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Family man Baghdatis ready for one final tilt

It’s been 15 long years for the Cypriot on the Tour

Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News
Marcos Baghdatis at the men’s draw yesterday. He has been drawn to face Serbian Viktor Troicki in their first round.
Gulf News

Dubai: Former top-10 player Marcos Baghdatis is banking on love and support in achieving his tennis aspirations while approaching the fag end of his professional career.

Baghdatis, who is married to former tennis Croatian pro Karolina Sprem, has been drawn to face Serbian Viktor Troicki in their first round of this week’s Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open that gets under way on Monday. The Cypriot has an impressive career spanning more than 15 years, which rose to a career-best No. 8 following the runner-up spot at the Australian Open and a semi-final at Wimbledon, both in 2006.

However, persistent injuries have slowed him down. But it is the care and concern of his family that has taken Baghdatis through these tough moments.

“It is very important to have people who love you and care for you. I am blessed enough to have beautiful kids and a lovely wife, my parents, my wife’s family who help us a lot. That helps me a lot and that motivates me every day to wake up and push to my limits and try to improve my body and my tennis and be the best I can be,” Baghdatis told media on the sidelines of the men’s draw ceremony on Saturday.

Having a former professional as a wife also has its advantages. “For sure, she understands me and spends time with me on the court and helps me. There is a different motivation for me when she is on court and she helps me around. It is just a different sort of motivation,” he admitted.

Baghdatis has been a Dubai regular for the past few years now. Last week, he reached the quarter-final at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open where he lost to Josef Kovalik in straight sets. Before that he competed at the Australian Open and bowed out in the second round losing to Andrey Rublev.

“I love coming here and whenever I do I have great memories, great emotions and it is fun coming back each time,” Baghdatis said.

“I have practised very well so that I can get back fit to be able to play the big tournaments. I was lucky to have the honour of getting a wild card here. I appreciate that and I will do my best to play every match to the best I can so I can go far in the tournament,” he vouched.

“Against Viktor [Troicki] it is never easy. It is going to be a tough one here too. He is one of the experienced players and he knows me very well and he knows how I play and I know how he plays. It is going to be like a chess game and the best who can control emotions and be the best on that day can win the match,” Baghdatis predicted.