Gilles Simon nearly pulled off the upset of the day over the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, but his bid fell short in a 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
With no one even close to Djokovic until today, Simon talked about what it takes to beat Djokovic among other things.
Q. How would you describe that match? How do you feel at the moment?
GILLES SIMON: I don’t feel good. It was a long match, very hard. Running a lot for 4 hours, 40 minutes, something like this.
It’s always a bad feeling when you lose in five also. Always like when you play so long, you feel so many things are happening on the court. So many things could have been different. Just had, like, couldn’t make it today.
Q. What do you think made the difference in the end?
GILLES SIMON: Was playing better. He put more on the ball. I think the conditions were getting slower also. He was hitting the ball harder. He took more risk and the balls were staying in. From 2-1, 40-Love, I think he plays only good shot till 5-1. A lot of lines also. Very aggressive. So not much to say.
He definitely played better in the end.
Q. No one has taken a set from him in a long time. What do you think you were doing that was troubling his game?
GILLES SIMON: I know exactly what I was doing, but I won’t say it. I had a plan. I mean, I know him well. We all know which player he is and how hard it is to find any solution against him, to somehow stop the fight and feel better on the court.
I think I worked on it good today. He made 100 unforced. That’s a good number for me, not for him. But fortunately one more time was not enough.
Q. In terms of big-match performances, how can you compare the toughness of Djokovic with Roger and with Nadal?
GILLES SIMON: Well, it’s hard. When you talk about them, I’m depressed already. I imagine them won. I lost, I lost, I lost again.
No, I played some good match with them. I think one of my strengths is I don’t fear them really. Like I just see them as humans and tennis players. They are fantastic. They can play an amazing tennis, but they still have some weaknesses on the court. I just try to use it. That’s it. I try to keep it simple.
That’s what I said. Sometimes I feel the players, they are not always trying their best when they play, for example, against Novak. At the start Novak is playing fantastic and the match is over after 20 minutes. I just try to, one more time, do my best point after point, minute after minute, try to find some solution, try to feel better on the court. I really believe inside that if I can play what I want to play, I will give them trouble, like I have facing it.
Q. Novak had an off day today in terms of his errors. But what makes him so tough?
GILLES SIMON: Well, when you serve that good, return that good, move that well also, most of the time, not always, we could see today, most of the time you hit the ball clean, it’s hard to beat him. You have to play a perfect match.
In a five-set match, you have to be able to play for three, four, five hours maybe. That’s right now the ultimate challenge when you are a tennis player to beat him in a slam. That is what is hard.
Stan made it last year with a wonderful performance. But, as I said before the match, I have to find my own way to do it. Like I wish I could hit like Stan, but that’s far from being the case.
One more time: I just try to keep it simple, use my strengths, use his weaknesses, yeah, just try to work it out.
Q. You mentioned he had a hundred unforced errors, but still not enough for him to lose. Is that in a way frustrating for you?
GILLES SIMON: Well, I don’t know. One more time: I keep it easy, I have a plan, I know what I want to play, I know where I want to bring him. Today I managed to do it. Some other day I don’t manage to do it. It’s going to be a 6-2, 6-2 win for him. I just know it can happen.
But I just try to be here today where I can make it. That’s why I say I was sad I couldn’t make it till the end. In the fifth he was better, but he was not better on the third, for example. I think I missed a few occasion. Also I was not there in the fourth, and I took it.
That’s why I say it’s a long match, it’s a lot of points played. You feel so many things can happen. Yeah, tried my best. That’s it.
Q. Are you going to share your plan with the other players in the locker room?
GILLES SIMON: I know a lot of players wants me to win this match. A lot of players will feel better with Novak out of the draw. That’s normal because he’s the best player in the world.
But right now, one more time, it’s hard to use what I was playing. That’s why I say it’s hard for me to use what Stan is playing against him, when he’s beating him. We all have different strengths.
One more time: I don’t have anything to share. I mean, if some players can realize what I was trying to do to bring him there, it’s good for them. If they want to keep it simple, one more time, with their own game, their own strengths and everything, that’s a good world.
Q. How much has your plan changed against Novak over the years to find a solution against him?
GILLES SIMON: Not that much. He’s improving year after year. That’s terrible to say because he’s already No. 1. He’s improving, so I try to improve also.
This is close from what I wanted to play when I was playing against him in the early years. But at that time he was not that fit. I would have won this match. Today I’m losing it. That’s the difference.
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