achieve such fantastic success and it was incredibly motivating for me to witness how much her achievement meant to everyone back at home. When we see each other at tournaments, it’s always great to catch up and I follow her results closely. We keep our fingers crossed for each other and are very big supporters of one another.
Hubert Hurkacz and Iga Swiatek at the 2021 Poland Open
Image credit: Getty Images
With my results, I really hope I can inspire people too - especially now that I am within the ATP’s top 10. That was definitely my dream and it would be fun to stay there for many, many years. Of course there are some factors that might mean this is beyond my control, however as long as I continue to prepare physically and mentally for my matches, then I am giving myself the best possible shot at it.
I have the same attitude towards the ATP Finals. qualifying for Turin and performing in such a big tournament would be amazing. It would be a very distinctive point in my career and I'll do everything I can to be there.
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Hubert qualified for Turin last week by reaching the semi-finals of the Rolex Paris Masters.
Hubert Hurkacz celebrates
Image credit: Getty Images
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