Horia Tecău and Jean Julien Rojer didn’t lose a single set in their matches in the Fleming/McEnroe group on the road to the semi finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. In the group matches they defeated Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, Marcin Matkowski and Nenad Zimonjic and the strong French couple Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues. Earlier in the season they lost form the French guys, but London seems to be an inspiring soil for the Romanian and the Dutchman since they have won Wimbledon this year. They will now play against the world number one couple Mike and Bob Bryan. ‘It is what it is, they are the number one, they deserved that ranking by playing well, but we our selfs also had a great year. A nice story line perhaps, we playing against the Bryan Brothers, but we just have to focus on what we must do on the court.’ Rojer said at the press conference. Horia: ‘We did not play against them recently but we know them well. We know what we have to do and we need to be focused on our plan an execute that well.’
Doing the right thing on important moments
After the match we have had an interview with Jean Julien Rojer. ‘Since the previous editions of the ATP Finals were not very successful, we were wondering what you and Horia have done otherwise or is this a result of the victory at Wimbledon?’ we asked Juls. Rojer: ‘You can say that. In the previous three years, I have lost all my matches, and now we have not even lost a set so far. We did have a good preparation, I feel much better both physically and mentally and indeed winning Wimbledon meant an enormous confidence boost for us. Playing the finals at Wimbledon means acting at the biggest stage of our sport. There’s a lot of pressure in this tournament and after Wimbledon we know that we can do the right things on the important moments. After Wimbledon we know we can handle the big moments and that big atmosphere.’
Pressure for both sides
‘The format of the matches here at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in the doubles is completely different from the format during the Grand Slams. Here, after deuce you play just one decisive point. There is no third set, but you play a super tiebreak. That means a lot of pressure, you must constantly be focused because there is not much time to restore a fault. Fortunately this counts for both teams! They will feel the pressure in the same way, that’s important to recognize. We prefer the best of 5 format because it’s give you more opportunities to recover from a dip. In the second round at Wimbledon we were two sets down and still we could figth back and win the tournament. But we’re very happy with the way we have played here.’
Friends off court as well
Also off court Horia and Jean Julien spend a lot of time together. They’re friends and that pays off in the matches. Earlier at the press conference Horia explained: ‘Especially when there’s a lot of pressure, like here, it’s nice to have someone near you who will support you. We get along very well.’ Maybe this is one of ‘ the secrets’ of the success of Rojer and Tecau. They’re not only great tennis players but also supporting one another. On the moment they play without a coach. I asked Rojer how he prepares for the matches and if there was for instance a moment that he was surprised by their French opponents today. ‘ No I was not surprised. We do a lot of scouting. I watch matches and I make notes. We know the habits of our opponents and what they like to do on the big moments. In this tournament all the matches are available. You can study them and that’s what I have done so far for our team, and I think that’s working. I will also study the matches of the Bryan brothers they have played here so far before we play against them in the semi finals. We have a game plan and whether or not we can completely executed that depends on the way our opponents are playing. We must not play in their strengths. Sometimes you have to adjust something in your strategy. One should asks oneself ‘do we keep playing what we’re doing well’ or do we have to readjust and make more use of their weakness.’ During the match you have to make decisions about that. We do that together. In our team there’s no leader. During the game of course there’s not much time for discussions, but we do talk a lot to each other about the strategy. During the short breaks you have some more time of course. Most of the time I do suggestions, but that doesn’t mean I’m always right. Horia may see things in a different way. We talk about that and we respect each others input. We always find a strategy to play. I know that there are teams with one leader, but we do it by communicating a lot. That’s how it works in our team.