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November 21, 2014

Arnaud Clement

Gael Monfils


G. MONFILS/R. Federer
6‑1, 6‑4, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in French.

Q.テつ Were you surprised by the level of play from Jo and Gael?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ No.テつ You always need to take into account the opponent.テつ Stan played an extremely good match today.テつ He stopped Jo and prevented him from playing his own game.
He was not good enough.テつ But if Stan had played not as good just a little bit, it would have changed totally the outcome.
And Gael played a very high‑quality match.テつ And playing the way he played against Federer, in a Davis Cup final, is an exceptional performance.テつ Gael is able to play at that level.テつ He already proved that in the past.テつ I am sure he will be able to play another great match this weekend.
Anyway, he's at his best level at one of the most important moments of his career.テつ So this is extremely admirable.

Q.テつ Do you believe Jo maybe was a bit affected by the pressure, whereas Gael was able to overcome it?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ You know, each player has his own personality.テつ Jo likes to play with the crowd.テつ He likes to get energy from the crowd.テつ He showed that several times in the past in Davis Cup, the French Open, major tournaments in the world.
My answer will be a follow‑up up to the previous answer.テつ Stan really choked Jo.テつ Because of Stan's level, Jo couldn't really play his game.

Q.テつ Roger seemed to be bothered today, but Gael was able not to think about it and play his own match.テつ As a captain, was it something you told him, just to stay focused on himself?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ When you play against a player like Stan or Roger with that high quality, you know these players have all the shots, so you have to be careful about what they can do, the changes they can make in their game.
Gael was paying a lot of attention to that.テつ He's able to see a lot of things by himself.テつ I was helping him, too, for some details.テつ Gael was able to stay focused on his own strengths, and that was very important.

Q.テつ What instructions did you give to Gael, given the fact that Roger had problems?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ What did you know about Roger?

Q.テつ Well, we knew he had back problems.
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ You know, when you are in this situation, you're going to play against a Swiss team that is in very good shape, Gael went into that match knowing he was going to play a very good Roger Federer.テつ You can't count on the other player not to play as well.テつ That would be a mistake.テつ You really need to be focused on what the other player is doing, adapt to his tactics.テつ This is what Gael did well.
The best way of losing is to just think the other player will not run or will not be able to play.テつ Roger did make some mistakes, yes.テつ Sometimes he made unforced errors.テつ Maybe I'm wrong.テつ But still I believe that Roger was able to move well.テつ We couldn't see any problem with his back in this match.

Q.テつ Does the result of today change your vision for the doubles tomorrow?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Well, there are many parameters to take into account.テつ We are all going to discuss it together afterwards.テつ It's important to see how Jo feels, how the other players feel.
I have my own idea.テつ But after a day like this, it's good to take time, wait a couple of hours so that everything calms down before discussing it.

Q.テつ Do you believe the Swiss are going to play with Roger and Stan?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ I'm almost sure it will be the case.テつ But I might be mistaken.

Q.テつ Earlier Jo was saying he heard the Swiss crowd more than the French crowd.テつ Did you feel that, too?テつ All the Reds were supporting their team?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ It happens often.テつ But the stadium is huge.テつ There are 2,500 or 2,700 supporters officially.テつ I believe there were more than that in the stadium.テつ Of course, they were loud.
But when Gael played, the French crowd started to be louder.テつ This is positive for the next days.テつ I think the players will receive a lot of energy from the crowd, especially tomorrow during the doubles match, and maybe on Sunday, too.
Maybe for the first match they were not loud enough.テつ But, you know, when the sets are played quickly, it's a one‑way match, as it was, during the third and fourth sets it was a bit tough for the crowd to get really involved.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in English for Gael.

Q.テつ Can you give us an idea of what it was like to play in front of such an amazing crowd and against somebody of Roger Federer's caliber?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ To be honest, I was very nervous in the beginning.テつ For sure when Jo lost, it's an extra pressure because we need to get back on the road to win the title.テつ So it was a little bit of pressure.
Then, you know, I think I like that atmosphere, the big court.テつ The crowd was very good.テつ I mean, at the start I asked them to come back very strong because they was pushing Jo.テつ To come back at the beginning of my match was very important, and they did.
They helped me a lot, give me a lot of energy, nerves to try and stuff at the beginning.テつ At the end helped me a lot because I went for my shots, which made me serve big, big forehand.テつ After one, two, three games, it's like, I'm on, so now it's all in.

Q.テつ You played him a lot of times in your career.テつ What do you think helped you the most today in terms of the tactics, in terms of playing him?テつ Was it the US Open match?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ That helped me a lot.テつ Even the Cincinnati match, I played him, lost three sets, very tight.テつ I have a lot of opportunity.テつ Then at U.S. I change my game plan.テつ Was like very close.テつ I was like dominate him I think most of the match.テつ Then maybe I had a little nerves at the end.
But today was a bit the same.テつ I think I'm different player.テつ I think I played much better, have different game plan, and can deliver more aggressive tennis.テつ Definitely helped me today.

Q.テつ How would you rate that performance of all the matches in your career, considering how big the occasion was, the crowd, the opponent?テつ Is that perhaps the biggest win of your career?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ For sure is the biggest of three.テつ That definitely for sure with all this together, definitely one of the top three match in my life.

Q.テつ We've seen how winning big matches in Davis Cup in the past has helped other players become more successful with their own individual careers.テつ Are you hoping a win today can help you become more successful in Grand Slams in the future?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ Well, you know, I think just shows something.テつ I was saying like this year was not too bad for me, two quarters, you know.テつ Just show me that when I'm ready, I can do big stuff.
Is never easy to arrive fresh and play those guys 'cause always, you know, I have maybe two, three five‑setters, four‑setters before.テつ Today I was fresh.テつ I can see if I'm working harder, can win straight sets before, I can make it.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in French, please.

Q.テつ You don't have a coach on the tour.テつ Here in Davis Cup it's different.テつ You work together with the team for a whole week and you have a captain on the side.テつ Is it different?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ Well, anyway, during the year I listen to people who are giving me advice.テつ Here it's the same.テつ We are very free, but at the same time there is a structure around us.テつ Arnaud, Gilles, Jo, everybody gives advice.テつ It's an exchange we have within the team.
It's the same whether it's during the year or not.テつ I think today I was a bit more successful.テつ But in the past tournaments I played, I had a similar level of game, I believe.

Q.テつ You said you were very tense before the match, very nervous.テつ How were you able to overcome this and transform it into positive energy?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ I don't know.テつ Honestly, I don't know.テつ It's tough because I was extremely tense before the match.テつ When I stepped onto the court, I felt the atmosphere.テつ I was a bit lucky on the first two or three points.テつ I just can't really explain what happened after that.
Little by little the pressure went down.テつ Once you're really into the match, you forget about the real pressure you had before and you're into the match.テつ What you have to do is forget the pressure as soon as possible.テつ Sometimes after a whole set you still don't forget about the pressure.
Today I was able to forget about it very soon.

Q.テつ You were talking about the atmosphere.テつ We saw you pushing the crowd and asking them to support you, especially at the end of the match.テつ Was that important for you?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ Yes, it was important.テつ First, honestly, I felt it was bothering him.テつ Secondly, I needed it.テつ I need to do that because we're here to win.
It's rare that we can really push the crowd that way.テつ We never can push a crowd against Roger.テつ Now that we're playing at home, we have to take advantage of this.
It's not easy.テつ Having 27,000 people pushing you when you're serving, it's tough.テつ I believe for Roger it's tough, as well.

Q.テつ Did you feel Roger was not playing 100%, especially in the beginning of the match?テつ Were you able to forget about this?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ It was difficult.テつ I didn't really look at him.テつ Even Roger more than any other player, if he comes to play the match, it means he can beat me.
He didn't go to the final in the Masters.テつ If he decided to play this match, he was thinking that he could win.テつ I saw in the beginning, I was looking at the radar, he was serving at 200 kilometers an hour.
We all had physical problems.テつ In Montpellier, my back was stuck, I couldn't play in the beginning.テつ I ended up winning the tournament.テつ Roger is stronger than I am.テつ Even if he got hurt, he was able to rest.テつ If he feels he's able to play, it means he thinks he can win.
Maybe in the beginning I was lucky because maybe in the beginning of the match he wasn't feeling the ball that well.テつ But I don't think it had anything to do with his injury.テつ It's just that he didn't play for five days.テつ He was also under pressure.テつ But after that it was extremely tough for me and I played well.テつ I didn't let him come back into the match.テつ So I don't really know if he was not 100%.

Q.テつ If you're playing a live rubber this weekend again, you will be playing for the victory.
GAEL MONFILS:テつ I don't want to be in that situation at all, for several reasons.テつ First, I want us to win 3‑1.テつ Secondly, very simply, the guys, we are aiming for the same goal.テつ I'm sure they are all going to be ready for the doubles.テつ Those who are going to play on Sunday, if we win the doubles, I hope will close out the tie with the first match on Sunday.

Q.テつ Are there chances of seeing you playing the doubles tomorrow?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ First we have to talk with the captain.テつ Maybe not.テつ I think we're going to talk about it.テつ Honestly, I don't really think I have a chance.テつ But you never know.テつ You never know.

Q.テつ You were saying in English that this victory was among your top three victories.テつ What did you like in your game today, apart from the fact you were playing Roger?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ Well, it was not specifically the level of my tennis, but it's a final, it's in France, and it's against Roger.テつ That's why.テつ I was able to play well and give a good performance.テつ I played very well from beginning to end.テつ It's not purely tennis.テつ It's the context, the overall situation.
I was able immediately to be into the match.テつ It clicked.テつ Against him, it was even better.テつ When you play in France in the final of Davis Cup, it was a great match.

Q.テつ So the other two matches in the top three?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ The first time I beat my father.テつ It's bizarre, but my very best match is a match I lost.テつ It was in 2004 against Lleyton Hewitt in Bercy.テつ I had lost 6‑3, 7‑6.テつ But for me it's the best match of my career because of the memory of it, because of the atmosphere.
Of course, my level of tennis was not as good as today, but it's really my best memory.

Q.テつ A few weeks ago you made a decision that you would play Bercy.テつ Was it a good decision?
GAEL MONFILS:テつ I don't know.テつ I have no idea.テつ But it was positive that I played.テつ I think it was a good decision.テつ It's easier to say that.

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