ONcourt: Adil, it’s been a while since we’ve checked in with you. We want to talk about your 2013 season on tour, but before that I have to ask you about your experience in that amazing ride that Canada’s Davis Cup team enjoyed this past year.
OC:Can you tell me about your role on the team?
Adil Shamasdin:It was a fun year representing Canada at the Davis cup. It was my first time travelling with the team and it was an experience to remember. My main role on the team is to get the guys prepared for the matches. However, in the back of my mind I’m also getting prepared myself in case an injury comes up with one of the guys and I get the call to play. Since I played collegiate tennis, getting used to a team environment wasn’t difficult for me. I also knew all the guys for many years and we all have respect for one another. The practices are intense, but fun and the locker room is always full of jokes. We are a solid team and the results show that.
OC:Could you share some special Davis Cup moments you experienced with the readers?
AS: The atmosphere in the first round vs. Spain in Vancouver was exciting. I really didn’t know what to expect. The crowd was blanketed in a sea of red and white while canadian flags waved around with cheers of “go Canada go”. The support in Vancouver was amazing as they were very patriotic and loud. Especially when Frank Dancevic played one of the best matches I’ve witnessed in a live setting.
I was truly inspired by the doubles throughout the three matches we played. Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil put on gutsy performances every time they walked onto the doubles court. Although I would have rather played, it was fun watching and supporting such high level doubles. As a doubles player, It makes me inspired to work harder and stay motivated.
It wasn’t until we played Serbia in Belgrade where I realized just how big Novak Djokovic is in his home country. Walking into that stadium before Novaks first singles match was electrifying. We actually had a lot of Canadian fans in the crowd which was awesome to see a crew come from Canada. Since most of our squad is Serbian/Montenegro we also had many Serbian/Montenegro supporters as well.
OC: What was the most impactful thing you learned from the whole 2013 Davis Cup experience?
AS:The impact sports has on a country. It’s awesome to see so many people forget about politics and economical issues and come out to support their team represent their country to the highest level. I wish the format of Davis cup would be a little different in that they should have Davis Cup once every 2 or 3 years. This would have the participation of more players as well as the anticipation for a nation to get behind their team even more.
OC:What’s next for Canada’s Davis Cup team? How do you anticipate the teams chances in Tokyo?
AS:Japan will be a tough team with world #18 Kei Nishikori leading the squad. They play very well at home so it will be another tough match. Although we are the favourites on paper, anything can happen and we have to be prepared to try to win three out of the five points.
OC:So how about your 2013 season on tour? Can you share some of your ups and downs with the readers?
AS:My year in 2013 was disappointing. The year started off well winning a top tier challenger event, however I wasn’t able to keep that momentum. There were a lot of tough breaks in tie breakers, third-set super breakers or just the deuce points. It got really frustrating at times but that’s how it goes in sports. I am playing well and staying healthy which is the most important. I definitely learned a lot from the losses and hope to turn around a tough year. I’m still enjoying the travels and meeting new and interesting people along the way. One of the places that sticks out this year is Qarshi, Uzbekistan. This is not the most glamorous place to say the least, however it’s richness in culture opened my mind to appreciating more and more the opportunities we take for granted everyday. It was definitely one of my worst and best trips of the year.
OC:“What areas of your game are you working on for the new season?
AS:I had a good off season with a much needed time away from tennis. It’s important for me to keep my life balanced and I surely needed a break from tennis. However, when I started back again I was able to work on a lot of stuff during the “off season”. Along with time spent training in the gym, my main focus is my serve and first volley. I’ve learned through my career in tennis that it comes down to mastering the basics and for doubles these are two very important yet basic shots.
OC:Thank you for taking the time to share. Good luck in 2014 Adil.