Q. Were you surprised at how easy the win was today?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Easy? No. It was not easy.
It was, I think, pretty hard, no? But the third and the fourth set, I took ‑‑ the third set I took advantage with two breaks, and he broke me back one time. You know, I was feeling much better the third and the fourth than the first and second.
But I think that the first set, I was more lucky than him that in the tiebreak I played better, no? I was better serving, and I get some points good in the return also.
But I don’t think that it was nothing easy in this match.
Q. How has your Davis Cup experience influenced you as a player and was what you did last December still helping you now?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: That Davis Cup, I said too many times, it change my life so much and gave me a lot of confidence and mentally made me much stronger for these matches here, no, five‑set matches, and also with a lot of pressure, because it’s a Grand Slam.
That tie in Argentina makes me grow up a lot, I think, like a tennis player.
Q. Other than your own hard work, who do you feel you owe your progress to at this moment?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: No, you know, I was working so hard this pre‑season, like everybody knows, I think, right now, with Gil Reyes in Las Vegas. Also I need to say thanks because I didn’t say before to adidas. Is because of my brand, no, that I had this chance to be with Gil in Las Vegas. You know, there is a development program for the players of adidas, you know, with Gil Reyes. They help us so much.
Some players, they don’t like maybe or they don’t want to do it. But me, because I don’t have coach, you know, I decide to go there. Also because Agassi was my idol when I was young, I decide that it was, for sure, a good experience, that I will learn so much. So I took that decision.
Right now I’m feeling much better than before. They help me so much. They treat me unbelievable there. You know, I can’t wait to go again there to start practicing again.
Q. What’s the difference in a tennis player or even in a man of being a left‑hander? It is a small percentage of people.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Maybe it is that advantage, that we are not a lot, and the right‑handers, they are not used to play against us. So when they play against us, they need to change a little bit the way to play, and maybe they have more problems to know how they need to play.
But, anyway, I don’t think about this too much, you know, right now. I don’t think that if I am lefty or take advantage because of this. I’m just enjoying this moment for me, and that’s the most important thing for me.
Q. What is your confidence level right now? What do you believe you can do in this tournament?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: What I’m thinking right now is that I’m playing good. I’m feeling good. Anyway, I’m in semifinals. I don’t have like, you know, pain in any part of the body. I’m feeling pretty good. And that’s the most important thing, you know.
Now my next round is gonna be against Nadal or Simon. Nadal is one set up right now. And if is against him, like I said when they told me also about if Murray is the favorite, was the favorite for this tournament, I said, like, you know, to put Murray favorite against player like Nadal or Federer is so tough, because for me Rafa is the toughest player in five‑set matches. If I play against him, is going to be, you know, the toughest match as possible.
But, you know, I’m feeling pretty good and I just want to go out there for first time in semifinals in Grand Slam and enjoy that moment, do my best, just enjoy and try my best. Right now I’m believing so much about me, about my game, I’m feeling pretty good, and I just think that I can beat anyone. But, you know, the same way that I can win, I can lose. I’m playing with the best players in the world. Of course, they are always tough matches.
But I believe in myself that I can win that matches. I don’t put a limit in this tournament. I’m in semifinals right now and I think that I can lose in semifinals but also be in the final or win the tournament. So I will try to, for sure, win the tournament.
Q. Will you watch tonight’s game?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Yeah, I was watching first set right now. Now, when I will finish here, I will go to the hotel. I will go to dinner. If I can, I will keep watching.
Of course, anyway, I know Rafa. I was playing with him a lot of times. We know each other for many years. Also I was watching him playing against González the other day a little bit. I was watching him play against Haas. So I don’t need to watch all the match today.
Q. Do you think that will help you, knowing his game so well?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: You know, I know him; he know me. I think that thing is there. And I don’t think that is gonna help me or don’t. I just will think about the match. I will start to think about the match tomorrow. I think now I need to enjoy a little bit my victory. And tomorrow I will start to think about the match against Rafa, if is Rafa, you know, how I can be tougher for him.
Anyway, like I’m doing right now, and I’ve been doing all the tournament, just trying to do my game, trying to do what I’m feeling good, just my game and don’t think so much also about the other players. In the court, there are lots of moments and lots of situations that maybe you need to change. But at the beginning I will not change so much my style of game.
Q. Your game adapts very well to all surfaces. What do you think is the single most important reason for that?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Maybe because I am from Madrid, and in Madrid, you know, when I was young, I was playing a lot in hard court. The tournaments in Madrid when I was 14, 15, 16, 17, I tell you, it was so, so fast ‑ much faster than all these ones. Maybe because of that, for sure is one of the most important things, because I am feeling good in hard courts also, in faster courts, than clay.
But, you know, then when I start to play futures and tournaments in Spain, it was all in clay. But, anyway, you know, when I was young, have like my idol, as I said, was Agassi. He was a hard court player. That help me also. You know, I was watching him and I was trying to play like him, no? I didn’t do it, but I was trying (smiling).
I think that a little bit of everything made me create that style of game to make me play, you know, more or less good in all surface.
Q. When you talked to Agassi in Las Vegas, was it about the Australian Open?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: It was about a lot of things. It was about the tournaments, how I should organize my year of tournaments. You know, I was asking him, you know, “This tournament, you think I need to play, I don’t need to play, I need to practice these weeks, this week no. He was just giving me advices about, you know, what he thinks about all this, about what tournaments I need to play or which weeks I need to practice and be ready for the big tournaments. Also, after, about tactics, no, and about my game, how he thinks that I should play more and take more advantage of my game.
You know, we was speaking for two hours, so we spoke a lot. But he really help me so much. I’m so happy to had that conversation with him.
Q. Are you working with Sven Groeneveld now?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Yeah. Sven is working with adidas. He’s also one big friend. I have so good relationship with him. Adidas is treating me unbelievable. They are giving me all the options. Because I don’t have coach, they are giving me all the options and all the help that they can give me, these things with Gil Reyes and Andre, also with Sven, Mats, all the team of adidas.
He’s helping me. But today in the match, he cannot help me because Tsonga is also an adidas player. Always when I play against another adidas player, he cannot be there. When I don’t play against adidas player, he’s always helping me.
Q. When did it start?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: He came to Madrid two years ago for one week, practicing with me. Then after that week that we start our relationship, we spoke in a lot of tournaments. He’s not traveling all the year, so we was together in Grand Slams, in Masters Series that he came.
I had so good relationship with him. I have so good relationship right now with him. He’s helping me so much. But, you know, he’s not like full‑time coach, because is a different thing. But I’m so happy also to be with him.
012809 wednesday /info-photo via Australian Open / Getty Images