From the court to the commentary box
Retired ATP player Dominik Hrbaty has a new role off the court
January 6, 2012
The Sky Sports commentator box this
week has contained a face very familiar to Auckland tennis fans:
two-time Heineken Open winner Dominik Hrbaty. The Slovak made his
first trip to Auckland since 2009 to be a guest commentator for the
2012 ASB Classic.
The now retired ATP player was happy to return to a place where he had much success on the court. He won the Heineken Open in both 2001 and 2004 (in the latter final he beat a player you may have heard of, Rafael Nadal) and was runner up in 2003.
Although Hrbaty has done some tennis commentary in his native Slovakia, this week marks the first time he's done it in English. But he's eased right into the role.
“I'm really enjoying it. It's a good experience especially because it's my first time doing it in English,” he said. Although he admits being a bit nervous on the first day, he has found himself right at home speaking about the women's tournament.
“It's not really tough,” he said. “I think it's actually harder running on the court than commentating on TV.”
He says as the week has progressed he's learning more and more about the WTA players, but he says wants to use his airtime to give insight about the game. “How to change the game if things aren't working for you - not really advice but just from my expeirence what you can do differently to get back into the game.”
Has coming back to a new venue made Hrbaty rethink retirement? He joked that he wished he could take a wildcard into the qualifying tournament. “It's beautiful,” he said. “I wish I could win here now with the new facilities”.
So who's he picking to win the 2012 ASB Classic? Svetlana Kuznetsova. “She's playing just too well,” he said. “She's playing like a robot and giving no chance to her opponents.”