Gael Monfils Interview - French Open, May 26Posted on May 26, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.
Q. Well, it was perfect. No problemwith the knee? An easy match? You played well.
GAËL MONFILS: Absolutely. I was okay. I got into the matcheasily, better than I thought. At the veryend, there was a warning sign, a little pain in the knee, but I think it's dueto the fact it was a bit warmer, then cooler. It started raining a little. So Ithought there was a little sign on my knee, but not much.
I was quitereassured. I was moving around. I could hit the balls very strongly. I looked at the statistics with Roger. I didn't make many mistakes. So I was really happy.
Q. What did Roger say?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, he said, You played well. Next question. No, he said, You played well. You played well. Think about the next match. He was happy, you see.
We didn't really knowmuch about my condition, and my mindset ‑‑ my mindset was reallygood. What we were really afraid of ishow long it would last, if I would be well‑focused from A to Z.
There was just one moment when I was totallyfed up. It was really a ball in thenet. Otherwise I was reallyfocused. I didn't do crazy things, sogood.
Q. Didyou feel more stressed than usual? Youwere thinking about perhaps your knee or your focus? How did you feel before the match?
GAËL MONFILS: Before the match, I was totally at ease,okay. To some extent, I had some fearsabout the fact that if the match is tough, is it not going to be like hell forme, you know, and be in the red. Butduring the rallies, I was there. I wasinto the game.
Q. You said last week you couldn't play more than an hour in a row. Now it's more than an hour that you canplay. But you still feel pain. Can you play with pain?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, we were talking about this before. You know, the match lasted one hour and 27minutes, I think. At the end, I felt someslight pain, so I don't really know about the pain thing.
But physically, I knowI can play one‑and‑a‑half hours, that's for sure. I'll see. I can last one‑and‑a‑half hours 100%, and that's what I showedtoday. I still have some reserves, yousee. I have more in me. And then I had stopped some anti‑inflammationpills for a few days, and I will continue to take them.
Q. So you're going to take them again for this inflammation?
GAËL MONFILS: Yes.
Q. Next challenge is not now perhaps this afternoon and tomorrow, you'll bethinking about the next challenge. Is itas important that the fact you spent not much time on the court? That is, you're going to take care ofyourself in between?
GAËL MONFILS: Yes, absolutely. When I rest I'll take care myself. When I've finished with you, I'll watch a fewpoints, Jo against Benneteau. And I'lltake care of my body. Tomorrow I'll behitting the balls for one hour, and then I'll stay at home to think aboutmyself, care for myself, and then it's going to be a match against VictorCrivoi. It's going to be Victor Crivoi.
Q. Why did you sign yourself, you know, and then you gave kisses in theair?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, I was happy, you see. My family supported me an awful lot, youknow, with prayers and that's why I made the sign, the cross sign. So I had to thank my family.
I know that is correct,you know, in the West Indies, in the Antilles,they're believers. They believe inGod. I wanted to do this for my family.
Q. Do you have confidence in the next round, which was the case last year,or would you say you don't know what's going to happen next and what's going tohappen with your wound?
GAËL MONFILS: I don't really think about this wounded kneeor this injury, rather. As I said before,I tried to play. I stopped thinkingabout this, you know, the injury or no injury. I think about the next round, the next tournament, the next opponent.
Now, this time Istarted well. I got into the tournamentwell, a good first round, good first match I won. How am I going to develop even moreskills? You know, that's the startingpoint. If this is the starting point, Ihope that if I can win match after match, I can play even a better type oftennis, and that can be like, wow.
Q. You're very ambitious, and a week ago you didn't know if you wouldplay. And what you say today is you'resaying is, you're ambitious. It could belike, wow?
GAËL MONFILS: Yes, usually I start getting into thetournament very slowly. I don't play aswell as today. But today I feltstrong. I hit strongly, and then maybetactically I could change a couple of things like my forehand. When I decided to hit very strongly, theballs would bounce enormously, so if I gained more trust, more confidence, morematches, I could hit even stronger, I could take the ball earlier when it justbounced back.
So when I'm on thecourt, I want to win. I forget about myinjury. I want to do more. I want to develop a better style of play, dayin and day out.
Q. Do you think it's like last year, that is, to start with, you feel theinjury, you don't know what's going to happen, and then you're into thetournament and then you find all your friends, your pals? Do you feel something similar? Do you think that's okay?
GAËL MONFILS: I don't know if it's like last year, but, youknow, with Roger, that was a bit funny, you know. It's been like four or five weeks. I have not gotten into any tournament ormatch, but now I'm quite aggressive.
After five weeks I'vegained confidence today, and I feel like, why not? I could perhaps have more ambitions, and whynot? I could perhaps progress day in andday out. Let's hope for the best.
Q. You keep on saying that after one‑and‑a‑half hours the pain is toomuch. Is that not information for youropponents? They're going to say, Oh, wewant to have a longer match. Is it notthat you want to win Roland Garros in one‑and‑a‑half hours with a bit of humor,of course.
GAËL MONFILS: Well, this would be good, if I could. Yes, I know it's information for the nextplayer, but, you know, it's one‑and‑a‑half hours already. They have to make me move around and run forthe balls.
Now, if I progressivelyplay better and better, with the beginning being what it was today, I have chances.