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November 22, 2014

Julien Benneteau

Arnaud Clement

Richard Gasquet


6‑3, 7‑5, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in English first, please.

Q.テつ At the end of the second set, did you think of doing anything different to try to break up the Swiss rhythm?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ Yes.テつ At the end of the second set to break them, we were very close to break them.テつ I do not think we had to change a lot of things.テつ We just have to put some pieces of the puzzle together.テつ You know, we are very close.
The returns were better.テつ After that they play good at the volley.テつ Our second shot could have been better at this time.テつ We could have returned better at the same time together.テつ This is one of the key also in doubles.
But it was tough to lose this second set because we had the feeling that we really could have won this one.テつ At one set all it could have been different.テつ But it was not like this because they play very, very strong.テつ Yeah, they played very good tennis during the three sets.

Q.テつ Can you tell us what was the thinking about the team's perspective on the decision about who was playing doubles today?テつ How was it decided that you and Richard were going to play today?テつ What was the thinking behind that?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ It was what we decided from the beginning.テつ This is what happened.

Q.テつ Were you surprised to see Roger and Stan out there today?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ No.テつ Yesterday night after the way he played, especially in the third set ‑ Roger ‑ we had the feeling he felt better and better.テつ He was in good shape.テつ If he was in good shape, there were no reasons he won't be on the court today.テつ And this is what happened.

Q.テつ You two have not played doubles together, not very many matches together, especially recently.テつ How do you work on things over a couple weeks of training when it's not your regular partner?テつ What are the challenges?
RICHARD GASQUET:テつ Yeah, it's never easy.テつ We played in Olympic Games.テつ We played many times in tournaments.テつ That is not the reason why we lost.
We tried our best, but is not a reason, because we didn't play so much in the past.

Q.テつ Just to clarify, did you know last night that you were going to be playing today?

Q.テつ Do you know who is playing tomorrow?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ Not yet.テつ We have a good idea who is going to play on tomorrow, of course.

Q.テつ Julien, how decisive do you think this loss was for the tie overall?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ Obviously we knew that doubles, especially in the final, is important.テつ Okay, it's 2‑1 for them.テつ It's not over.テつ We have to regroup, to make everything possible for tomorrow.テつ Like this, tomorrow can be one of the most beautiful days of French tennis.テつ We have to keep this spirit.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in French, please.

Q.テつ Julien, the team we heard about was Richard and Jo.テつ You were saying it is your doubles team that was scheduled for the start.テつ You were ready, not surprised?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ I was ready, and I have been ready for a very long time to play this final.テつ Even when I was playing in the Masters of London, I was thinking about it already.テつ I was preparing myself for that.テつ I often played on the right‑hand side rather than on the left‑hand side where I play with Edouard.テつ I had prepared for that.テつ I knew it was quite possible I would play.

Q.テつ In training we saw Richard and Jo hitting on the same side of the court.
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ We talked yesterday about the times for the training sessions.テつ We didn't maybe practice at the same time.テつ Gael also wanted to hit with me.テつ So that's what we decided together and that's how it happened this morning.

Q.テつ Richard, we didn't feel you were very much at ease volleying.テつ Usually you perform better than that.テつ How do you think you played?
RICHARD GASQUET:テつ I could have played better.テつ I was not able to make the breakpoints I had in the second set.テつ If we would have had a break, of course that doesn't mean we would have won, but we would have been in a better position for winning this second set where we had five breakpoints.
It was on my side and I could have done better on some of them.テつ I had an unlucky return, hitting the tape.テつ I didn't play an exceptional match today and I'm disappointed.テつ I'm disappointed with the match, but the opponents played extremely well.テつ They are extremely strong.テつ They had very good returns.テつ They played very interesting combinations.テつ It was impressive.

Q.テつ Julien, you were saying in the Masters of London you knew already you were playing the doubles.
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ I was preparing for it.テつ I didn't know.

Q.テつ Did you know a long time in advance you would play with Richard?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ I knew if I played, it was more likely I would play with Richard.

Q.テつ Richard, if you play tomorrow, anything is possible?テつ Do you believe it will be tough or, on the contrary, it can give you a new opportunity?
RICHARD GASQUET:テつ Well, playing doubles or singles is different.テつ I'm not happy with this particular match.テつ But after this, I'll have to bounce back.テつ I'll have to do that if I am selected to play tomorrow.

Q.テつ Do you believe Federer is getting better and better and he will be even better tomorrow?
RICHARD GASQUET:テつ I don't know.テつ But he played a very good doubles match today.テつ He was extremely good in all parts of the game, from the baseline, the volley.テつ I'm sure he's going to be even better tomorrow.
But yesterday Gael played extremely well, too.テつ Anyway, Roger played well today.

Q.テつ You didn't play yesterday, but I believe you felt like Arnaud Clement and Jo that the crowd was not really in the mood of a Davis Cup.テつ What about today?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ It was exceptional.テつ They were great.テつ Even when practicing this morning, we felt there was a lot of enthusiasm.テつ When we stepped onto the court, the atmosphere was exceptional.テつ Every time we needed them to be there, they were there.テつ They supported us.
The Swiss made a lot of noise, too, but that's normal because their two players played a very solid match and played well.テつ It's normal their supporters were enthusiastic.
But the French crowd supported us and I hope they will do the same tomorrow.

Q.テつ We heard that maybe Jo was slightly injured with his wrist or forearm.
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ Well, Jo rested today to be extremely fit for his match against Roger tomorrow.テつ You saw that Roger is getting better.テつ Jo is really preparing for a big fight tomorrow.

Q.テつ I'm insisting, Julien, but we saw him cry during the ceremony.テつ He was emotional.テつ Why?テつ Maybe because he couldn't play this doubles match?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ I was not far from crying, too, during the ceremony.テつ The emotion was very high there.テつ In a life, in a career, having 27,000 people singing the national anthem with you is something rare.テつ You can explain those emotions without needing to have explanations such as an injury or something else.テつ I was ready to cry myself.

Q.テつ Richard, still talking about the emotions.テつ Beyond the tennis itself, how did you feel on the court emotionally?テつ It's like things were not coming out of yourself.
RICHARD GASQUET:テつ Well, the first reason for that is because the Swiss players were playing extremely well.テつ I never played a doubles match against opponents that are so strong in all parts of the game.テつ So it was difficult to feel free and relaxed.テつ I was unlucky on some breakpoints, one let, a missed return.テつ Against players like them, you need to be exceptional all the time.テつ Being good is not enough.
It was a very high level they were playing.テつ The emotion was there.テつ The crowd was fabulous.テつ We were very disappointed that we lost the match in straight sets.

Q.テつ Julien, I'd like to know if last night after the disappointment there was a real discussion on whether Jo should play the doubles match to compensate for his loss?テつ How do you assess your performance from a doubles point of view?
JULIEN BENNETEAU:テつ Yes, there was a discussion with the captain, with Jo.テつ The captain talked to me, too.テつ That's how it happened.
From the game point of view, as Richard said, honestly they played extremely solid.テつ Roger served incredibly well.テつ Their second shots were extremely efficient.テつ They made no mistakes.テつ They never made mistakes.テつ They have an exceptional quality of how they hit the ball.
At the net Stan was extremely good.テつ He didn't miss much.テつ We should have returned better.テつ I believe I didn't return well enough.テつ I think I could have done a bit better there.
But, as Richard said, we played against two exceptional servers.テつ Stan serves at 210, 220.テつ Roger is mixing it up a lot.テつ They have various combinations they can do.テつ They were very strong.
In doubles we know things can happen very quickly.テつ The situation can turn around.テつ We tried to do that all the time through the attitude we had.テつ We never let down or let go.テつ If Richard's return didn't hit the tape, the stadium would have gone crazy and the energy would have been different.
On second shots, too, we missed some.テつ We were not able to hit winners.テつ At the end they were a bit better than we were.テつ But they're great tennis players.テつ I can tell you we tried hard.テつ We gave it our all.テつ We are extremely disappointed that we didn't find the key to the match.テつ But it's their fault for the most part.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in English for Captain Clement.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the decisions on the doubles team today, and if that had anything to do with Jo's wrist?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Richard and Julien are a very good team.テつ They play a lot of matches together.テつ Won a medal at London at the Olympics.テつ For me it was a good option.
But today the Swiss team played unbelievable.テつ They played much better than our team.

Q.テつ You have your backs against the wall here.テつ History is not looking so good as far as going into the last day trailing 1‑2.テつ What are you telling your players at this stage of the competition?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Of course it's going to be very, very difficult now, with a lot of hope in these doubles.
We have to do something big, very big.テつ We still have a chance, and we're going to try as hard as possible.テつ It's a big challenge, big challenge for us, to beating No. 2 and 4 in the world in the final of Davis Cup.
But even if we have a little chance, we're going to try.

Q.テつ Any surprise to see Federer today in doubles?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ No, not really.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions in French.

Q.テつ How big is your disappointment right now?テつ Were you expecting a bit more from Gasquet, in particular, because I believe he didn't play as well as he can?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Yes, I am disappointed, and the whole team is disappointed.テつ Last night we were 1‑1.テつ Trying to have 2‑1 for us before the last day would have been a very important advantage.テつ That important advantage is now for the Swiss team.
For me it's always difficult to make a difference between the two players playing the doubles.テつ It's a team performance.テつ But it's true, there are opportunities where they didn't convert.テつ But they were under pressure because of the Swiss players, who were exceptional today.

Q.テつ Before going to bed, Richard and Julien, did they know they were going to play the doubles today?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Oh, yes, they did.

Q.テつ Why didn't they practice together then?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Well, sometimes they have a different schedule.テつ Maybe one would like to get up a bit later than the other.テつ It was not very important to practice together this morning because they had time to work together on their doubles.

Q.テつ What can you say about Jo's physical condition?テつ He didn't play because he needed to rest a little?テつ Of course, he was disappointed after Friday.テつ Does this make you optimistic?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ I'm laughing, but it's just the way you asked the question.テつ I don't want to laugh at you.
I know everybody expected to see Jo playing doubles today, everybody.テつ But Richard and Julien was an interesting option.テつ Jo played four sets.テつ We knew Federer and Stan would play today, and play again Sunday.テつ Of course, it was a good option for him to rest, for him to have a lot of energy for tomorrow.
I know it's going to be very difficult for him tomorrow.テつ The whole team will need a lot of energy.テつ But we will talk about it tonight, as we always do.テつ It's good after each day to see what happened and to talk about the next day.

Q.テつ Why did you have two players who never played in Davis Cup together, this year or previous years, why did you trust Richard and Julien?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Why shouldn't I trust a team which have won many titles and the gold medal in the Olympics?テつ Why shouldn't I trust them?

Q.テつ What we are perceiving is there's a letdown, a lot of energy right now.テつ How are you going to be able to motivate everyone?テつ How are you going to pump them up after what happened?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Nothing is broken.テつ But it is a difficult situation.テつ It's tough to take.テつ I can't lie about that.テつ But my players have very strong personalities.テつ They know exactly where we stand right now.テつ That's not where they wanted to be.
We didn't lose yet.テつ Even if the Swiss team has more chances, we still have a chance, too.テつ As long as we're alive, I know my players will fight till the end.テつ Even if we have fewer chances, we are going to fight the best we can until the last point, until the end of the match.
Honestly, I think we do have a chance.テつ We can believe in it still tonight.テつ I believe the players can beat Federer and Wawrinka in a fair game tomorrow.

Q.テつ Right or wrong, we thought we saw some tension with Richard or Julien.テつ Given this situation, do you think they can be released from this tension?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Well, you know, this is a quality the Swiss players have.テつ They were able to put a lot of pressure on our players.テつ It was true yesterday with the singles, and today in this doubles match.
We are going to continue to fight.テつ It's normal that there is pressure in a Davis Cup tie.テつ They want to do well.テつ They want to win the points.テつ But when you play against players of that caliber, it's tough.
My players are not favorites.テつ In all matches they're not favorites.テつ If they want to win two points, it's now or never tomorrow.

Q.テつ So you're confirming Jo has no pain in his wrist or his arm?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Imagine if there was something, I wouldn't tell you anyway.テつ Of course, I can just say that Jo rested today for some reasons and there will be no problems tomorrow.

Q.テつ What impressed you most in Stan Wawrinka yesterday and today?
CAPTAIN CLEMENT:テつ Yesterday and today?テつ Well, he played two excellent matches.テつ In the Masters the week before he played well, too.テつ We know he can adapt to clay very quickly.
But I was surprised by his level in this doubles match today.テつ Maybe not with his serve, but at the net.テつ Sometimes he misses.テつ But today he was exceptional, like his partner.テつ Both of them created a great energy and they maintained that rhythm from the beginning to the end.テつ I would like to congratulate them for that match, but tomorrow will be another day.

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