If Rafael Nadal or Feliciano Lopez pray at the altar of Real Madrid, Tommy Robredo, good Catalan that he is, prefers FC Barcelona. Before going out to face David Ferrer, the comeback king at Roland Garros 2013 shared some of his memories as a fan.
What kind of FC Barcelona supporter are you?
As far back as I can remember I’ve always supported Barcelona. I am Catalan and, as a Catalan, you have no option but to be for Barça, unless you don't like football. I can't watch all the matches because of my travels and jet lag, but I try to always keep abreast of the results.
Do you get much opportunity to go watch games at the Camp Nou?
Not often, unfortunately. I guess I see a game or two per season. I was lucky enough to be there for the semi-final against Chelsea in 2009 in London, when Iniesta scored in the last minute. I knew we would score. It was incredible. Only football can offer you moments of such intensity. The final against Manchester United that year is also a very good memory. Barça dominated it, from start to finish. And we won at Wembley, where we won our first Champions League in 1992, so it was very special.
What do you remember of that victory against Sampdoria?
I was ten years old and it was my first big emotion. The club had been chasing the trophy for so long. I remember Koeman’s free-kick as if it were just yesterday.
Is it possible to compare the Barcelona of Cruyff with that of Guardiola?
Phew... For me you can't compare them. These are two great teams with two very different styles. Cruyff's Barça had perhaps a quicker and more direct game. Guardiola's had Messi. And when you have Messi, well, that changes everything. However, in their times they were the best teams in the world. And nobody can deny that.
Which player best represents Barça for you?
No Xavi, Iniesta or Messi?
No, Puyol. He gives everything for his club. Physically, he’s omnipresent and he never cheats. When he’s not there, we can see that the team misses him. He’s our leader. Xavi, Iniesta and Messi are, of course, important, but Puyol is the soul of Barça.
Do you tease each the Real Madrid supporters like Rafael Nadal or Feliciano Lopez?
We talk and tease each other like friends who support two rival clubs. There is no animosity. When there's a Clasico, we often meet up to watch it at the hotel or in a bar. It's always a good time... Although a little less for me this season, since Barça were less successful.
Are you optimistic for next season with the arrival of Brazilian prodigy Neymar?
I'm still optimistic for Barça. I know little about Neymar, just a few video clips, but if the bosses have bet on him then he probably is a great player. We just need to see how he fits in with the style of the team. It's not always easy for the new arrivals to blend into a team that works so well and that is so strongly identified with a certain style of play. Some people say it would be good to radically overhaul the team. I really don't know. I'm not the Barça coach.
Interview by Alexandre Pedro