There were Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, and me: Bellucci on '11 Madrid Open

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There were Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, and me: Bellucci on '11 Madrid Open

In an interview to Punto de Break, Thomaz Bellucci recalled his great run in the 2011 Madrid Open. The Brazilian lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-final with a lot of regrets. "In the Masters 1000, it was my best week, without a doubt, a surprising result.

I played unbelievably that week, I defeated Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and then I lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. I was leading 6-3, 3-1 (trying) to reach the final, but the best thing was that the other semi-final was (between) Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal.

Imagine: there were Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and me," he joked. Then, he said, "For me, being with these three legendary players was a dream. The following week I played in Rome and I lost in the first round against Paolo Lorenzi, I think I was still thinking about that match."

He also admitted that he is going through his worst time in career. "I have not been getting any great result for more than a year, it's the toughest time in my career, a very difficult stage. But I also tell you that if I did not think that I can get my level back, I would not be playing these tournaments, I would have left.

Continuing to play makes me have a lot of motivation and coming back to have the opportunity to compete in major tournaments, coming back to the site where I always was, for ten years on the top 100." Asked when he started noting that his level was dropping, Bellucci added: "The last year, I did not start badly, I played well in Buenos Aires and another tournament, but I lost a couple of matches that made me lose a lot of confidence.

Over my career, I was always going to the Challengers to win a tournament, if I reached quarters or semi-finals it was not a good week. When I had to play Challengers and I lost matches that before I did not lose, for me that was a tough time. Mentally it changed everything."