Taro Daniel is currenly ranked 116 in the world and he will be playing the main draw of Australian Open in a few weeks.
We got a chat with Taro after his final round of qualies against Elias Ymer, who he praises a lot after his stunning performance.
Shortly after the final qualifying round to Australian Open, which took place in Doha this year, Taro received one of the lucky loser-spots into the main draw.
– Elias played extremely well. I was not surprised of the level he produced but I was a surprised that he kept the level during the whole match because i did not play a “bad” match. I could’ve played better of course but he completely smothered me the whole way. He played more aggressively than I remember and did very few mistakes.
– One mistake I made was that I didn’t pressure him enough after I hit a good deep ball. I was hitting the ball fine but I never took the extra step forward to take time away from him, which I assume made him feel comfortable. He seemed very calm during the match.
Taro confesses this particular qualifying-event in Doha was tough for him to deal with mentally.
– In the beginning of December, it looked like the qualifying would be cancelled, which would mean that I would make the direct cut of main draw with my ranking. But then they came up with the solution of making it happen in the Middle East.
– I was prepared for main draw in Australia since I didn’t believe qualies could actually happen outside of Australia, so I had to suck it up and fight but I think I dealt with it well and managed my emotions during the week. I played some good tennis especially in my second round match against Marterer and I made the main draw in the end!
How was it to actually playing a qualifying event to Australian Open in Doha?
– Playing the matches in Doha didn’t feel as weird. The court had the same color and the advertisement on the walls were AO. No fans on site but we were all used to it since last year.
Taro and his coach Sven Groeneveld are working hard to make the cut into the top-100 again and they have a plan.
– Me and Sven are working on few specific things on the serve and forehand mostly. It’s hard to share all the small details but everything to have the shots be more efficient and to have the possibility to be aggressive. We have been putting in great work throughout 2020 even though a lot of the time we were not able to be together in person. He’s got great experience and I am confident of the path we are in.
– For now my goal is to get back into top-100 which would also mean making Olympics in the summer, but I know it’ll get there as long as I stick to concentrating on what I have to do to improve. I’ve been working a lot also on my mental strength which is something I’ve improved a lot on but has endless possibilities.