Gilles Simon Interview - French Open, May 24

Posted on May 24, 2009

Gilles Simon Interview
French Open, May 24

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. (In French.) Before this match,had you been told that you would win in five sets, what would you have said ordone?

GILLES SIMON: Well, I'm really happy to have won thematch. I thought it would be reallytough like this one was, really tough. Ithought he had as many chances as I had, so I'm really happy to have won.

Q. It's probably good, this type of match, after a period that was more,can I say, tricky?

GILLES SIMON: Yes, of course. What's good is to win a match, even thoughyou have to fight for it, whereas the other ones I lost them all. Now, at last, I've won this one, and one,more particularly, three hours, more than three‑and‑a‑half hours. Lots of efforts I put into the match and atthe end of the day I won, so I'm really happy.

Q. Recently you said that the Roland Garros was the tournament that youwould watch on TV when you were a boy. Usually takes two or three matches before you get into the tournamentbecause people are tense. How did youfeel when you entered the court and during the first rallying when the crowdwas with you? How did you feel?

GILLES SIMON: Well, it's always mixed feelings, youknow. I'm always eager to go for it,because that's why we play tennis for. That's why we play tennis. Youknow, we have to admit, also, the fact that we're a bit afraid of going there onthe court. You never know what's goingto happen, see.

I tried to be preparedmentally, I mean, for this match, so that when it's more tense, I couldovercome these difficulties. I could wineach point, each game. Whether you like themanners or not, you know, the important thing was to win.

Q. With this victory, would you say that the wind is blowing in anotherdirection, or is it too early?

GILLES SIMON: It's too early to say. And recently, I was very much disillusionedduring matches when I played well. Ithought, I'm into the match, and then afterwards, I lost. I lost, and it was a bitter loss. So it's match after match. I was really happy to win this match.

As I said, it wastough. My opponent was very constant,stable. He didn't make manymistakes. I had to run for the balls,for the points. I had to do this, andthat's all I can remember today.

Q. You've said no matter the manners, that it's how you win, the importantthing is to win. Are you an attacker, orhave you decided to stop this or are you back to the old plans where you feelmore comfortable?

GILLES SIMON: Well, you know, in this case I don't think Icould play really well and win the match in three sets this time against thisopponent. I thought it would be a toughmatch, a hard match to win.

The next thing is ‑‑and that was the turning point in the match, when I fought more for theballs. I could hit back more strongly,and I had the winning points, and I ran a lot. That was really tiring. Today,I was good with my serve. My service wasgood. There were many points I won on myfirst serve, and then short balls ‑‑ short balls to play afterwards. So all in all, I decided to win each point.

Q. Well, you were perhaps too far from the line sometimes.

GILLES SIMON: What do you mean? You can follow me on TV? It happens. (laughter.)

Well, there are times,you know, when it was difficult for me to take control, but the way he plays isreally difficult. He plays all thezones. He varies a lot his first balls,and then second balls, and then when he won the game with his forehand, youknow, he hides his forehand. You neverknow where he's going to play, to anticipate.

It's very difficult, even though he doesn'tplay really quickly, really fast, he has many angles, and when he controls thisrally, you know, it's very difficult to have the upper hand and to hit hard allthe balls. Each time I was far behindthe back line, and also, on the sidelines, it's not the most comfortable typeof position for me.

Q. Itwas a premier, the first time for you, on central court, and thousands ofpeople were saying, Gilou, Gilou, and you probably want to win this battle forthem?

GILLES SIMON: Yes, of course it's going to help. That's something that helps. Now, there are many things, you know, whenyou feel, for instance, that the audience, the crowd is here, supporting you,it's something that's going to give you strength. Even more, I can say that disabled people,they're close to the court, and they're tired and you're tired, you want to runfor each point when you look at disabled people, you know.

Sometimes in the pastwhen the matches were difficult, I couldn't win. I didn't win. But this time they were always with me, so that's probably also why I reallywon this match. It's really good.

Q. What about your confidence? Howdo you feel after this type of match?

GILLES SIMON: Better. I feel better. But then, youknow, it takes time before you're really into your matches. That's all I can say. You feel better, but it's never over, youknow. And even when it was 5 to 4, youknow, there were points to gain, and to win, and that was the tough moment whenI was looking for what I could do. I wasaching. I was really happy to end withthree winning points during the game.

Q. Did you doubt at any moment?

GILLES SIMON: No, I never doubted. It was so easy. (laughter.)

No, of course I waskidding. It was tough. Usually during the beginning of the ‑‑ thefifth set, some serves were really good and had he managed to break, it wouldhave been a different story altogether.

Q. You said the audience was supporting you. Isn't this like pressure, this is centercourt, you could have been afraid of being ousted during the first round? Were you tense? Did you feel tense?

GILLES SIMON: Yes, but that's to start with. You feel pressure on you, when you get on thecentral court. You want to do your best,and then there's loads of people. Youwant to play a good match. You try andhit the ball, but, you know, there's a time when it's been more than threehours, and then the brains can't think any longer.

That's why you playbetter, at any given moment in time, because you're more into your feelings,what you feel you can do, what you feel you can't do. You can manage your efforts better. That's when you tend to forget about all therest and that's when you focus on what's positive and that's when you realizethe audience is with you.

Q. You were tense or pressure on you. Is it just due to Roland Garros or do you have it on other tournaments?

GILLES SIMON: Well, it's always the same pressure you haveon other tournaments, on Roland Garros, two different levels. Sometimes you're afraid, but it's okay. Sometimes you're totally frightened to death,and then the only thing is to overcome this fear.

Q. Do you think you've reached a bottom during Dusseldorf when you questioned yourself alot? You wondered why should I play,what's the point?
GILLESSIMON: No. I found answers in Dusseldorf. On the contrary, that's when I stopped asking myself a number ofquestions. I thought ‑‑ I wastrying to rebuild something, and I had to start from scratch from the beginning. It takes time.