My Masters 1000: Jean-Julien Rojer & Horia Tecau
Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau have each won two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, including last year at the Mutua Madrid Open. As they return to clay this week at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, they share their Masters 1000 memories and reveal what makes this particular tournament so special.
Which is your favourite Masters 1000 tournament and why?
Tecau: There’s a lot of nice ones. I enjoy Monte-Carlo a lot, I enjoy Madrid, but Indian Wells is probably the prettiest, the best surroundings, the best everything, comfortable for the players, good weather. Very good overall.
Rojer: I enjoy Monte-Carlo. It’s the first big one on the clay, obviously beautiful place and great weather as well. I enjoy being there also because when I was little I was watching this tournament growing up and I felt if you played in Monte-Carlo, then you made it. That has a lot of memories for me.
What is your best Masters 1000 memory?
Tecau: Getting the first [title] is always memorable. Last year we had a great one in Madrid – we won it without losing a set. We were in great form. But the first title I got in Cincinnati in 2012 (with Robert Lindstedt), beating the Bryans in the semis and then Bopanna/Bhupathi in the final. That was my first big title after losing a few Grand Slam finals, so it’s the first memory that comes to mind.
Rojer: Miami probably comes to mind first because I moved there when I was 12 years old and I practised for so many years at the site where we play. To win there (with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in 2013) was everything come full circle. And then the final, I had all my family and friends there; it’s very close to Curacao. It was one of the better moments of my career.
What is your favourite off-court memory at a Masters 1000?
Rojer: I always enjoy the Monte-Carlo players’ [revue]. It’s quite a fun party. A lot of players participate in it, even though guys are like, ‘ah no, not this year,’ but then at the end everyone gets in the mood and does a few things. That’s one of the better activities at the Masters for sure.
Tecau: I enjoy that one a lot. It’s very special.
What is your dream match at a Masters 1000?
Rojer: Sorry, I’m going to have to trade you in for this one. I’d want to player with Roger [Federer]. That’s not so very thoughtful maybe, but I think he’s probably the best ever and it’d be so cool to play with him and have that experience. I’ll take any tournament. I&rsquorsquo;ll take any one of them with that guy.
Tecau: I would like to play with my idols growing up. I’d like to play with Pete Sampras against [Stefan] Edberg and Michael Stich. Those were my three idols I was following growing up. I never got a chance to hit a ball with them. I played with Roger, I played with Rafa [Nadal]. But these other guys I’ve never chance, so that would be a dream.
Have you watched a Masters 1000 match that made you say ‘Wow, that’s an amazing match’? Is there a particular one that stands out?
Tecau: Every day, man!
Rojer: Every day, but I remember [Guillermo] Coria-Nadal. They played the Rome final [in 2005]. I was very good friends with Coria and I watched him also at Monte-Carlo play classic matches, but that match against Rafa was one of the better matches of all time.