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November 1, 2014

Arnaud Clement


THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in French, please.

Q.テつ Before talking about the general situation about Davis Cup, did you believe this tournament was extremely important for the French players?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ You mean for the selection process?

Q.テつ Yes, and for preparing for Lille.
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ I thought it had some importance, but not a capital importance either.テつ The players who had to stop because of injuries were able to play and play good matches, and that was a good thing.
I believe this is positive.テつ So now that physically they are reassured about their condition they have their mind on the Davis Cup, and that has been so for a while.テつ It is their main goal for the season.

Q.テつ A few words about Lucas Pouille.テつ What can you say about him?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ Well, it was very enjoyable watching him.テつ Four wins in a row against high‑level players and also his two victories in the quallies.テつ Very significant.テつ This is very promising for the future and for next season.

Q.テつ So I believe you followed the matches on TV.テつ Can you say a word on each one of the players that you're going to take with you to Bordeaux, starting with Jo and Richard?テつ How do you assess them individually from what you saw on TV?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ I know Richard.テつ He's extremely motivated by this Davis Cup.テつ He has his mind set on it.テつ It's true for all the other players of course also.
All these players didn't play much lately.テつ I mean, in the last weeks.テつ So the match he lost was against a player who played exceptionally well.
He can improve on a certain number of things, but at least he has some reference now he can use, you know, for his physical condition.テつ He has time to work on what he needs to work on.
And I was very pleased of the level of game of Gaテδォl and Jo also against players who are playing very well.テつ Djokovic, of course, he's really peaking right now.テつ And Nishikori is playing quite well, as you have seen.
They were able to be up to par with those players for a long time.テつ They lost their matches in the end, but I believe those matches were very interesting.

Q.テつ Can you give us the list of players who will come with you to Bordeaux?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ Yes.テつ They will be Richard, Gaテδォl, Jo, and Gilles Simon.テつ So four of them will be in Bordeaux for the practice or training session there.

Q.テつ What will the criteria be for the choice of Lille and the Pierre‑Mauroy Stadium?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ Well, it's an incredible opportunity of being able to play in a stadium that is so big and where the number of spectators is so high.
But this particular question should be asked to the French Federation, French Tennis Federation.テつ They studied the various applications.
But we were very happy to hear that Lille had been chosen.テつ We are very proud and satisfied with this choice.

Q.テつ So why do you choose to bring only four players?テつ You saw that Mika, Michael Llodra, is back in competition now.
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ I saw the results of Julien.テつ I hope he might join us later.テつ He might join us in Bordeaux for a few days, too.テつ This is one possibility, I must say.
And then Michael Llodra, as you said, has been injured for a long time, since the US Open.テつ He's fighting strongly to be ready in time, but unfortunately he was a bit ‑‑it took too long and he wasn't able to play the Basel or the Bercy tournament, which was in his schedule, in an ideal schedule.
So he's still trying hard.テつ He's going to play a challenger this week just to test himself and to see how his injuries are going.

Q.テつ Do you have a precise idea on how you're going to get organized in Bordeaux?テつ Are you going to have many courts to play on?テつ How is it going to be organized?テつ It's going to be five days.
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ Yes, I have a precise idea on that.テつ They will have some days rest before the Bordeaux training session, and they will start training physically pretty hard.
And in the beginning of the training session, we will do that with them.テつ We will have many courts, many clay courts.テつ So we will continue the physical work on the court, too, according to the needs and the general feelings of each player.
So they will have a few days' rest individually, and then there will be a lot of work to be done.テつ We are lucky to have all that time to prepare, so we shouldn't rush.テつ We shouldn't do things that we are not used to doing.
We have to avoid any possible injuries, of course.テつ So I need to control everything.

Q.テつ I have two questions.テつ The first question is Mika is still a possibility.テつ Can he join you in Bordeaux?テつ In your mind, can he still be selected?テつ And second question:テつ Why didn't you take a larger group with one or two sparring partners, like Jeremy or any other?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ It's nice to think about Jeremy as a sparring partner.テつ Well, you know, like every time, I sort of ask myself the right questions.テつ I think about other players.
But in my mind today, those who have a chance of going on court in Lille are those four players I mentioned, and I want to focus the preparation on them and sort of keep their energy on it.

Q.テつ But Mika is condemned?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ Well, Mika is not going to be in the training session in Bordeaux.テつ That means he's not going to be selected, because his preparation has took a longer time than scheduled and he's a bit late compared to the other players on the team.
It's not easy to tell him so, but it's I think the best solution.

Q.テつ Did you go to Lille to see the stadium?テつ Aren't you afraid that it is maybe too gigantic?テつ Is it the same to play before 15,000 people or 27,000 people?テつ Aren't you afraid your players will be inhibited just because of the size of the stadium?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ I just saw photos.テつ I didn't go.テつ It's going to be new for everybody ‑ for the players, for everyone ‑ to play in such a big arena.テつ But I'm not afraid they are going to be impressed.
On the contrary, I saw them being very excited.テつ They're used to playing on big stadiums, so I believe it's on the contrary.テつ I believe it's a good opportunity for us.

Q.テつ Are you going to have long sessions in Bordeaux?テつ Are you going to have long preparation sessions in Bordeaux?テつ And maybe more dynamic sessions in Lille?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ In Bordeaux we will do both:テつ Quantitative and qualitative sessions. テつBut the training will be a bit heavier in Bordeaux.
On Monday we will be in Lille, but the court will be ready on Tuesday morning only.テつ The players, starting from Tuesday, will slow down a little bit and do something lighter, because it's going to be time to gather new energy just before the tie.

Q.テつ About Lille, we were saying it was gigantic, but it's going to be also a different final because there will be Roger Federer, and the crowd will not be against Roger.テつ So then it's going to be different, isn't it, because the crowd will not be against the opponent?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ In France we are lucky we have a very good crowd.テつ I really believe that.テつ We don't have a crowd that is against the opponent.テつ We have a crowd that is in favor of our team.テつ We have seen that in the semifinal.テつ It was not Roger playing, of course, but they were not hostile against the Czech players.
But they were supporting our team and they gave them a lot of energy.テつ This is what I expect from the crowd.テつ I'm not expecting the crowd to be against Roger Federer.テつ I'm just counting on a crowd that would be in favor of the French players, and that will give them a lot of energy.
This is sort of fair play and competitive spirit.テつ We don't want the crowd against the opponent.

Q.テつ You watched also the matches of Roger and Stan here in Bercy.テつ What do you think about that?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ There was many matches I had to watch.テつ I couldn't watch them all.テつ I did look a little bit, and I believe Roger was extremely determined in his quest for the No. 1 position and for all the goals he had set for himself.
And Stan played against an extremely good player.テつ Maybe Anderson is not so well known, but he has an extremely high level of game.テつ The match was very long.
Even if Stan lost and was a bit inconsistent at times, it was still a good performance.
Both of them seemed fit and in good condition, and I'm sure they're going to be at their best shape in Lille.
Even if they talk a little bit less about the Davis Cup, I believe they are as involved in this competition as the French players.

Q.テつ Talking about Mika, you know he loves this competition.テつ For you I'm sure it was very difficult not to select him.テつ Is he going to learn about this today, or did you talk about it with him already?テつ How did he react?テつ And the fact that he is going to play a challenger, is it maybe to try to convince you?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ Of course he's not going to hear about this today.テつ We spoke about it several times together already.
I would have liked to see him this week, of course, but it was a bit difficult for me.テつ I have a clear vision of the team right now, and this is what I explained to him.テつ It was tough for him, of course, to hear what I had to say, but I really hope we won't have any problems with the selected players.
But this is why he is continuing his preparation.テつ I didn't need to ask him.テつ So he's going to play the Masters, Edouard with Julien.テつ I asked Edouard and him to continue their preparation.テつ Their season is not finished anyway, so they are preparing just in case.
Of course they do not hope their friends will get injured, but they still are going to be ready.

Q.テつ How is your illness going?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ I'm fine.テつ Don't worry.

Q.テつ So do you have a hidden list in case of an injury or something?テつ Do you know who you're going to call upon if ever there is a serious problem?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ I don't really want to talk about this, but it depends who will get injured, of course.テつ But I don't really want to talk about this.テつ I don't want it to happen, so...

Q.テつ When you talk with your players, among the advice that you give them, what would be the main thing you would give if you had to choose one in order to be successful in this final?
ARNAUD CLEMENT:テつ Same thing that I said in the semifinal.テつ Even if the final is a greater event, it's just to enjoy themselves and to try to be ready at the right moment.
But when the matches are going to start, I will tell them to enjoy themselves and to relax and to get some pleasure from it.

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