Pablo Andujar spoke on Monday in Geneva about how excited he was to play Roger Federer for the first time. On Tuesday, the Spaniard held his hands on his head in disbelief after upsetting the Swiss star in three sets to reach the Gonet Geneva Open quarter-finals.
“It’s amazing. I still cannot believe it because for me, I said yesterday playing him was a dream. But of course beating him is another level,” Andujar told ATPTour.com. “It’s very emotional to play him and to beat him, given the conditions for him coming back and he’s not for sure playing his best tennis. But it really counts a lot to me and it’s very important for me and for the rest of my career.”
It wasn’t the first time Andujar faced a legendary opponent. The 35-year-old had played Rafael Nadal four times (0-4) and lost against Novak Djokovic twice. But he held his nerve against the former World No. 1.
“Of course I was nervous, but I tried to keep it as if it was another match. I have a lot of respect and I admire a lot Roger Federer. I really admire him, but I had to try not to think who I was playing against,” Andujar said. “I just tried to think about the game, about my game and tried to be 100 per cent focussed on that and I think I pretty much did it during the whole match.
“That’s one of the things I think I can be most proud of today. I kept believing and tried to go point by point, because sometimes for me it happens in other matches when I played someone so good like Roger or Rafa that I was so nervous that I couldn’t compete. I’m happy I was able to play my game and compete today.
“I am very proud, not for beating him. It’s the way I focussed on and treated the match… [I was able to] enjoy playing Roger Federer today. If I had lost, I would say the same thing, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
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Andujar is a four-time ATP Tour titlist, and he had already earned four victories against opponents inside the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. But the Spaniard had little doubt that this was his biggest individual win.
“As [far as wins, this is] number one for sure,” Andujar said. “To win a tournament could be more emotional, but this is something I think I will remember my whole life. Maybe winning four tournaments, not as much. It’s a different feeling.”
After his match, Andujar called his family. He has three children — Pablo Jr., Alex and Carlos — who are all under four years old, so they were too young to understand the significance of his achievement.
“I spoke to my wife and to my parents and they were very happy for me,” Andujar said. “When I spoke to the kids [I said], ‘Papa won a match.’ [They said], ‘Okay, bye bye!’ Even if I lose, even if I win, they are the same. They are happy. That makes me more relaxed. They don’t really care about my defeats or my victories.”
Regardless, this will be a moment they will be able to relive in the future, and Andujar will be able to tell the story for years to come.
“Not a bad day at the office,” Andujar said. “It was an amazing day.”