Through Esther, we managed to arrange for Zara who runs Ernests Gulbis' blog to meet up with Asia no. 2 Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun on Friday evening for a pre-Australian Open interview.
Thank you girls for the transcript and practice photos!
1) Your current ranking at #61 is your personal best so far, so what's next? What is your goal for year 2009?
I don’t set a specific ranking for me to reach. Of course I want to be ranked higher – Top 50, Top 35 – but my goal is to play all the big tournaments like the ATP 1000’s (he actually said ‘Super 9’) and Grand Slams. That means I need to be in the Top 50.
Before this, I’ve only ever played 3-4 ATP 1000’s per year, but this year I hope I can compete in all of them.
I don’t know what ranking number I want to reach but I hope I can play all the big tournaments.
2) How will your performance in Heineken Open,NZL and Hopman Cup influence your game in AO? How much did those matches with Safin, Simon and Almagro give you confidence for AO?
It was a very good experience and preparation for the Australian Open. I really enjoyed myself there. There were a lot of spectators and good facilities, also the fact that the Hopman Cup is a different kind of tournament from an ATP event. You just have to play well and hope that you could win some points. I feel happy that I’ve been there.
3) Do you feel like you could have done anything better against the top players?
Of course, after the match I always think about where you conceded something and where you should have changed anything. I had chances to win a set, or even a match. I always try to find reasons to improve.
4) Your best results in Grand Slams is the 2nd round. Do you think you can break that barrier and go further than that?
I’m going to focus on winning the first match. For me, there’s no pressure but I am motivated and I intend to win the first match, and not only that but also the matches beyond it.
5) Do you think Asian players, such as Kei Nishikori, Somdev Devvarman (who was knocked out in qualifying round), Hsieh Su-wei, Sun Tiantian, and Zheng Jie, can grab some attention from the AO this year?
Right now we have several players still in the qualifying – I hope they can win the last match tomorrow.
It’s good for us that many Asian players are starting to play in Grand Slams. If one of us can reach the third or fourth round – then we all can do the same thing, you know.
We are competitors, so when we look at the other person – if I can do well, that means they also can do well. It’s a good example for other Asian players.
6) Are you looking forward to team up with Yang Tsung-hua in the coming Davis Cup in Taipei? Do you have a chance to meet up with your Davis Cup teammates to discuss strategies to take on Kazakhstan?
Of course, it’s really close after the Australian Open but we have already started preparations since last year. It’s really special for me, but I try not to think too much about it now and just try to focus (on the Australian Open.) When the time comes then I will worry about it (laughs).
7) How does it feel to be an uncle? Will you encourage him to play professional tennis one day?
At the beginning, it was strange (laughs). Very strange. But now it is interesting, because when I go home there is something different. Before this when I go home I just lie down and watch the TV, but now when I go home there is something to think about – what is my nephew doing, things like that. I want to see him and play with him – it’s something new.
I don’t know if I want the baby to play tennis when he grows up – not right now (laughs).
Photos and interview by Zahirah Fairuz Zahari, Melbourne Park.