22-year-old Canadian Steven Diez recently secured his first singles titles of 2013 and made his first appearance in the Wimbledon qualifying event and we caught up with the player to find out more about him.
ITF Pro Circuit: Can you tell us where you were born and maybe describe the area where you grew up?
Steven Diez: I was born in Mississagua, a town close to Toronto, in Canada. At the age of six my family and I moved to Spain.
Do any other members of your family play sport?
Sure, my father plays tennis regularly and is in charge of a tennis club in Mijas (Malaga, Spain). My brother Raymond also plays tennis and has a good level [of play] but he couldn't make it [as a] professional and now he is a coach.
So how did you get started in tennis?
I started playing when I was four at the Applewood Tennis Club in Mississagua. It came naturally I guess. My father and older brother played tennis and I just wanted to follow them and do the same as they were doing.
What can you tell us about your current coach?
I'm training at the BTT Tennis Academy in Barcelona and working with several coaches. Israel Vior up to now, occasionally with Fred Marques and my physical trainer is David Rodriguez. Sometimes my brother Raymond also coaches and travels with me.
Who were/are your tennis idols?
Andre Agassi when I was a kid and now David Ferrer (right).
What is your greatest tennis memory either as a player or as a fan?
It was a great moment for me when I got my first ATP point in 2008 and it also was very special to win the European Junior Championship in 2009, but the most special moment in my career to date is when I played Davis Cup with Canada in 2010 against Colombia.
Who has been the toughest opponent you have faced on court in an ITF Pro Circuit match?
I couldn't tell. All opponents are tough at that level of competition.
In your opinion, what would you say are the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?
There are many good things for me, it's making my dream come true and live my passion for tennis daily. If I have to pick some aspects only I would say that making lots, and good, friends around the Circuit is one of the best aspects of being a professional player. Probably the worst is spending many weeks during the year away from home, your family and friends.
So far in your career, what has been the nicest ITF Pro Circuit venue that you played at?
Difficult to choose one, but I felt very comfortable and got excellent attention and support at Palma del Rio and Valldoreix.
Any on-court amusing incidents that you can share?
Nothing especially funny comes up now.
What is the best experience that you had on the ITF Pro Circuit?
Winning tournaments, for sure! It's a very unique feeling, difficult to describe because many things come to your mind at that moment, but it's feeling completely happy and rewarded for all the work done.
Which player(s) are you friends with?
With many of them because we share lots of things and time together. Probably Pere Riba, Joao Sousa, Daniel Nestor, Iñigo Cervantes and Dusan Lajovic are some of my closest friends within the Circuit.
How do players relationships with each other at tournaments compare on the ITF Pro Circuit to other Circuits you may have played (i.e. ITF Juniors/ATP Tour)?
I don't really know if there are any differences. Couldn't answer that.
How has playing on the ITF Pro Circuit helped you as a player?
A lot! I matured, gained experience and learned to work hard and improve myself, which made me reach a better level of tennis.
Would you recommend that juniors go on to play the ITF Pro Circuit?
Definitely. If you want to be a professional tennis player you have to play the ITF Pro Circuit, it is necessary to improve your tennis, to grow in all aspects and to make a step forward in your career. Apart from that it is also a great experience!
What aspect of another player’s game do you most envy?
All aspects from David Ferrer and Milos Raonic's serve, its impressive.
Speaking of other male players (past & present), whose attributes would you take to create your own male super player?
Serve: Milos Raonic
Return of Serve: David Ferrer
Forehand: Fernando Gonzalez
Backhand: Marat Safin
Volley: Roger Federer
Positioning: Roger Federer
Speed on court: David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic
Concentration: Rafa Nadal
Fighting spirit: David Ferrer
Entertainment: Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils
If you could only have one Grand Slam title, which would you choose?
What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?
Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?
I like reading, music, cinema and watching other sports like football (soccer).
Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
Any place on the coast of Spain. But there are lots of destinations that I would like to visit for holidays.
If you had not become a tennis player what career path would you have liked to have followed?
Haven't thought about that much, but I would have liked to have studied at University and/or play other sports.
Have you set yourself any goals for 2013?
I want to be regular in my performance and obtain good results to get the highest ranking possible. Winning an ATP Challenger this year would be great.
Finally, tell us something about yourself that possibly not many people already know?
I'll keep that to myself (laughs).
Thanks for your time and all the best for the second half of 2013.