Vasek Pospisil in quarterfinals Friday: ‘I have my best tennis still in me’

“Winning is an adrenaline rush. It is addictive. It’s a feeling that’s hard to reproduce.” — Vasek Pospisil

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Vasek Pospisil would love to win ATP Comeback Player of the Year for the second time. The 32-year-old from Vernon captured that honor in 2020, finishing the year ranked 61st in the world.

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Pospisil had finished 25th in 2014 and was in the Wimbledon Quarterfinals in 2015, but back problems followed, eventually leading to surgery in 2019. He had started the following season at No. 148.

On Friday, Pospisil plays France’s Gilles Simon in the Quarterfinals of the Odlum Brown VanOpen at Hollyburn Country Club. Pospisil, currently ranked 145, has sustained an elbow injury so severe he says he “just avoided surgery… and it would have been difficult.”

He has now been pain free for about six weeks.

“I still love the sport,” Pospisil said Thursday. “I’m not fed up. If that were the case, I would hang up the racquet, say I had a great run and leave it at that.

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“It’s a combination of that and the feeling that I still have my best tennis in me. If I felt like I couldn’t reach levels I had previously achieved, I would quit. I feel like I can be top 25. I feel like I can still win a title or two.

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“Winning is an adrenaline rush. It is addictive. It’s a feeling that’s hard to replicate.”

The ATP players vote on the comeback player of the year. Arthur Ashe won the first in 1979. Three players have won it twice, the last being Juan Martin del Potro when he combined his 2011 prize with another from 2016.

Pospisil was unaware of the multiple comeback winners. He seemed very interested in hearing about her. “It’s a good goal for me,” he said.

Pospisil was successful in doubles, finishing 4th in 2015 and winning the Wimbledon crown in 2014 with American Jack Sock.

He’s limited his double play in recent years. He plans to play more in the next few years but balks at the idea of ​​that becoming his focus.

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WEST VANCOUVER, BC., August 15, 2022 - Vasek Pospisil in action at Hollyburn Country Club during a press event promoting the ODlum Brown VanOpen in West Vancouver, BC on August 15, 2022.
WEST VANCOUVER, BC., August 15, 2022 – Vasek Pospisil in action at Hollyburn Country Club during a press event promoting the ODlum Brown VanOpen in West Vancouver, BC on August 15, 2022. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

“Never say never, but I can’t imagine being a doubles-only guy or even a doubles-priority guy,” he said. “There’s something more rewarding about playing singles.”

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All of this isn’t to say that Pospisil isn’t preparing for life after tennis, however. He helped found Hekate Sport, which bills itself as the “first fungal functional sports drink.” He was introduced to the benefits of functional mushrooms by a micro-nutritionist during his recovery from back surgery.

“It’s part of my daily routine,” explains Pospisil.

Hekate originally started in 2019. Olympic swimmer Penny Oleksiak joined Hekate in 2022 as an equity partner. She uses functional mushroom preparations.

Pospisil and Oleksiak shared management staff.

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“She’s a great person, she believes in the product and she’s also Canada’s most decorated Olympian,” said Pospisil.

Simon is ranked 193. The 37-year-old made it to 6th in 2009. He has beaten Pospisil three times in four meetings, the last time in 2016 at the ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells.

“It’s been a while but I know he’s a hell of a competitor,” Pospsil said. “He makes you work hard. He’s hanging in there. He won’t fight. He lets you hit him. How you deal with him is up to you.”

Pospisil defeated Australia’s Jordan Thompson 3-6 6-2 6-3 on Wednesday to get into Friday’s action and afterwards admitted he didn’t feel like he had his best stuff and the win had to work out. It was so hot and muggy that he said afterwards he’d used up the eight shirts he’d brought with him.

Thompson is at number 106.

“It was great to get through that and now I have a little bit of free time,” Pospisil said of his day off on Thursday.

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He remains a fan favorite at Hollyburn. Pospisil moved to Vancouver when he was 12 and regularly has family and friends in the crowd.

“It’s wonderful. You can see how they live and die with each point,” he said.

Twitter: @SteveEwen

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