Gael Monfils Interview - French Open, May 30
Posted on May 30, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. Some of those shots you've been making, the diving and everything, talkabout your willingness to throw your body all over the court.
GAËL MONFILS: First of all, well, I saw the ball, and everytime, I mean, for me, like the point is never over. I mean, the ball is a little bit far, but Ihave to find a solution to jump or to dive or slide or whatever, I mean, toreach it. And when I think I can, I willtry to ‑‑ I mean, to do like the magic is coming. So I try to do whatever, and more importantpoint like very ‑‑ I mean, it was like break point, so you have to jump ordive. I mean, I go for it.
Q. Can you also just talk a little bit about Andy? Good run he's on. You have him next.
GAËL MONFILS: Andy? I don't know what to tell you. Top 10 player, strong man. I losttwo times this year, so it's going to be a great revenge for me, play at homeagainst him. I will see. I mean, I'm not thinking about Andy, buttomorrow will be the time to think about it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.
Q. Iwanted to ask you something. Whathappened during the second set? I hadthe impression you were no longer into the game. Was it difficult for you? I mean, you had to slide and you fell perhaps. What happened?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, no, I was not hurt. But then I touched the net for ‑‑ whenthe point was not that important, but I could have won the break, and then thewind was up again. I was a bittense. I don't know.
I couldn't get into thematch. I was not hitting the ballstrongly enough, and it was like stuck in the strings of the racquet. Well, he was fighting well, and that's when Istarted hitting more, and I was more into the match then again.
But as you said, during the second set myknee was okay, and it was just a slight error I made in terms of judgment.
Q. Whatabout your knee today?
GAËL MONFILS: It was not hurting that much. It was hurting less, and I knew how to moveon the court, and I'm really satisfied with my knee. I've taken care of it. I spend a lot of time on it, and it seems itworks well.
So I'll continue likethis, and I'll be very careful.
Q. Even at the beginning of the match, I thought it was difficult for youon your legs, you know, it was difficult for you to get into the match.
GAËL MONFILS: Well, I was sliding too much, and I asked fornew shoes to be brought in. I thought Iwas going to change my shoes because I thought I was sliding too much, and thenI got used to it. I didn't have tochange shoes.
Q. Have you got any fears when you get on the court? Fears, I mean, with regards to your knee or doyou think your knee is getting better by the day?
GAËL MONFILS: I don't want to think about it too much. It doesn't hurt that much now, so it'sbetter. But when I use the strap, it'sokay. I'm not afraid of being hurt. I only think about the match, and then thenext thing is that ‑‑ well, never mind the knee. No problems. Zero problems.
Q. You've talked about Zamar. You'vetalked a lot about them. Have theycalled you? Because that's goodadvertising for them.
GAËL MONFILS: No, they didn't call me, but it's difficultto mind my phone number.
Q. What about this match that you're going to play against AndyRoddick? Marc Gicquel said that Roddickserves really well, a bit like you sincethe beginning of the tournament. Tactically, what can change? Whatare your weapons against him?
GAËL MONFILS: I'm not going to tell you. I'll keep these secrets to myself. As far as the match is concerned, I'll beokay, very calm as usual. I'll do mybest little by little and then we'll see.
Q. Roger usually says that tactically you've improved a lot. Well, it's been the case for a number ofmonths. Would you say that your game styleis exactly the same as last year's or is it different? How is it different? Can you tell us more about this change?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, I think that now I'm much more open toother solutions. I can change the pacemore easily, mainly for my backhand. It'sbeen quite useful. When I don't feelgood to rotate, I can use my backhand more easily, so this opens up newpossibilities for me. I know I can hitstrong backhands when I'm totally confident, and I've seen that on manymatches, so this is good. I can movemore easily on the court.
After this, I find moreangles, because I've worked on this, and Roger's asked me to work on thesetypes of shots. I think that withexperience now, I better anticipate. I'mbetter placed on the clay. In the past,that was a bit of a problem for me.
Now when I'm in full confidence, I know thatI don't have to turn around the shots to my backhand. I can turn around, or I can take it backhand,so it's changed my tactics.
Q. Wouldyou say that two or three years ago you would win the points, and now you thinkmore about building your game, building your points?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, not exactly. Now I can better define what I can do. Sometimes in the past I wouldn't take toomany risks. I would try and hit wherethe other player was not and diagonal shots I would play.
Now I have gained moreconfidence. I can do more what Iwant. I can choose where I want tohit. Sometimes if I want to come to thenet more often, I can do this. Now Ihave gained confidence, and this is it.
When I need to gain or win a point, Ibelieve in it. My first serve, aswell. I can hit really strongly for myfirst serve. Not as strong as before,but I know that I can place it where I want to put the ball, and with the workI've put in and with experience, this is it, you know. I can better define the things I want to do.
Q. Now,you wanted to have quick wins at the beginning, not to spend too much time onthe court. Would you say that this matchagainst Roddick is the ideal type of match for you? That is, it's usually short type of match,and it might be really quick for both of you.
GAËL MONFILS: I don't really agree with you. Andy, well, his matches are not thatquick. Of course, he serves so well, soit can be fast, that's true. But when heplays against Murrayor when I played against him, it can last, you know.
Andy is a baselineplayer, like Marc has said. He doesn'tgive you many points easily. He'saggressive, but it's not just winner shots he plays. So what I expect is a long match againstAndy, not a very fast match. On thecontrary.
Q. There are many people who say you are the best athlete. The coaches, the players say that. Would you say this, as well? Do you think that some are better athletesthan you are? Some are stronger, a lotstronger than you are?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, let's play the Olympic Games. We'll see. I mean, the best? I don't know.
I can be okay, but Idon't know if I'm the best. Lookaround. I think players like Jo is notbad. You know, I think he's as fast as Iam, probably. Maybe I'm a bit tallerthan he is.
Oh, I can jump higher than he does. But I'm not certain, if you look at the bestplayers like Djoko ‑‑ he moves so fast on the court sometimes. He doesn't run for extreme points, but he'svery quick and he does the splits, as well. But I think we have a spate of good players.
Q. Haveyou watched Jo's match or the end of his match after yours? And other question, what about the Parisiancrowd on the Lenglen court?
GAËL MONFILS: I have not watched Jo's match or the end ofhis match, and the crowd was great today. Really wonderful, incredible. They were here. They're muchpresent. Supportive from A to Z. Great atmosphere. It was sunny. It was perfect.
Q. So round of 16. What would yousay? Would you say, Okay, you've metyour objective in light of what happened in the past, because clay season hasnot really started or would you say round of 16 is not sufficient?
GAËL MONFILS: That's not my objective at all, ofcourse. It's the first step. Now it's going to be week No. 2, which isquite pleasant, week No. 2 in a Grand Slam. This is quite enjoyable, and unfortunately I've not had enoughopportunities to play on clay this season, so I have many regrets. Many regrets because I know I can win anumber of matches. I could have won morematches. I could have fought better inother tournaments before, so ‑‑ what I was thinking about is, okay, that'sweek No. 2 in a Grand Slam, I'm very happy. No, it's like automatic, you see. I like it. It was the French Openlast year, the US Open, as well. TheAustralian Open, and here again, this year, so I'm going to try and do evenbetter than this. To go far here in theFrench Open and then to continue the season, as well.