11-time Futures singles Champion, Jan Mertl, recently picked up his first two singles titles of 2011 with back-to-back successes in Germany to get the new year off to a great on-court start.
The ITF Pro Circuit caught up with the newly turned 29-year old player from the Czech Republic to find out more about the player.
ITF Pro Circuit : Can you tell us where were you born and maybe describe the area where you grew up?
Jan Mertl : I was born in Usti nad Labem and I grew up in Teplice where one of the famous spa’s in Czech is situated.
ITF Pro Circuit : Do any other members of your family play sport?
Jan Mertl : My sister used to be tennis player too. My father did cycling and my mother did gymnastics.
ITF Pro Circuit : So how did you get started in tennis?
Jan Mertl : I started to play tennis with my father when I was 7 in Teplice.
ITF Pro Circuit : What can you tell us about your current coach?
Jan Mertl : His name is Jiri Hrebec, a former Top 20 ranked player with the ATP.
ITF Pro Circuit : Who were/are your tennis idols?
Jan Mertl : When I was young my tennis hero was Ivan Lendl.
ITF Pro Circuit : Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?
Jan Mertl : Music, Movies, and inline skating.
ITF Pro Circuit : If you had not become a tennis player what career path would you have liked to have followed?
Jan Mertl : I always wanted to be a tennis player or any other athlete.
ITF Pro Circuit : In your opinion, what would you say are the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?
Jan Mertl : The tough part is being away from home most of the year. On the other hand it is good to know other places.
ITF Pro Circuit : So far in your career, what has been the nicest venue that you played at?
Jan Mertl : The nicest venue I played was Bermuda and Mauritius.
ITF Pro Circuit : What has been the most bizarre venue that you played at?
Jan Mertl : For sure the most bizarre venue was at a Future’s event in Uzbekistan (Gulistan)... [smiles]
ITF Pro Circuit : Which player(s) are you friends with?
Jan Mertl : Good friends of mine are Jan Hernych and Jan Vacek, both former Top 100 ATP ranked players.
ITF Pro Circuit : How do players relationships with each other compare on the ITF Pro Circuit to other tournaments you have played?
Jan Mertl : So far I haven’t had any bad experience on the Circuit. I have lot of friends between tennis players.
ITF Pro Circuit : How has playing on the ITF Pro Circuit helped you as a player?
Jan Mertl : I won lots of matches which helped me to get a chance to compete at Challenger level.
ITF Pro Circuit : What aspect of another players game do you envy?
Jan Mertl : I admire Rafael Nadal’s mentality.
ITF Pro Circuit : If you could only have one Grand Slam title, which would you choose?
Jan Mertl : Wimbledon
ITF Pro Circuit : Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
Jan Mertl : I would love to go for a holiday destination like Seychelles and Maldives.
ITF Pro Circuit : Finally, what has been the best piece of advice you have been given?
Jan Mertl : Play over the net... [laughs]
ITF Pro Circuit : Thanks for your time.
Jan Mertl : Thank you.