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Haas ready to shed ‘nearly man’ tag

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:39

Haas, a Wimbledon semi-finalist for the first time at the age of 31, has been there or thereabouts throughout the last decade.

“If you just look through the years of me playing Wimbledon, there is a lot of bad luck involved. I have lost a lot of tight ones,” he said. “I always felt like on the grass, maybe something is still left there for me.”

He has spent much of the past 10 years in and around the top 10, rising as high as number two in the world in 2002 after making the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Haas then enjoyed a good run on clay where he reached the quarters in Monte Carlo, the final in Rome and the second week of the French Open.

But that was as good as it got for the German who faces a semi-final showdown with Federer on Friday.

This is Haas’s fourth Grand Slam semi-final, but he lost the previous three (all in Melbourne) and Rome has been his only appearance in an Masters series final.

Haas has 10 Wimbledon campaigns under his belt, stretching back to 1997 – but until this year, there had been one solitary fourth-round appearance amid a host of close encounters with success.

He added: “You push yourself even more to try to get to these occasions and follow your dreams as a kid. Tennis players have a short career, some shorter than others. At 33, 34 or 35 you might be done.

“Then you have a whole life left. You want to be able to look back and say, ‘Hey, I played the sport that I love as long as I could and I’ve tried my best’. You look back at what you have accomplished and you want to be proud of yourself.”

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