By John Delong
(Editor’s note: This is one of a series of updates on players who have committed to play in this year’s Winston-Salem Open.)
Tommy Robredo shares more than just his first name with Tommy Haas.
Both are thirty-somethings who have enjoyed incredible resurgences in their careers in the past year and continue to climb up the ATP World Tour rankings.
Robredo has now reached No. 23 after winning the title at Umag last week, when he annihilated Fabio Fognini 6-0, 6-3 in the final to end Fognini’s 13-match winning streak. He had beaten another Italian and fellow Winston-Salem Open entrant Andreas Seppi in the semifinals.
The 31-year-old Spaniard also won earlier this year at Casablanca and now boasts 12 career ATP World Tour titles.
"I am more than happy," Robredo told reporters in Umag. "I’ve been a professional for nearly 15 years and this is my 12th title, so there have not been many times with trophies. I love the emotion.
"Before the match I was talking to my coach and I was saying, ‘It’s lovely to be waiting to play a final and you are nervous.’ Money can’t buy this feeling and I’m lucky to be a part of this sport and lucky to have the chance to feel these feelings. I enjoy it and I know how to handle it."
Robredo also reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and the third round at Wimbledon earlier this year, losing to eventual champion Andy Murray at Wimbledon. But he had lost his first match in each of his two previous tournaments, at Bastad and Hamburg.
He started the year at No. 114, and had dropped all the way to No. 471 in May of 2012 after missing five months because of leg surgery.
Robredo had been as high as No. 6 in the world in 2006, and he spent the better part of three years in the Top 10.
He says the adversity he faced with the leg injury and drop in the rankings have given him a new perspective and allowed him to appreciate his success now more than ever.
"Obviously (the surgery) was an experience that I had to go through and in life all experiences are good," he said. "I think you learn more from a bad experience than a good one, no? So I learned a lot from that, and right now I enjoy it a lot more every time I win a match."
Eleven of Robredo’s 12 ATP World Tour titles have come on clay. He has also owns five career doubles crowns, including two paired with Rafael Nadal.
Robredo will be making his Winston-Salem Open debut, but he does have past ties to Winston-Salem. He played two singles matches in the 2007 Davis Cup quarterfinal between Spain and the United States, losing to James Blake and beating Bob Bryan.