'I represent Thailand as well as Asia'

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Paradorn Srichaphan, the number one Asian and runner-up at the Tata Open last year is back in Chennai with a firm resolve - to avenge his defeat. NDTV chatted with the soft-spoken tennis star from Thailand, who is one of the top favourites at this year's edition of the event. NDTV: You won many hearts here last year when you lost to Guillermo Canas in the finals. Can we say that you're back to avenge that loss? Srichapan: I feel really happy to come back here again after I did well last year. I just try to take my matches one at a time, otherwise there will be pressure on me. NDTV: From a position of 112, you've powered your way to world number 16. That's an incredible career growth… Srichapan: I've been working hard. I had a good win here last year, that's how it got started - doing well in the last six months, winning a lot of matches. NDTV: You recently beat Marcelo Rios in Stockholm to notch up a second title after your maiden one in Long Island. Has this been the highlight of your career? Or was it your Gold at the Asian Games in Busan? Srichapan: They are both important to me. It's great that I won the Asian Games for Thailand. It was a great final at Stockholm. This too was important for me. NDTV: When the situation demands, you tend to elevate your game. You've done so by beating some of the biggest names in the tennis arena - Agassi, Safin, Hewitt. How do you manage this? Srichapan: I feel it's easier to play the better guys with bigger names and better rankings as I have nothing to lose. I just try my best and play my game and win the match. NDTV: What's your biggest strength, your groundstrokes? Srichapan: Yeah, I think so - my serve and my groundstrokes. NDTV: You have this habit of touching the ground before playing. Is this some sort of a superstition? Srichapan: Yes, it is a superstition. Hopefully it will bring me luck here! NDTV: What kind of an equation do you share with your dad, who is also your coach? Is he accompanying you this time? Srichapan: Yes, he's with me. We are having a great time together. We just enjoy the moment that we spend together. NDTV: Any fond memories of Chennai? Srichapan: I look forward to coming back here, it's a great tournament. People are nice and I've got good support here. I'm not just representing Thailand, I'm representing Asia. That's why I guess they love me so much.