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June 6, 2015

Tommy Paul


T. PAUL/T. Fritz
7‑6, 2‑6, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English.

Q.  How does it feel?
TOMMY PAUL:  I mean, it feels great.  Feels great to be French Open champion, especially when you play an American in the finals.
It was amazing.

Q.  Tied first set, and second looked like you were struggling with a leg or foot injury or something.  Something was going on.
TOMMY PAUL:  Well, in the second set I was a little tired, so I was, like, Okay, let's try and save a little energy for the third.
After I got down a break, it's really tough to break Taylor back, obviously.  Pretty massive serve.
So I was like, All right, I'm going to probably go down this set and then try and put all I have into the final set.

Q.  You have had some pretty great results on clay these last few weeks.  I think two wins in futures and one final, am I right?
TOMMY PAUL:  One semi; two wins and a semi.

Q.  And then here, obviously, a win.  Why do you think you're having that streak?  Is that like the best streak you can remember in recent times?
TOMMY PAUL:  I would say it was the best streak I have had.
And why?  I don't know.  I have always liked clay my whole life, so coming out here on the red clay, it's great.  I like it a lot for my game.

Q.  Talk a little bit about obviously no hard feelings.  You guys were complimenting each other during the match, and then you guys were sitting and waiting for the awards ceremony laughing.  I don't know what you were talking about.  Obviously the flag and all that.  I mean, it seems like you guys were pretty good friends.
TOMMY PAUL:  I mean, yeah, I remember when he first came to USTA where I trained like two years ago, and he was, like, a little behind our level.
Then recently he just completely shot up in the past like year.  He's just playing a lot better tennis.  We were talking about how much better he's gotten on the clay in the past year.  He's starting to like it so much more and play a lot better on it.
I'm happy for him.

Q.  Do you think some of today was a factor that you have had a little bit more experience and been more involved fully than he has been until recently?
TOMMY PAUL:  Involved for what?

Q.  Well, like, he went to regular school and his parents helped him and that kind of stuff, where you have been more focused on your tennis.
TOMMY PAUL:  Yeah, I mean, I really can't say about that.  Like, I don't know.  I'm not sure.

Q.  Doubles today; you could have a big day today.  Talk a little bit about that.
TOMMY PAUL:  Obviously very excited to be in the finals of doubles, also, playing with one of my best friends, Will Blomberg.  (Ph)  Should be fun.
Hopefully we can get a lot of energy going and try and win doubles, too.  That would be awesome.

Q.  We don't know you that much, so can you tell me more about you or where you come from with your coach and where you train?
TOMMY PAUL:  Yeah.  Originally I'm from North Carolina, and then I moved down to USTA in Boca Raton.  Florida.  Been working with Diego Moyano, my coach.  It's Diego Moyano and he works with me, Reilly Opelka, Rybo, Alex Rybarikov.  That's pretty much it.
My parents just moved up to New Jersey, South Jersey.

Q.  How long have you been down in Boca?  Since when?
TOMMY PAUL:  It's been like four years.  Pretty much, yeah, around four years.

Q.  We haven't had a ton of success on the clay, American tennis, and there have been a few winners here through the years, but can you talk about sort of, you know, carrying that forward and, you know, having two Americans in the final, what that kind of means?
TOMMY PAUL:  I mean, everyone says that U.S. tennis is bad on clay.  I would have to disagree.  Right now I think that obviously we're doing pretty well on the clay.  We had two people in the finals, and Bjorn Fratangelo.  I think he won it in 2011, so obviously we are not bad on clay.  We are only getting better, I think.

Q.  Do you consider it your best surface?
TOMMY PAUL:  Yeah.  I mean, I haven't really played on grass, but like I would think this is my best surface, yeah.

Q.  They have been playing this event since 1947.  We have had only five American finalists.  Among them, John McEnroe in '77, so you have joined a big name there.

Q.  But it's still not a great representation.  You must be pretty proud of what you have done.
TOMMY PAUL:  Yes, since I was little this is like the dream, like to play the French Open.  I mean, obviously it's the juniors and I have a dream about playing pros, but juniors will definitely work.

Q.  When did you first start to like clay?  Obviously American attitudes towards it have been pretty negative in the past.  Is it something you have always liked or something you grew to like?
TOMMY PAUL:  When I first started playing tennis, I grew up just playing on clay.  The place I trained at only had clay courts, so I only practiced on clay.  I got used to it fast.

Q.  In North Carolina?

Q.  Where?
TOMMY PAUL:  Greenville.

Q.  Was always natural you did all the sliding and everything like that?

Q.  There has been obviously a drought in American male pro tennis.  Does this give some hope for the future, and also that they won juniors last year at Wimbledon, too, an American.
TOMMY PAUL:  Yeah, I can't really say, well, like, what it's going to do for pro tennis, but hopefully I think that we are going to start doing a lot better in pros.  I hope we do.  (Smiling.)

Q.  Are you a pro now?  What's your status?
TOMMY PAUL:  I'm not a pro right now.  I verbally committed to Georgia, but I'm not sure yet to see what I'm going to do.

Q.  Talk a little bit about just ‑‑I mean, obviously this is a Grand Slam, but the difference like between the juniors, which I think this is your first junior event of the year, and playing the pro circuit.
TOMMY PAUL:  Pro circuit is definitely a lot different.  I haven't played too many ‑‑I have only been playing like futures and a couple of challengers, but the level ‑‑I mean, it's pretty high in both.
Some futures‑‑ I mean, I would just say the difference is the futures are a little bit deeper, I would say.  Like the level is a little bit higher like all the way through the tournament.

Q.  Your celebration when you won was pretty subdued; it was fairly calm for just winning a Grand Slam.  I mean, was that just out of respect for Taylor, being friends with him or...
TOMMY PAUL:  Yeah, I don't think I'm one to like go crazy on the court.  I never really have been.  I just try to stay normal, not overreact, I guess, too much.

Q.  Who are your idols?  Who did you look up to in the game from when you were younger?
TOMMY PAUL:  It's hard not to look up to Roger Federer.  He's like the perfect role model when you play tennis.  I would say him.

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