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Locker Room: Pablo Carreno Busta

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Originally published on 18/05/14

We caught up with the 22-year-old to talk targets for 2014, Spanish role models and breaking into the Davis Cup team.

Do you come from a tennis-playing family? No, my parents didn’t play tennis. My sister, who is three years older than me, played tennis and I started playing because I watched her play and I liked it.

Where is home for you? I come from Asturias in the north of Spain, but I live in Barcelona and I train there. It is difficult to play tennis in Asturias because the weather is always rainy. We don’t have many indoor courts, so seven years ago I went to Barcelona to train.

What do you do when you’re not playing tennis? I go home to Asturias maybe 15 days a year but otherwise I stay in Barcelona. I have good friends there. I like to watch my football team, Sporting Gijon, and I like to go to the cinema.

Do you enjoy spending so much time away from home? I like this life; I like travelling. I like staying in a hotel, watching TV or reading. This is my life and I like it.

What was the highlight of your 2013 season? It was really an incredible year. I started the year playing in Futures tournaments in Turkey and finished the year at the Paris Masters. It was very intense because I played a lot of matches [112]. I lost to Roger Federer in the first round at Roland Garros. It was an incredible match – Federer is one of the best players in the history of tennis and it was a dream for me to play a match like that.

You started 2013 by winning 35 matches in a row… When you’re playing well you play every day and you don’t think about the matches. You play every match like the previous day and you are winning every day. You get confidence and you play without thinking. It’s a really good sensation.

Was it important to you to be voted most improved player? It’s important because it’s an award from the ATP where the players choose the winner. I think I fight a lot, I work hard and it’s recompense, a prize for all that work.

What are your targets for 2014? I need to play my game. I know I’m a good player, I don’t make mistakes and I try to fight for every point. But I need to be more intense from the first point. I need to grow up. I think by playing matches at this level with the top players, for sure I will improve.

You missed seven months of the 2012 season with an injury. How tough was that? I started 2012 ranked 130, and my objective was getting into the top 100. But I was in pain when I played – and we decided to stop because I had problems with my back and I needed surgery. Recuperating from the surgery was really hard. I love competition, so it was difficult not being able to play matches. I worked very hard on my recovery and I started playing seven months later. I didn’t feel great during the first few matches but now I feel fine.

You have a lot of great role models to look up to ahead of you in Spanish tennis… Yes, we have a lot of good Spanish players. David Ferrer is an excellent example to me because he’s always working hard in every training session; he is always fighting. Sometimes I train with him, and with Tommy Robredo and some of the others Spanish players. When I train with Ferrer it is very intense. If you train with the No.5 in the world you have to be 100% because he is 100% too so the training is always fantastic.

With so many Spanish players, how popular are you back home? There are a lot of Spanish players. Rafael Nadal is the best and Ferrer is one of the best in the world. For me, I work hard and I have to improve. It doesn't matter to me if the people don't know who I am.

Will you get a chance to play Davis Cup this year? It’s difficult to get into the team with Nadal, Ferrer, Almagro. But I am young. I have a lot of time. Maybe in three or five years I'll have more chance.

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