“It was a funny recovery with a change of opponent at the last moment.
Elise Mertens’ package (hit on a shoulder, editor’s note), it was not a real surprise. Two days ago, I had seen her serving and she was not fully. She had even interrupted her training. But I still thought she could play. We had to adapt an hour and a half before the match. With my coach, we did some last minute research. But it’s good to start the season with a victory, against anyone. We tried to find a few video matches, but I mostly focused on what to do rather than her. And it went well.
We imagine that you were impatient to find the competition.
I had not played since Roland Garros and it is starting to date. I was frustrated at the end of the season. I did a lot of real estate and I had a blast. I just wanted to come back to a court, be in a tournament and play. I am almost 31 years old and the land periods, I have done a lot in my life and now I want to go to the essential. And the main thing is the matches.
“There is worse than staying 19 hours a day in a luxury hotel room, you have to stop complaining”
What were your feelings during the match?
The conditions were difficult to have a good feeling because it was very windy. It was mostly a question of adjustments to that. I was a little nervous because it was the first game of the season. But overall I had a solid game. It was a game I had to win, but it’s never easy to do it. The adventure continues and I hope I can put some extra things in place for the next game.
After Abu Dhabi, there will be the departure to Melbourne and the quarantine before the next tournaments. How did you prepare for it?
Departure to Australia will be by charter plane from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne. You will need to be patient during quarantine. We will only be able to go out for five hours a day, so that means 19 hours locked in the hotel room. It’s a bit mental … But if I can practice it will be fine. But, again, this is just adaptation. I will try to pass the time in the best possible way. But there is worse than spending 19 hours a day in a luxury hotel room, you have to stop complaining. Knowing myself, I think I will also practice in my room. Five hours a day is questionable. Two hours of tennis, two hours of fitness, for the most part is enough. But for those who want to play more, and I am used to training more than that, it will really take quality so that the two hours are enough. But we will all be in the same boat. “