"To play Roger Federer on Center Court at Wimbledon is every player's dream" - Kamil Majchrzak on his goals, rise of Polish tennis, Peng Shuai's disappearance & more

Kamil Majchrzak attempts a forehand. Source: Tata Open Maharashtra
Kamil Majchrzak attempts a forehand. Source: Tata Open Maharashtra

Kamil Majchrzak made a promising start to the 2022 season, remaining undefeated at the ATP Cup, before reaching the second round of the Australian Open.

The 26-year-old is currently competing in the Tata Open Maharashtra. The Pole registered two straight-sets victories to reach the quarterfinals, where he will take on Lorenzo Musetti.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, the Pole discussed his goals for the rest of the season, his recent injury struggles, the rise of Polish tennis and the Peng Shuai case among other topics. Here are some of the excerpts from the interview:

SK: I believe this is your first time in Pune?

Majchrzak: Yes, this is my first time in India in general. I am enjoying my stay here. I like the court, the clubs. I always enjoy Indian food, so I'm looking forward to trying more dishes. So for now, I'm very happy with this stay.

SK: How are you doing health-wise? You tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after the ATP Cup. So how has your recovery been?

Majchrzak: Yes, it was very unfortunate because I played three good matches during the ATP Cup and then I tested positive. I had minor symptoms. I needed to get back to my physical shape because tennis-wise, I was okay. But fitness-wise, I was a little bit worse than I expected.

I struggled a little bit during the Australian Open as well. I was lucky to win the first round. The second round was very difficult for me just because of the physique, so I'm still trying to recover fully.

SK: A couple of years back, you injured your pelvic bone and back. Have you managed to recover fully?

Majchrzak: For the pelvic bone, I had to recover for half a year. It was very unfortunate at the beginning because I felt I was ready to go and ready to attack. I had to take a lot of rest because it was a very unusual injury. My doctors didn't really know the real path. It took me a total of around half a year before I came back to play a tournament, so it was very unfortunate. But it is what it is.

SK: You had to drive a lot to get to the training courts as a kid and train at sub-zero temperatures with Hubert Hurkacz. Now you're the Polish No. 2. How would you describe your journey?

Majchrzak: Me and Hubert, we've known each other forever. We were always supporting each other and always practicing together. I'm very happy with the way he's improving. I am also happy with the way that I'm improving.

Of course, I would love to be (ranked) higher, and I believe that I have enough quality to do that. The thing is, I was constantly getting injured. It is important to stay healthy if you want to progress and this is something that I have been struggling with.

I'm trying to do my best to prepare my body to compete at the highest level, and I hope to keep it going now. I'm still young, so there is a lot of room for me to improve, and stay healthy and play many years on the tour. So that's what I'm looking for.

SK: What role has coach Joachim Nystrom played in your progress?

Majchrzak: He was a great player himself. He competed at the highest stage, and I believe he can bring me to that level. For now, I'm very satisfied with our work. We had a good pre-season and a good start to the year. So I'm looking forward to keep going.

SK: What aspects of your game are you focusing on improving?

Majchrzak: We are trying to work a little bit on the attack, so I can be a little more active during the rallies and finish points by myself. I have a very good baseline game, I can run for a long time and put many balls in. But to go higher, I need to give something extra; that's what we are working on.

SK: Do you feel it is important for players to get vaccinated, especially when traveling in groups while on tour?

Majchrzak: I mean, I am vaccinated. I had COVID twice, so I watched these things from both sides. I believe it's good to vaccinate to prevent infection. If you are still infected, the sickness will affect your body less. So I believe if there is a chance, and if someone decides to take it, it's a good choice. But everyone should have a choice.

SK: What are your personal views on the entire Novak Djokovic-Australian Open saga?

Majchrzak: It should have been handled in a much better way. I mean, the whole story was complicated from both sides.

SK: Polish tennis is currently in a very good position with Iga Swiatek, Magda Linette, Hubert Hurkacz and yourself. What did the Polish federation do to help elevate the state of tennis in the country?

Majchrzak: Polish tennis is improving. We have lots of players coming up. We have Iga who's a really great player, and I believe she can win a lot more Slams and become No. 1. We also have Magda who is pretty close to being in the top tier.

Among the men, we have Hurkacz, who was top 10. He's winning big tournaments and playing Masters, so it's amazing to see him developing and improving his game. Then there is me, I'm coming back to top 100 now, and I'm also looking forward to being fired up. We also have Kacper Zuk, who is in top 200, as well as some very good doubles guys. They are also playing here in Pune.

We know what we've been through and how much sacrifice it's taken all of us to reach here. We are very happy and looking forward to having more Polish guys with the juniors that are coming.

SK: Hubert Hurkacz defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon last year. How do moments like these impact the mentality of tennis fans in Poland?

Majchrzak: I mean, to play Federer at Wimbledon on Center Court is the dream of every player. And to beat him, it's even more. I don't think there was a single person in Poland who didn't know what happened. It was an outstanding moment for all of us, not just Hurkacz.

SK: What's your opinion on the case of Peng Shuai?

Majchrzak: I mean, everyone is concerned with what is going on. It's a very difficult situation, it should never happen, no matter what country you are from or whatever you say, you should not disappear, so I'm really concerned about this.

SK: You won the boys doubles title at the US Open in 2013. Since then, have you consciously made an effort to shift all of your focus to singles?

Majchrzak: When I was just coming up, I was playing both singles and doubles. I managed to reach, I think, a career-high of around 220 in doubles. I feel much more comfortable in the singles game though. So doubles for me is more to work on something during the game.

SK: Your 2022 season started off nicely. You were undefeated at the ATP Cup and made it to the Australian Open second round for the first time in your career. Have you set any goals for yourself in 2022?

Majchrzak: Yeah, it's a very nice start. I was hoping for this kind of start because it brings me back to top 100, and I can line up my tournaments a little differently. So I'm looking forward to being here in Pune, the ATP and Challengers in France, then I go to the States to play Indian Wells and Miami.

SK: How do you fancy your chances here in Pune?

Majchrzak: Pretty good. I feel good on the courts. I like the conditions, so I will be ready to play.

SK: Quick-fire questions. Who were your tennis idols growing up?

Majchrzak: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

SK: One player you wish to face who is currently on tour.

Majchrzak: Federer. I mean, I hope he will be back on tour and I can play against him.

SK: Your favorite surface to play on?

Majchrzak: Grass.

SK: Your favorite tournament.

Majchrzak: Australian Open.

SK: One Slam that you want to win the most.

Majchrzak: Wimbledon.

SK: Your favorite shot?

Majchrzak: Backhand.

SK: A shot you would want to borrow from another tennis player?

Majchrzak: Serve from a tall guy.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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