Alumni News: Q&A with Australian Open Champion Robert Lindstedt
Pepperdine talks to alum Robert Lindstedt about his Grand Slam win and his time in Malibu.
Feb. 5, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. - Pepperdine men’s tennis alum Robert Lindstedt recently won the Australian Open Doubles Grand Slam on Jan. 25 with doubles partner Lukasz Kubot. The No. 14 seeded duo beat Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen 6-3, 6-3 in the final, securing the first-ever Grand Slam title for the 36-year-old Lindstedt. It was Lindstedt’s fourth Grand Slam finals appearance.
As a Wave, Lindstedt was an ITA All-American in 1998, as well as an All-West Coast Conference first team selection in both singles and doubles. Pepperdine reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament that season before losing to Georgia to finish the year with a 27-6 record. That same season, Lindstedt made it to the NCAA Doubles Championship title match with partner Kelly Gullett. The pair droped a narrow three-set decision to Bob and Mike Bryan of Stanford.
Lindstedt is the second Pepperdine player to win a Grand Slam title, following four-time All-American and Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Simon Aspelin, who won the U.S. Open Doubles Grand Slam in 2007.
PepperdineSports.com and The Graphic were able to chat with Lindstedt about his recent victory and his time as a student-athlete here at Pepperdine:
PepperdineSports.com: What thoughts and emotions were you experiencing after the win, and what does this Grand Slam mean to you and your career?
Robert Lindstedt: After, it was just a circus of emotions. Relief, happiness, pride and sadness. Yes, sadness: sad that my family could not be there to see it live. They have sacrificed so much for me and my sister and brother. For my career, it means that I have reached the ultimate goal I set for myself.
PS: You've been to three previous Grand Slam finals but unfortunately came up short. How did you change up your preparation and training for the Australian Open?
RL: Well, I just figured that there has to be something to learn (from the losses). I tried to look for something positive to take away from them, and not dwell on the negative of losing. So I simply felt more relaxed than the other finals. I finally realized what "enjoying the moment” meant, a very difficult thing to do in professional sport.
PS: You were originally meant to play with Jurgen Melzer but had to find a new partner at the last minute when Melzer was injured. How were you and Lukasz Kubot able to train together and get on the same page so quickly before the tournament?
RL: Lukasz and I have known each other for years, from the futures and challenger tournament days. He is a great doubles player and I simply asked him if he wanted to play when I knew Jurgen was not going to be fit. He was my first choice.
PS: What was working for you and Kubot the day of the final?
RL: We decided from the beginning what game plan we were going to have and almost no matter what we were going to stick to it. We knew we had the weapons to win and we just had to execute.
PS: Thinking about your time at Pepperdine, are there any favorite memories on or off the court?
RL: On court memories are always about the team, not about my tennis. I loved being a part of the team and that is all I think about when I think back to my college days.
PS: What advice would you give our current student-athletes in regards to bettering themselves on and off the playing field? Any advice for student-athletes with professional aspirations?
RL: If you think you work hard now, think again. As I worked my way up, I always thought I was a pretty hard worker. But boy was I wrong. At this level, we barely have any free time. Everything is tennis related. On court, in the gym, rehab, working with physios (physical therapists) — you have to live and breathe it. No one gives you anything.
PS: What was your favorite part about being a Pepperdine student-athlete?
RL: Being part of a team. I love that.
PS: Favorite thing to do while in Malibu?
RL: Being in the sun everyday was amazing and I loved that. And looking at the beautiful girls.
PS: Favorite food after a match?
RL: Anything that is good for me, really.
PS: Favorite TV show currently airing?
RL: Top Gear and Game of Thrones.
PS: Favorite musician that you are currently listening to? Any go-to pre-match tunes you have to listen to before a big match?
RL: Eric Prydz. I don't really listen to music before the matches. I try to relax more than anything.
PS: If you weren't a professional tennis player, what other career do you think you would have?
RL: I have tried to answer this question many times but it is very difficult. Probably a professional in another sport.
PS: If you could play doubles alongside any player, dead or alive, who would it be?
RL: Well, I have to choose someone I have not played with then. Pat Rafter, just out of a winning perspective. Otherwise, Björn Borg of course.
PS: Favorite tennis venue?
RL: Wimbledon. By far.
PepperdineSports.com and The Graphic collaborated on this piece. Copy by Chirag Patel.