For more than two decades, Tommy Robredo traversed the globe, competing on the men's professional circuit before hanging up his racquets earlier this year at the age of 40.
While a Grand Slam title may have eluded the Spaniard, Robredo achieved incredible success on the ATP tour. The right-hander from Barcelona peaked at No. 5 in the world rankings, winning 12 career singles titles, including the Hamburg Masters event in 2006, and five doubles titles, which included the Monte Carlo Masters in 2008 and the Chennai Open in 2004.
Known for his signature forehand and his never-say-die attitude, Robredo reached the quarterfinals at the Majors in singles on seven occasions, with five of them coming on his beloved clay at the French Open. He also helped Spain win the Davis Cup three times (2004, 2008 and 2009) and the Hopman Cup twice (2002 and 2010).
Three months into his retirement, Sportskeeda caught up with Robredo to reflect on his career, his best memories from the tour, his advice for aspiring professionals and what his plans for the future include.
Sportskeeda: It has been a few months since you retired from tennis. How is retirement treating you? Do you miss being part of the circuit yet?
Tommy Robredo: Of course, I miss being part of the tour but I also enjoy being at home with my family and at this point in my life, I think this is what I need to do. I will always miss what tennis is for me and what tennis has given me.
Sportskeeda: Having been a top-ranked pro for more than two decades, what did you find to be the best and the worst thing about being a professional tennis player?
Tommy Robredo: The best part about it was being able to do what I always dreamed about, being one of the best in the world in what was my passion and being able to play around the world, enjoying the game while making the fans enjoy it as well, is something amazing.
The worst part was being far away from home, from friends, and all the things I had to sacrifice to become a professional athlete.
Sportskeeda: What are some of your favorite memories that stand out when you look back at your career?
Tommy Robredo: A lot of things come to mind; tournaments, matches, players, rivalries, playing on the Center Court of nearly all the events that I participated in, the fans, supporters, sponsors and team members.
Sportskeeda: You were a tennis professional for more than two decades. What are some of the changes that have surprised you the most about the way the game and the players have progressed since the time you first came on to the tour?
Tommy Robredo: The power. Right now, the players are playing much harder than before. Also, I feel there are almost no tactics: it's only hit hard and go for the point. The players are taller, they move their legs faster and the game has increased its speed a lot.
Sportskeeda: If you had to construct a perfect player, whose shots would you pick?
- Serve: Roger Federer
- Forehand: Fernando Gonzalez
- Backhand: Novak Djokovic
- Volley: Tough one. Boris Becker, Tim Henman and Pat Rafter all had great volleys
- Movement: David Ferrer
- Mental toughness: Rafael Nadal
Sportskeeda: What are some of the key learnings you would like to share with younger players who dream about becoming a professional tennis player and making it to the top?
Tommy Robredo: If you want to become a professional player, you have to put in the dedication every day; the motivation, the perseverance when something doesn't go the right way, the team that you have next to you and the scheduling. A lot of things have to come together in a good way because the tennis tour is a very difficult world with a lot of competition.
Sportskeeda: You became a parent for the first time last year. Would you like your daughter to pursue a tennis career or do you feel the odds of making it as a professional are way too small?
Tommy Robredo: I would like her to do whatever she wants. I would prefer her to be close to home with us but if she wants to be a player, I will try my best and help her. I will help her in anything she wants to do and pursue.
Sportskeeda: You won your first ATP doubles title in Chennai in 2004 with Rafael Nadal and also reached the semifinals in singles twice there. Can you tell us about the memories you have had about playing in India and if you plan to come back again in the future?
Tommy Robredo: The most interesting one was my first tournament as a professional in 2001. I lost in the semifinals that year when I should have been in the final as my opponent arrived 40 minutes late. But I was young and they told me I had to play and as I was inexperienced and had no coach that week, I agreed to play and I lost. I had a lot of great experiences in India and I also came for other tournaments again, including the league that we played in a couple of years ago.
I would absolutely love to come back again for any exhibition match or whatever else they may create for tennis in the future. I have been treated well in India and I have some friends in the country such as Leander Paes.
Sportskeeda: Do you have any regrets when you look back on your professional career?
Tommy Robredo: Thousands of regrets, but those regrets made me work harder day after day to improve.
I think in life everyone makes mistakes but it is from those mistakes that you learn. So yes, I have made a lot of mistakes but that has made me become who I am right now.
Sportskeeda: One final question, what are your plans for the future? Do you plan to remain involved in the sport through coaching, running an academy or perhaps on the administrative side?
Tommy Robredo: I would love to be involved in tennis in some way but I will see in the next few months. For the moment, I want to enjoy the rest of the year and I'll plan on something for next year.