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Talking Tennis: Five minutes with Horacio Zeballos

Horacio Zeballos of Argentina won his first pro title at the VTR Open in Chile against Rafael Nadal in February 2013. Almost one year on, he is competing at the Heinenken New Zealand Open before flying to Melbourne to compete at the Australian Open next week.

Talking Tennis: Five minutes with Horacio Zeballos

How did it feel to beat Rafael Nadal?

It was amazing. Not just because I won my first ATP but because I played Rafael in the finals and I won that one. It was the most important moment in my tennis career and because I shared that moment with my family who came to see the final. We spent a lovely time there. I was really happy and I will never forget the moment.

Has that changed people’s expectations of you?

Yes, people from different countries around the world started to follow me more on Facebook and Twitter, which was really nice.

How were you introduced to tennis and when did you know you wanted to make a career out of it?

My father has a tennis club. I have played since I was three or four years old. It was my favourite sport, my favourite game, so when I finished school at the age of 17, I said ‘this my job, I want to play tennis professionally’, and I decided in that moment.

What is the most important life lesson that tennis has taught you?

To always fight, to always keep going forward if you lose or if you win. It’s just a match. You need to go forward and try for the thing that you want.

Do you have tools or methods that you follow to keep you focused and strong mental and physically?

The main thing is to just keep practising. Even if you are playing well, even if you’ve won a tournament you need to do the things you did before and never stop practising.

What is your meal plan for success?

I always try to eat healthy food, especially before the matches. At lunchtime it’s always pasta or chicken, and at night, meat or fish.

Do you have a secret indulgence post-game/victory?

To celebrate, I drink sometimes a glass of champagne or one beer. It’s good to relax.

What are you most looking forward to about the 2014 Australian Open?

It is always important to play a Grand Slam, so it’s exciting. I hope I can do a great tournament like here. Every player tries to win but after that, to enjoy the game. Yesterday I had a chance to play in the centre court [at the Heineken Open] with a lot of people and I really enjoyed the match because it was almost full and I think I played a really nice match and I think people enjoyed it. It is important to me not that I just enjoy the match but that people do too.

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