By Nemanja Bjedov
The self-professed “tough times” just seem to have no end these days for Cyprus’ Marcos Baghdatis.
Baghdatis was beaten by Argentinean Carlos Berlocq in straight sets in the opening round of the Topshelf Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on Monday afternoon – a defeat that marks his eighth successive first-round loss, ever since managing to reach the quarterfinals in Rotterdam in February.
The match against Berlocq was twice interrupted by rain, once at 2-2 in the first set and then again with the Cypriot trailing by a break at 2-1 in the second set.
But Baghdatis admitted that the weather did not adversely affect his performance.
“I am going through tough times,” he said. “Confidence-wise, mentally, everything is spinning when I am on the court. I am thinking very negatively.
“It was a terrible match – I did not even play the match until the second rain delay.
“Then I started fighting a bit more, but he also played okay,” acknowledged Baghdatis of his opponent.
The first-round exit sounded a particularly low note, falling as it did on the Cypriot’s 28th birthday, but he nevertheless remains hopeful that the hard work he and coach Zeljko Krajan are putting in on the practice court will eventually pay off.
“We had a long talk,” said Baghdatis, referring to his post-match discussion with Krajan.
“There are a lot of things I need to work on. In practice I am playing well, but in my head I am feeling the pressure and it makes me get so tight. I am not performing the way I want to.”
“Today was a terrible day. In practice I am playing so well and I want to do everything perfect on the court.
“I am putting too much pressure on myself. I need to fight and win some matches and just focus on that, not trying to play perfectly all the time,” he concluded.
Baghdatis will now travel to Wimbledon where hopefully his previous successes can inspire him to turn his form around.
He reached the semifinals in 2006 and was also a quarterfinalist in 2007. In the past two years he has reached the third round at the event, losing to Novak Djokovic in 2011 and Andy Murray last season.