Q&A with Amer Delic

By Betina Correya

Q. How do you feel about winning your match against Paul-Henri Mathieu today? You looked a little out of it …

Amer Delic: Oh man, it was awful tennis. Obviously I give credit to Paul; he played well. I wasn’t necessarily nervous, it was just that I was trying to stick to my game plan. I had it, but I just didn’t execute it. And then finally in the third set, I was back to the wall, I relaxed a little bit and tried to play it the way I like to play. Obviously it was a little bit of a different story. I think the adrenalin is still kind of flowing. So I’m pretty good, but I think in about an hour or two I’ll be crashing. I’m glad I got through this and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Q. How do you hold up in consecutive five-set matches in hot conditions?

AD: I guess you follow up with another five-set match. My body is good; I did my off-season training. Obviously I’m going to go and refresh the legs, and I’ll have another day off and we’ll see. Adrenalin gets you through .. It’s never easy playing a five-setter. I think the first day that I played it was a little bit hotter, but we didn’t have as long rallies.

Q. What did you think of the rowdy supporters in your match today?

AD: I think what happened was some Serbian followers came and then they were cheering back and forth across the court. I couldn’t control any of that, I was trying to, but I felt bad for Paul and I apologised to him right after it happened. It’s

tough, obviously. I like those fans - they’re getting me through these matches - but I think today was bad at the times when the other side came across. The fans are energetic. I’m Bosnian-American, but the fans still feel like I’m Bosnian. I was born and lived in Bosnia until I was 14. They’re proud of me and I’m proud of them. What’s wrong with cheering for your country?

Q. How hard is it to concentrate when your fans are being rowdy?

AD: It wasn’t easy because I’m the middleman for this circus out there … It was hard. The adrenalin was flowing, I was trying to calm them down.

Q. You will play Novak Djokovic in the third round. Have you played him before?

AD: I played Novak in Wimbledon two years ago. It was 7-6 in the fourth set and I lost, but it was a good match. It was on the grass, so different surface, different day.

Q. Do you think you can beat Djokovic at this stage of the tournament?

AD: Why not? Things have been going my way; why stop it here?

Q. Have you seen much of Melbourne?

AD: This is my fifth year in Melbourne, and I haven’t really seen anything other than tennis courts and hotels, so I’m still here as a tourist … I’ve been seeing these commercials for the aquarium here. I actually went to my first cricket match the weekend before the qualifiers started, so that was kind of cool going to the MCG. My coach Craig O’Shannessy is Australian, so he kind of guided me through that. I went to a Twenty20 (match), so that was kind of easy to understand.

Q. Didn’t you have Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley as a coach in the past?

AD: Craig was my college coach for three years at the University of Illinois. He’s been a mentor, almost like a second father to me.

Q. What motivates and inspires you? What gets you back on track?

AD: Do I really need any more motivation than the fact that I’m still a lucky loser here? I’m playing in front of fans that come out here and watch us. This is my job being a tennis player - do I really need anything else?

Q. Who’s your favourite player of all-time?

AD: Either Patrick Rafter or Stefan Edberg. They’re just classic guys and fun to watch.

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