Goffin edges Karlovic in the rain, wins Kooyong finalPosted on January 13, 2017
In a match that was reduced to one set, the Belgium star defended his title against the world number 20 from Croatia 7-6 in a tiebreak that was finally started late in the afternoon of a rainy Melbourne day.
“It’s never easy to wait when it is raining and finally we played a set,” Goffin told reporters after the match holding the trophy.
“So it was nice to play some tennis today and against Ivo it’s always the story of tiebreaks.
“It was a funny tiebreak and it was nice for the crowd, for the people who stayed all day long just to give them some tennis so it was nice.”
The world number 11 will come up against a yet to be determined qualifier in the first round of the Australian Open next week, when the temperature is set to soar in Melbourne to 40 degrees.
“It was perfect, I didn’t know if I’d have the chance to hit some balls but at the end I moved a little bit and just did a quick set and tomorrow I’m back on court practicing,” Goffin added.
“I’m feeling ready for the Open and that’s the most important thing.”
The pair also came off the court with the score at 2-2 for a further eight minutes as the rain again became too strong for play to continue at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.
Goffin assured he would like to return in 2018 to try and become just the second player to win three consecutive Kooyong titles along with American Andy Roddick.
“You just have to stay calm,” the Belgian said.
“Sometimes you want to run, you want to move and you feel nervous but you have to stay calm – maybe eat a little bit, drink also a lot, sometimes you can sleep.”
“It’s really important to also stay mentally ready if you have to play.”
Karlovic was also thankful for the chance to play against a strong opponent just days away from a Grand Slam that is loaded with talented players across the draw.
“Yeah it was raining and very difficult, but we also wanted to hit a little bit before the Australian Open,” he said.
“At least we had an opportunity to play one set.”
The big-serving Croatian will face Horacio Zeballos from Argentina in the first round, an opponent he will not take for granted when he starts his Grand Slam campaign for 2017 at Melbourne Park.
“Yes I know him, he’s from Argentina and is a lefty so it is always difficult against lefties,” Karlovic explained.
“Hopefully my strength will be good and hopefully I’m going to win but it is always difficult at the Australian Open at the beginning of the year – hopefully it will all be good.”