Tommy Haas reveals his career frustration and major tennis goal he has for future

Haas started making notable results early and went on to have a good career that lasted 21 years.

by Dzevad Mesic
Tommy Haas reveals his career frustration and major tennis goal he has for future
© Getty Images Sport - Dennis Grombkowski

Tommy Haas, 46, says he is pretty happy with how his career went and what he was able to achieve but admits that there is also a frustration part as not winning a Grand Slam remains one regret. 

Haas, who turned professional in 1996, quickly established himself as a regular Tour player as he already broke into the top-100 in 1997, and by 1999 he was a top-15 player - made his first semifinal at the Australian Open - and had an ATP title in his collection. At the time, Haas was 21 and one of the brightest talents in the game. 

After making some notable results early in his career and also getting a chance to play against Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras - he beat Agassi for the first time in 1998 before also defeating Sampras in 2000 - Haas managed to elevate his game to a new level and win four titles in 2001 and break into the top-10 for the first time. 

While Haas managed to win 10 more ATP titles and win the silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he never managed to achieve his ultimate goal of winning a Grand Slam and reaching the world No. 1 spot.

Haas played his final season in 2017 but didn't officially announce his retirement until 2018.

"There are so many incredible matches that come to mind. Some of my idols, going out against them, Agassi playing him, or even Pete Sampras, stuff like that. Those were highlights early in my career. Winning your first title. Winning a silver medal at the Olympics, getting to semis in the grand slams but there’s also a lot of missed opportunities," Haas told We Are Tennis.

Tommy Haas
Tommy Haas © Getty Images Sport - Ronald Martinez

Haas gets candid about being frustrated about not winning a Grand Slam

In his second Australian Open appearance in 1999, Haas made his first Grand Slam semifinal. But after fairly routinely making it to the semifinal, Haas stumbled upon former world No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who handed him a 6-3 6-4 7-5 loss. Haas returned to the Australian Open semifinal two more times but again ended on the losing side - he was beaten by Marat Safin in the 2003 semifinal at Melbourne Park before losing in the same stage to Fernando Gonzalez four years later.

Haas made his fourth and last Grand Slam semifinal at 2009 Wimbledon but the outcome was again the same as that time he lost to Roger Federer in straight sets.

When it comes to the rankings, Haas came very close to reaching the world No. 1 spot but ultimately fell just short after achieving a career-high ranking of No. 2 in 2002 May.

"At the end of the day that’s all you can say, the frustration for me was not winning a slam. You can ask why didn’t it happen for me? I made it to the semifinals four times. You try to dissect those matches and you look at the ones where you did have a chance and whether you were outplayed or didn’t play your best and so on. That’s really all," Haas said.

"It’s easy to say if I could turn back time. I’d be happier if I’d been more mature or with more experience earlier on at a younger age in order to pursue those dreams, but I wouldn’t have changed anything."

Tommy Haas
Tommy Haas © Getty Images Sport - Darrian Traynor

Haas on being a tournament director, wanting to make Indian Wells a Slam tournament

Even before Haas walked away from pro tennis, he was named the tournament director for Indian Wells, which hosts a Masters and a WTA 1000 tournament. Now, it has been nearly a decade since the German tennis legend has been working in that role and so far he has been doing a great job. 

"The responsibility of being tournament director and the thoughts you have that includes everyone. You want to make sure all the players are taken care of, they’re comfortable and that includes their teams. You want to make sure the red carpet is there for them, which they’re used to in many ways; they are the stars of the show," Haas said.

Tommy Haas
Tommy Haas © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

On the Tour, Indian Wells is one of the most attractive and favorite stops for players as it is played in the Californian desert and is often called "Tennis Paradise." For years, there have been some rumors about Indian Wells potentially staging a Grand Slam in the future. 

Now, Haas reveals his goal is to make Indian Wells a Grand Slam tournament.

"I want to help grow this great event here in Indian Wells potentially see it become a slam down the road, that would be something really cool. Besides that, obviously be the best dad I can be for my kids, stay healthy and enjoy life. Every year goes by faster and faster as we get older. We are lucky to be here and show a lot of gratitude and appreciate what life has given me, so just enjoy," Haas shared.

Tommy Haas