Robredo wins Hamburg Masters

Tommy Robredo beat Radek Stepanek to win the Hamburg Masters.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Hamburg:Tommy Robredo lacked sleep as well as a coach, got locked in the player restaurant, and his practice partner was the water-cooler guy. Circumstances in Hamburg weren't the best for Robredo, but they didn't prevent him from beating Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 for his first Masters title on Sunday, and setting himself up as one of the favorites for the French Open. ''That I won today does not mean I will win every match or win in Paris, but it does mean I am in good shape,'' said the Barcelona-based Robredo, a two-time French Open quarterfinalist. Being the first Masters final of his career, Robredo slept poorly the night before his big match. ''I got up three times in the night,'' he said. ''I wasn't thinking about the match but my body knew it was going to play the final and it was nervous.'' Because all week he was slated for late matches, there was no one around to practice with Robredo. The ATP found him an unconventional sparring partner, with little experience. ''I finished the quarterfinals at midnight and I asked the guy from the ATP to find me somebody to warm up with me,'' Robredo said. ''That's how I got him. His name was Ollie. I asked him what he was doing here and he said he's the guy who puts the water bottles in the machine.'' But Robredo appreciated the help as well as the uncomplicated company. Without a coach since recently splitting with Mariano Monachesi, Robredo said he'd been getting lonely. There were also times he also needed some guidance in Hamburg, like after he dropped his only set of the tournament against France's Florent Serra in the second round. ''It feels very alone,'' he said. ''This week the matches were good except the one against Serra. If I was with a coach, maybe I wouldn't have lost the first set.'' Adding to the week's complications, Robredo was locked in the player's restaurant after his late quarterfinal on Friday. ''After doing the interviews at the press room, getting my massage and putting on some ice, I went to eat something in the restaurant and for some reason someone closed the door and locked me inside,'' Robredo explained in his blog, adding he forced his way out to avoid sleeping there before his semifinal. Despite all the upheaval, Robredo won his third career title after 2004 Barcelona and 2001 Sopot. He's 3-3 in career finals, all of which have been on clay. He and Stepanek, who won his first career title in February at Rotterdam, will break into the top-10 rankings on Monday, the Czech for the first time. (AP)

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