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May 27, 2015

Nicolas Mahut


N. MAHUT/E. Gulbis
6-3, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. When you played Gulbis, did you figure you could make it and there was an opportunity for you?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Yeah. I think it's better to play him now versus last year when he had just won Nice. With Gulbis, you never know what you're going to get. He hasn't had that many victories. But I'm interested in what he does on my day, on the day of my match with him. He can play very good first round, a very poor second round or the other way around. So I didn't really focus on his play. He is very unpredictable. So I focused on myself instead.

Q. So are you surprised about your own level? Given your earlier season, what was your state of mind when you arrived?
NICOLAS MAHUT: I'm very happy. I'm very satisfied, because I did what I said I was going to do. Remember, this is exactly what I said after the first round, what can happen on clay. I think the first game is a great example. I went, I did two passing shots, one lob. And in previous years I would not have done this or I would have given up. This time I said, Okay, I'm going to continue doing this. If I don't have 6-2, 6-2, I'm going to go to the net. Of course, you don't want to be stupid. But just not giving up, not panicking, allowed me to stay and break immediately after and take the lead. That's what I'm proud of. That's how I played. I trained a lot. I didn't play in a lot of tournaments, but I hit thousands of balls. I served. I think I did more than 1500 serves over the past month. So this is really what explains it. Again, I felt quite confident thanks to the hard training.

Q. 59 times you went to the net, 34 points. It's quite impressive.
NICOLAS MAHUT: Yeah. I don't know. And I have made attempts where I didn't necessarily win the point, but I put pressure on him. I don't know if that's included in your statistics. Sometimes I had the intention of going to the net, but he made a fault. Sometimes maybe he was waiting for me to come up to the net and I didn't. And that's why, for example, the match point, I tried to serve/volley on the second ball, which is not what I had done before. I think being unpredictable made a difference today for me.

Q. At the beginning of the fourth set, you want the court to stay dry, to the maintenance people?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Well, I know the maintenance people very well, we are here all the time. Maybe that's a privilege, being French, playing at Roland Garros. I didn't want the clay to be too heavy. I think I felt good, especially the returns. Of course, when he serves at 220, it's difficult. But stepping back one meter allowed me to return pretty much every single time, and I didn't want the clay to be too slow. So they were very kind to me.

Q. We saw your coach told you not to go into his game play and not to give in to provocation. Was that what you tried to do, not fall in his trap?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Yes. When you play Ernests, that's exactly what you have to do. Then when he starts talking to the umpire, to the public, that's a way for him, his way to stay focused and stay in his match. Okay, he broke a racquet, but it's difficult, you know. I thought he was going to serve, and then he starts talking to the birds, to the umpire, or who knows? So that's Gulbis. At the end he shook my hand. He said, Nothing against you, nothing personal. We know each other very well. No problems. That's the way he is. Nicolas was right in telling me that I have to stay focused. That's what I did. Sometimes it doesn't take much to get out of focus, and then you put yourself in danger.

Q. How do you see your next match, a very different opponent, Gilles Simon? What are your expectations?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Well, I am going to be very careful because he analyzes everything. If I say something, he's going to hear it. If I say I'm going to be aggressive, he's going to keep that in mind. He has a very good idea of how I play, and maybe I'm going to play completely differently to disrupt him, to be as disruptive as possible. I don't know. I have a little bit of time now to think about it. The only bad news of the day, I guess, bad news, is I have to play again tomorrow, doubles. So I hope we will not spend too much time on the court. When I play Gilles, I know I have to be there. I know I have to run a lot. I'm prepared for that. I know that physically I can do it, but I don't want to waste too much energy tomorrow playing doubles.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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