Vasek Pospisil's tennis wanderings bring him home for VanOpen
‘I rarely get to come home … I mean, basically you're living on the road’
Vancouver resident Vasek Pospisil talks to reporters at West Vancouver's Hollyburn Country Club on Monday, July 29, 2013, ahead of Tuesday’s start of the annual Odlum Brown VanOpen.
Photograph by: Richard Lam, PNG
METRO VANCOUVER — Vasek Pospisil, Davis Cup hero, is back home to play a little tennis this week at the Odlum Brown VanOpen.
Or at least he calls it home. His real home, it seems, is on the road somewhere, living in a hotel and out of a suitcase. It's the life of a young professional trying to climb the ATP rankings and become a bigger force in men's tennis.
“I rarely get to come home,” said Pospisil, born in Vernon but now a Vancouver resident. “I spend very, very few days a year here. The last couple of years, it's only been for events and tournaments. It's tough. I mean, basically you're living on the road, other than month and a half at the end of the year where I do my training in Florida. So, days on the road? Maybe 280 a year. You're always somewhere.”
This week, Pospisil is second seed at the $200,000 Odlum Brown tourney, which is again being held at West Vancouver's Hollyburn Country Club. Next week, he'll be at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, followed by a tournament in Cincinnati (Aug. 11) , followed by the U.S. Open in New York (Aug. 26), followed by Davis Cup semifinals in Serbia in mid-September.
That's a lot of packing, unpacking and shuttling to airports. No wonder Pospisil was smiling Monday during VanOpen media day.
“It feels good to be a headliner here but, more than anything, it feels good to be at home and to play at home in front of my friends and family,” said Pospisil, 23. “Obviously I'd love to maybe win this tournament.”
Pospisil missed the VanOpen last summer due to a little event called the Summer Olympics. He was a semifinalist in 2011 but feels his game is more polished now. His heroics in Davis Cup, first in Israel and then during the epic doubles match in April vs. Italy, have clearly boosted his stock in both singles and doubles.
His task, he noted, is to find the proper balance between his individual career and playing for his country. He's currently ranked 89th in the world. Top seed in the VanOpen is Russian Evgeny Donskoy, ranked 84th. Poland's Lukasz Kubot, ranked 67th, had been scheduled to play at Hollyburn but was scratched last week due to injury.
Pospisil's first match is Tuesday night against Taiwan's Ti Chen. They are scheduled to compete on centre court following the 6:30 p.m. opening ceremonies.
“I feel like I've improved a lot this year,” said Pospisil. “I have a dangerous game and I think right now the key for me is to be consistent. I can go out there and play some really good matches and the key is to be able to do that day-in, day-out every time you step on the court. I've gotten a lot better at that.”
While Pospisil is currently concentrating on his singles game, he admits his thoughts often wander to the Davis Cup showdown with Novak Djokovic and his fellow Serbs, Sept. 13-15 in Belgrade.
“For sure, it's extremely exciting,” said Pospisil. “It's a milestone for tennis in Canada. It's the first time we've ever been in the semifinals. Everyone is looking forward to that. I'm trying not to think too much about it because I still have some tournaments leading up to it.
“It's a difficult balance because obviously you want to look out for your personal career and, at the same time, you want to get to the Davis Cup feeling fresh. So you have to kind of balance tournaments a little bit, which is what I'll be doing. I'll take a few weeks off before the U.S. Open.”
Tennis fans (and media, it seems) in Vancouver aren't quite ready to let go of the Pospisil-Daniel Nestor doubles win last April at UBC, and why should they? It was one of this country’s finest tennis moments as the Canadians prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 15-13, the fifth set lasting more than two hours.
“I've already heard about it a few times this week,” said a smiling Pospisil. “It's nice to remember matches and moments like that. At the same time, it's in the past and there are a lot of things ahead of me.”
In another feature men’s match scheduled for Tuesday, Canadian Davis Cup veteran Frank Dancevic will face North Vancouver’s Filip Peliwo, the 2012 junior men’s champion at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
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