It is a special week for Robin Haase (33). Not only does he meet an old acquaintance in Andy Murray in the first round of the 48th edition of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, but the local favourite also writes tournament history with his thirteenth participation in Ahoy: nobody played more often in Rotterdam than Haase.
That record gives his participation something extra, said Haase on the eve of the duel with Murray, whom he already defeated in 2008 in a packed Ahoy. "Those thirteen participations say something about my career, it shows that I have been steady for a long time. I had to cancel once due to an injury and once I chose to play in South America in the week of Ahoy . To still become a record holder, that's nice. "
Today in his match against Andy Murray, 'fun' no longer counts. Haase is keen to survive the first round, even though it will be a tough job against ex-winner Murray, who won the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in 2009. Haase: "A match against Murray is a always great, especially because after all these years we play against each other again; we spoke to each other during practice on Friday. And about my current level: I haven't played much lately. But I was quite satisfied with my level in Australia. I was also able to train well again in the last week. "
So that happens in an empty Ahoy, and that takes some adaptation for everyone. Haase: "It is of course very unfortunate that we have to play without an audience. We are also entertainers, we miss the extra energy that comes with the fans, but I think it is wonderful that we can play here anyway. The organization has done an incredible job. I have also seen bleak courts on the tour, but the courts and facilities look fantastic here in Rotterdam; everything is well organized. "
It is therefore a special edition for record holder Haase. The ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament also represents a milestone for Haase in another respect: it is the last tournament in which he works with his coach Raymond Knaap, who is leaving for the Dutch federation. "The end of our collaboration has been announced for some time, but of course we would like to end it in a beautiful way here", says Haase. "I am still looking at how I will continue. In this phase of my career, and certainly now with corona, a physiotherapist who can treat me is more important to me than a coach."
Haase was the number one of Dutch men's tennis for many years. Now that he has been surpassed as number 189 in the world rankings by Botic van de Zandschulp and Tallon Griekspoor, he was dependent on the second wild card that tournament director Richard Krajicek gave him. Does Haase, who already defeated Murray in Ahoy, but also shook Roger Federer (2018), for example, regard this wildcard as an 'oeuvre prize'? "You could see it that way, but I think it's especially nice that there are two Dutchmen in the main tournament."
For tournament director Richard Krajicek, Haase's track record did play a role. Krajicek: "It's great that we were able to give Robin this wild card. With his thirteenth participation, he passed Jan Siemerink, who had played the most tournaments of all Dutch people so far. It shows how long we have enjoyed Robin in the tournament. He has earned it. A well deserved wildcard "
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