Tennis God goes against Martin Klizan

Martin Klizan saved five match points against Roberto Bautista Agut and another three against Nicolas Mahut in the semis on his way to winning the Rotterdam Open last year. A similar script unfolded in his second round match against Aljaz Bedene but this time around, he failed to close out the third set and crashed out of the Chennai Open. Perhaps, the Tennis God had a part to play.

“The match showed that I could come back again but the tennis god said “No Martin, you are not going to win today, you don’t deserve to,” said Klizan.   -  PTI

In the list of ATP’s biggest match comebacks of 2016, Martin Klizan belongs to the very top. In Rotterdam last year, the Slovakian saved five match points against Roberto Bautista Agut and another three against Nicolas Mahut in the semis on his way to winning the tournament.

In both the matches, he lost the opening set in a tiebreaker before winning the second likewise. He was called the ‘escape artist’ after his exploits.

On Thursday, a similar script unfolded in his second round match against Aljaz Bedene but this time around, he failed to close out the third set and crashed out of the Chennai Open.

In an interesting post-match presser, Klizan got philosophical, invoking the tennis gods, and gave the air of a man who has become circumspect in not wanting to offend the higher power. “I would say I didn’t deserve to win. From the end of last season, I didn’t give a lot of time to practice and haven’t focused.”

“The match showed that I could come back again but the tennis god said “No Martin, you are not going to win today, you don’t deserve to,” said Klizan.

Not jinxing it

Ask him about his target for the 2017 season, Klizan starts off like every other tennis player on the tour, saying “it is about just saying healthy” before adding, “maybe I shouldn’t say it. Last year I said the same thing and I was out for half the year.”

Klizan, seeded fourth and ranked 35th in the world, was the Slovakian expected to be in the last eight, but Jozef Kovalik stole his thunder on Wednesday, beating top-seed Marin Cilic.

Klizan spoke fondly of his compatriot and close friend Kovalik. “I sent a message to him asking him to keep up the good work. He is my good friend from the tennis circuit and I am happy that he won, he is improving,” he said.

The 27-year old who also plays second division floorball (a type of floor hockey with five field players and a goalkeeper in each team) said he is not fixated on rankings and just wants to have fun. “I don’t care about my ranking. If I play good, I will be in a good position. But then the question is ‘what is a good position for you, good for me or good for Novak Djokovic?’ So I just want to enjoy the game and play tennis.”