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May 29, 2015

Gael Monfils


G. MONFILS/P. Cuevas
4-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. You were almost out of it and now you're here as a winner. How did you manage to do that?
GAËL MONFILS: As I say always, Paris is different, is magic. So I'm here. I don't know how, but I'm here. And as I say, you know, at the beginning, the guy who will beat me has to be very strong and it's gonna be very, very, very tough for him. And also, you know, always say that, you know, against Schwartzman, I shake the hand of my opponent, is the hand, and today was the opposite. But, you know, everything can happen here. Everything can -- I mean, can happen. But, you know, I think I can show some new emotion, I can show some tennis, I can show some side of me I don't even know also. I think the crowd just bring me something, something else, and I think it just showed a bit more today.

Q. You now have a French Open record. I don't know if you know, but you're one of only two people to win ten five-set matches at the French Open. How does it feel to have a record like that?
GAËL MONFILS: I'm lucky, I guess. For me, as I say, you know, if I could win in three sets, it would be much better.

Q. Your next opponent is Federer. He told us earlier that for some reason you always play him very tough, especially in the last four, five years. How do you explain being able to trouble Roger like that? What do you do and how do you feel about the next match?
GAËL MONFILS: Honestly, I don't know. Is like, I just play my game. You know, somehow sometime, because some matches Roger kill me. Somehow I just maybe find a couple stuff, you know, in my game, to put him in trouble and to actually move him -- I think Roger is very comfortable on couple of shots or couple, you know, area that I try to manage to put him out of this comfort zone. And then also I try, you know, to find a rhythm also with Roger that I'm happy with, because Roger always wants to dictate the match the way he wants, the way he make you wait or speed up the match, the way he will select his shot. And me, I really try to change out of him, and sometime Roger get pissed a little bit. And also, whether I will -- and I know he will respect it, but when he's good -- actually, when I saw it the most it was in US Open, you know, Roger was very unhappy when the crowd is not behind him. And that will help me a lot, for sure (smiling).

Q. So if I say the crowd resurrected you today, would you agree with that?
GAËL MONFILS: Always agree with the crowd (smiling). (In French.) I did not understand a word.

THE MODERATOR: Repeat the question.

Q. I asked you if I say the crowd resurrected you today, would you agree with that?
GAËL MONFILS: Is one word I don't understand.

Q. Resurrected?
GAËL MONFILS: I'm a phoenix (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Did you still believe you could win? How did you turn this match around? It was incredible.
GAËL MONFILS: Well, honestly, at 4-1 -- well, here I don't want to lose -- but at 4-1, I thought, okay, play it one point at a time. And I thought, okay, if I manage and turn around just one break, then maybe Pablo is going to start thinking about it, be destabilized mentally. He was not as strong as he was before. So there's this first point. And for the second point, if you can remember, there was this rally and he played this forehand. I thought, okay, there's something I can do here. I started focusing on that, and the crowd pushed me and they were behind me, and at 4-All it was crazy. Actually, it was crazy the whole set long. I really was focusing on very simple things. I felt it was 4-1, but like 4-1 for me. Looking at the way he played, he was taking less time. You know, there are things that you can feel sometimes. And it happens to me, as well, as a player, when you feel that the other guy on the other side is not losing anymore, is not missing his shots anymore. And that's kind of a pain in the neck. I know him, and I thought, okay, he is feeling I cannot miss anymore. It's going to piss him off, so I started playing stronger and it went fine.

Q. On Twitter there was this American journalist who said you were a "must" during these first weeks of Grand Slams, because sometimes we can be pretty bored with some matches, but you give us a lot of emotion. But don't you fear that all this energy you use this week is going to damage your ambitions for next week?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, obviously it's not going to help me, but then, I think it's a bit easier because I played very good players. Maybe not as famous as they should be, Schwartzman was playing very good, and Cuevas is not all that famous, but he was close to winning to Rafa this year on clay. You also need to give credit to my opponents. So you may be thinking I'm giving a lot of energy, but that's because the guys in front of me require that. Cuevas' quality of shots today in the beginning, he was dominating the match, and you have -- then you give everything, because you want to win because this is Roland Garros, and you really want to win. As I said, Roland Garros is something totally different. I may be tired, but I can't even feel it. There is so much adrenaline that if it prevents me from doing something, that will come later.

Q. At 4-1, you wore this costume of Superman, so to speak. Isn't there a moment when you think, okay, if this match is lost, then no pressure, and then you started playing better? And he was more nervous, as well, but you were nervous in the beginning.
GAËL MONFILS: Nervous? You think I'm nervous, but it's just because the other guy plays very well. Each time I was trying something he would play a winner. He would never let me play better. They all play me on the backhand, and they know my backhand is not my best shot. He plays well. Obviously in the beginning, it's not good for me. I don't have good leg control. I can't play my game. The guy plays well, so it's easy for you to say I'm nervous. Then at 4-1, okay, feeling less pressure. I think I was just being very robust, and I tried to think I was playing against the wind at that time, and I said, Okay, I'm going to play with more power to have longer balls, longer shots. But I didn't drop any bombs at all. 4-1, I thought, okay, you don't want to make any mistakes anymore. I was thinking, okay, if I have lost, I won't make any other mistakes.

Q. You have already lived many emotions. Were these emotions today special?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, all matches are different. Maybe it's different because I'm older. I have matured. It's been a long time since I last fought such long matches here in Paris. It's been a long time since I came back to win after my opponent leading two sets Love. Of course it was different. But I also had other very tough matches here.

Q. When Roger saw you defeating Cuevas, he was pretty happy?
GAËL MONFILS: You need to ask him this question.

Q. So you're going to play Roger, whom you have defeated twice on clay. Roger was telling us that he would put the Davis Cup match aside because he was injured and he didn't want to hurt himself. What would be your reference, the Davis Cup or more recent matches you played against him?
GAËL MONFILS: Well, I won't take any reference. I'll focus on myself, the way I will start the match, the way I will dictate my game, the way I will dictate the answers, because Roger asks many questions, and I have to find many answers. If I can ask questions to Roger, then it means well in my match. So here in Paris, he has always defeated me, so he has an advantage. But each match is different. The only thing I would like to happen is for the court not to be too windy. It would be good for me.

Q. There is one guy who stayed seven hours to watch you play.
GAËL MONFILS: He's dead now (laughter).

Q. No, but will you talk to Gilles for him to have a day off?
GAËL MONFILS: This is the first thing I told him when I walked out of the court. And he said, Fuck, Gaël, if you continue like this I will be dead in two years' time. But honestly, I think he loves it. He was so happy. He was so proud. When Gilles came out winning, he was so happy. And then he came to me, and he was so motivated. I think he will be here at 10:00 tomorrow morning, ready to support us.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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