Former Croatian tennis player Niki Pilic says it was very difficult for him during the quarantine period as he had to go without playing tennis for 42 days. In an interview with AZ Munich, the former US Open doubles champion Pilic says, "I can play tennis again!
Then I feel much, much better. We have been training again for a good two weeks - after a 42 day break. Thank god I'm so happy! But we have to be careful, keep our distance and all that. It was very difficult for me. I've trained twice a day all my life.
But well, that's an extreme situation, you have to be careful, especially at the age when I and my wife are now." Speaking about the break, Pilic also spoke about how he spent his time during the quarantine. "I only have to climb 80 steps, then I'm at the sea.
I walked a few kilometers with my wife every day. Otherwise: some television, a little reading - that's how time goes. I'm already taking care of myself. We don't do anything where there are a lot of people. I can't do much more.
Recalling his famous doubles US Open victory with Pierre Barthès over Rod Laver / Roy Emerson, Pilic says, "That was fantastic. If you win against number one and number two in the world, that means you play good tennis.
It was a very nice feeling. In front of 14,000 people - I'm proud of that. I really deserve that because I played very well. (the prize money) I don't remember exactly, maybe $ 100. And a nice cup. It's still in my closet today.
In the singles, I reached final at the French Open 1973 in Roland Garros. Unfortunately it rained for three and a half days, and then I lost to Ilie Nastase on the slow court . In a normal place I would have had a good chance.
But that was a good year for me." The 80 year old says when the circuit resumes, he would expect to see some very strange results in the first month but says that the Big Three - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would surely be able to recover faster.
"There will be very strange results in the first month. But professionals like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic already know exactly what they're doing. They train everything that is possible, keep fit, don't sit around lazily at home.
Pilic, who runs a tennis academy in Oberschleißheim near Munich where players such as Michael Stich, Novak Djokovic, Ernests Gulbis and Anastasija Sevastova have trained in the past, says he is also training two youngsters currently - a 16 year old and an 18 year old for three hours a day.
"No prognosis! I am happy. They don't play badly. Let's see what happens."