Tennis - "It was an up and down with me" - sports in the region
Daniel Brands, 32, the world's former number 51, talks about the end of his pro career in the SZ interview, exchanging rackets and his win over Roger Federer.
SZ: Mr. Brands, at the press conference for the first home game of the TC Großhesselohe you announced your retirement from professional tennis. Why right there?
Daniel Brands: Actually, I wanted to wait a bit, but I spontaneously decided that it was a good platform.
In the summer of 2016, you had this thought once before. What is different now?
At that time I had a phase in which I did not enjoy the sport so much anymore. At every trip and tournament I thought, why am I doing that?
Because being a tennis professional is not as fun as it looks?
Of course, you have to train hard, there are many training phases in which you drive a fairly tight program. It's like a normal job, we start at half past eight in the morning and come home at six, seven in the evening. We train twice a day. That's no picnic.
And you do not always play on the doorstep.
We play 25 tournaments a year, sometimes more, you travel a lot and have little time for family and friends. Tennis professional is a job that brings many hardships, it is really hard work.
Of which you have enough now?
At the end of 2017, after a knee operation, I had plenty of time to think about my life as a professional tennis player. I decided to invest everything again with the aim of getting back into the top 100 within two years. 2019 was not so satisfying that I saw a reason to keep playing. I'm so far away from the top 100 that there's no point in dragging that out unnecessarily.
On Sunday is Bundesliga home game against Gladbach - with Daniel Brands. So you do not stop completely?
No, tennis in itself is still fun, I'm still in the juice. Bundesliga is team competition and therefore something very special. This is only available in the Davis Cup, this season I would definitely like to participate. If the body joins in, it would be great to play league even longer.
And then there are the men 30, who also play in the Bundesliga.
(laughs ) Yes, but I do not see myself there in the near future. Because then there is almost no way back.
They are 32 years old, 14 years traveled around the globe, have won ten Challenger tournaments. What do you especially like to remember?
There were many beautiful moments: 2010, when I was under the last 16 at Wimbledon. Or in 2013 the victory against Roger Federer in Gstaad. He is also an idol to me, it is an honor to play against him, and not many can say that he has beaten him. Then participate in several Davis Cup games. It is a dream for every athlete to compete for his country.
They were the number 51 in the world. What was missing for the really big career?
I think the potential has been there. But at crucial moments, I was also unlucky when, in 2013, in my best year, the glandular fever slowed me down.
But you came back and won a Challenger tournament in Italy last summer.
That's right, but I'm also a player who never took self-confidence for granted. I always had to work it out and earn it. And I have not been consistent enough to fully exploit my potential. If you want to play in the world class, the confidence is crucial. That was up and down with me.
Let's look back to the beginning: When decides that you want to pursue a professional career?
Good question. I decided that at twelve, from that point on there was only this goal left. When I was 18 and played the first time on smaller tournaments, I sat down with my dad to set a time target. It does not make sense to mess around for many years on small tournaments. The faster you play up, the better the chance to get to the top.
What was the goal?
22 years old in the top 250
I think I was around 180.
The sport is one thing, the athlete the other. What remains for man Daniel Brands after this long time?
There's a lot left: nice moments that I do not want to miss. I developed my skills at a relatively early age through tennis and was forced to act independently at an early age. I traveled around the world relatively young. Had I not played tennis professionally, I would not have had all this experience. I believe that the person I am today is also through my job.
And you met the woman for life.
That's right, at the BMW Open. My friend is now a doctor, while studying, she helped out as a player supervisor.
An anecdote, please.
In 2017, I lost to Gael Monfils in the first round at Wimbledon and then to the gym for the players to expand. Stefanos Tsitsipas has just warmed up for his match, and because we had the same outfitter, he went with my racket on the square. I saw his shocked look on the TV when he looked in his pocket in the square. Then his coach came running.
What would you do differently today?
Maybe I would go to a prestigious tennis academy abroad sooner. I'm only in 2015 for a year in the academy of Magnus Norman in Stockholm, where I also trained with Stan Wawrinka. A coach of the academy then traveled with me to the tournaments. Otherwise, I only trained in Germany.
14 years of professional tennis, how are your bones?
I'm physically very well there. I always had good medical care and took care of my body. I knew when it was time to put the bat out of hand for a few days. The regenerative area was always important to me.
Tennis is said to be more in the head than in the muscles. Is that correct?
It's extreme in tennis. When I needed a break, it was mostly mental, not physical. Since I was partially burned out and tired.
What is your plan for the future? Or have you laid aside enough to put your feet up first?
No, unfortunately I did not take care of that, it's difficult in tennis, too few. But I want to stay there. The sport has determined my whole life. I have the most experience in tennis and I also think it would be fun to teach tennis to others, be it competitive or recreational. That's why I'll be doing my coaching license at the end of the year.
The contacts in the tennis base Oberhaching should be particularly good.
That would be an option?
I've trained most of my career there, so I can well imagine working there. But there is nothing concrete, I let that come to me to explore in peace. There are many contacts that I have made in my career.
A comparably successful footballer would have well taken care of. Are tennis players underpaid?
I think there is a lot of money in tennis, but it is not distributed properly. Especially in Grand Slam tournaments too much is being spread to the last round, to players for whom it does not play such an important role.
How should it be?
From the first qualifying round much more money should be distributed, so that the players, who are in the world rankings between 200 and 250, could hold only one year over the four Grand Slam qualifying participations, even if the coach from time to time take. That's not possible right now.
Maybe you will travel as a coach to such tournaments soon. Why book coach Daniel Brands?
I have worked with many trainers who work differently, know a lot of exercises on different areas in tennis, have learned a lot about intensity control, know how to integrate the condition component. I'm familiar with training control and believe that I can pass it all on well. It is a considerable amount of experience that is worth the price of gold if you want to work as a trainer. And not many others have to show.