American veteran Steve Johnson, who is playing Newport this week, says that he enjoys playing on grass and wants to win the event.
The world No. 48 didn’t do much in Halle, Eastbourne or Wimbledon, where he fell in the first round against Ruben Bemelmans 8-6 in the fifth set.
But in 2016, he won the grass-court event at Nottingham, and upset Grigor Dimitrov in the third round at Wimbledon.
“Some guys are really not comfortable on grass and are not going to play Newport,” Johnson told local press at Newport.
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“I’ve won a title on grass and I feel like I can do well. When I come to Newport, I always feel like I can win.
"I want to put my best foot forward and I feel like I’ve put in the work to do that.”
A two-month stretch in Europe, starting with the Rome Masters, had left the 28-year-old Johnson a little tired. The former No. 21 prefers competing at home.
“You always want to do well, but there are weeks when there’s a break on the back end, and you’re not overly upset when you’ve been playing six or seven weeks in a row and you get a chance to go home and shut it down,” Johnson said. “I told Todd [Martin, a former player and now tournament director] a couple years ago when I was there that I definitely wanted to win Newport, being at the Hall of Fame and being in the States. It’s good to play events at home, even though I’m from L.A. and Newport is about as far away from L.A. as you can get, it’s still in the States.”
Johnson defeated Christian Harrison 6-3, 6-1 in the round of 16 on Wednesday.
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