- 5 August 2020 à 12H53
“I was rather late developing physically in adolescence,” he told Tennis Majors. “I was a lot smaller than the other players when I was 14 or 15 years old. The results were not good - when, at 16, there were already big, strong bearded men, I was still the little kid who looked younger than 14.”Goffin learned from an early age to play a style of tennis that can thwart those big men he is referring to. He is quick, agile and a whiz at taking the ball on the rise, which serves to take time away from his opponents.
“I was trying to take the ball early, I was trying to find solutions against players who were stronger than me,” he said of his junior days. “But the results were still difficult and the Belgian Federation hesitated to keep me. It was a bit of a hard time for me.”
Goffin reached the round of 16 for his first Grand Slam appearanceGoffin’s story is about perseverance and intellect as much as it is talent. He finally found his way in the tennis world and nowadays he is the consummate pro, a deserving member of the ATP’s elite. “I started to grow, keeping my qualities of speed,” he said. “I caught up with the players that were more powerful than me.” Goffin looks back with amazement at his first Grand Slam main draw appearance in 2012, when he reached the round of 16 as a lucky loser and faced Roger Federer on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
“Already I was in a euphoric moment at this Roland-Garros,” he said. “I was playing really well before the tournament.”Goffin says that losing in the third round of qualifying actually helped him that year. “In a way it liberated me,” he said.
Goffin: "I am still a fan of Federer"By the time he faced Federer his three main draw victories helped him relax, but it wasn’t easy against an idol like the Swiss. “I had posters of him. I am still a fan of him,” he said, adding: “I had never played against him and finally it happened. I had two points to lead two sets to love, and obviously with his experience he was able to turn the situation around.” Goffin also talks about the harrowing experience he had at Rotterdam in 2018 when a ball glanced off his racquet and struck his eye during his semi-final against Grigor Dimitrov.
“I was really scared,” he said. “For 24 hours it was all black in one eye. I couldn’t see at all from that eye. I was in a bit of a panic and right away after I went to the hospital after the match, it was necessary to check that the retina was not damaged. I didn’t not have to go through an emergency operation but I wanted to regain my sight.”It took a while, but Goffin was able to reclaim his health. “We had to put drops in my eye for several hours and then, little by little, it came back and I started to see the light.”