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May 25, 2015

Gilles Simon


G. SIMON/L. Pouille
3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Tell us about the match. How did you feel physically? You were able to reestablish things after the first set.
GILLES SIMON: Things went well for me today. It could have been a lot worse. Lucas came in very strong with his well-known game play. You know, he was very focused and really started very strong. He sent me a strong message in the first set. The message was that I had to play better. I got the message, and I think I was at 0-40. That's when the momentum changed, completely changed. I had some good serves, which hasn't always happened. As I changed my serve and was able to better manage the court and really counter play more efficiently, and I was also just able to just stay relaxed until the end.

Q. Physically how is your back and neck? Things back to normal?
GILLES SIMON: So far, so good. I had a few small worries at the beginning of the match, but once again, he was playing well. I was not hitting strong enough. So I decided to hit harder, and my serves and my forehand, and it worked. It's a good thing.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your next match against Klizan? He has prepared very well on clay, he won in Casablanca, semifinals in Barcelona. Do you think he can be a dangerous player?
GILLES SIMON: I didn't know he won. I was very focused on the first round. Klizan. Let's see. I have known him for a while, but I think we played only once. I think it was a painful match. It was on hard surface, and he was cramping. So that's how I won. He's a very good player. He has multiple weapons, and he's quite surprising. Sometimes he really attacks. Sometimes he's a great defender. He's not always very consistent and steady. I think I want to play the same way I played today. I will be focused on what I have to do, and I will do the job and really play in a relaxed way.

Q. Coming back to your back, you had some pain in the first set?
GILLES SIMON: It's over, and I'm really sick and tired of having that question over and over. I hear it 15 times a day. So after 15 times it gets on my nerves. If you see me on the court, it's because I have decided I'm in good shape to be there. If I consider I shouldn't be there, well, then you don't see me on the court. I think things will get better if I manage to stay relaxed.

Q. Noah is helping Pouille. What do you think about that?
GILLES SIMON: Is that a serious question? What am I supposed to say? Am I supposed to be inspired?

Q. We have talked about it extensively. There has been a lot of talking, the Davis Cup. There have been some troubles with other players.
GILLES SIMON: I think it's very good to have Yannick back involved with tennis. And if he can support one of our best young players, great. I'm not here to judge what people are doing and people's work.

Q. Do you think he's really going to work more with him?
GILLES SIMON: I have always said I hope so. When I see, you know, what people do in Spain. Some are No. 1 and they support people. They are very close and they are there to pass on to the next generation. I think that Yannick has a lot to pass on to the next generations.

Q. You like to analyze games and matches. What do you think about Lucas' play currently?
GILLES SIMON: I think his tennis play is very solid. When he starts a match, he comes in very strong. He is very determined, knows exactly what he wants to do and where he wants to get. He tries to do the job. Very much like Roger. Similar type of player. So sometimes there are a few things missing, you know. He is 10 years younger than I am, so I think he has room for improvement, and I don't see -- I think the sky is the limit for him.

Q. What do you think about Gaël this year? We hear all kinds of things. One day things are going well. The next day he doesn't know. You know, typical Gaël. What do you think? You know him.
GILLES SIMON: I have no concerns for Gaël. Sometimes I am a little bit, but generally I'm not. Is he good? Is he really good? He's good. If he's too good, it's not good. He's good, he's just good the way he should be. And of course, we all have doubts, but that's good, that keeps you focused.

Q. About Djokovic. Djokovic is always seeking to get the support of the public. Is he a player you like to see play? And what do you think he needs to become as popular as a player like Nadal or Federer?
GILLES SIMON: Do you want me to be his PR manager? Do I like to see him play? Yes. Yes. I think I don't know anyone who doesn't like to see Djokovic play. The guy has great qualities. But his style is not the one of Roger and Rafa. They are just not the same. If Roger -- you know, they came first, and Djoko came in a little later. I think all he has to do is to keep hitting hard the way he's been doing it for a while now, you know, beating the others. He came in a little later, but who knows? He may be the last one to survive. You know, once the others are gone, he may still be around, and that's maybe when things changed and he gets the popularity.

Q. Second question which has nothing to do -- I'm here for Gilles Muller from Luxembourg. I'm working on a paper. I'm trying to understand how other players see him. How do you consider him?
GILLES SIMON: We have a little thing going on between the two of us. He's the small one; I'm the big one. More seriously, what do I think about him? I have known him for a long time. We are only one year difference in terms of age. I think he's a very good player. He plays very well. He's not always been there. I defeated him miraculously in Tokyo. I think he does a lot of great things, and most importantly, he's a guy I get along with very well. We have played, you know, as part of the same teams together. I have been quite happy for him. His most recent seasons have been very good.

Q. Going back to Lucas, are the younger players looking for advice from the more experienced player like you, Richard Gasquet. Are you interested in giving advice?
GILLES SIMON: I am interested in giving advice. The thing is I'm still a player, so I'm not going to tell him what to do to win. I think it makes more sense to give advice once you have finished your career. I think Lucas is clearly seeking advice, interested in getting advice. People like Lucas, Pierre-Hugues, I'm interested in working with them maybe because we have a bigger age difference. I'm more interested in, you know, the other players my age. I have known them and played them a lot, so I'm interested in the younger ones, as well, and you're right, the younger players are willing to get advice. I remember when I arrived on the tour, maybe I was a little more shy and not always prepared to seek advice. My impression when I arrived was advice would come to me, and I was kind of waiting for advice to come. Maybe they were thinking that I was supposed to ask for advice first. So I think it didn't always go very well. But I hope the younger generations will do a better job.
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