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May 25, 2015

Benoit Paire


B. PAIRE/G. Elias
5-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. First victory in five sets here at Roland Garros. How do you feel?
BENOIT PAIRE: I feel very good. I would have preferred winning in three or four sets, but as I said, the most important thing for me today was winning. I walked on the court with Lionel, and we both agreed that playing beautiful tennis was not important. What was important was to win, because I was playing somebody from the quallies. He was used to the court conditions and to the balls. I fought, and I remained aggressive, so I managed to take a break in the fifth. I won. So it's a great satisfaction for me to win here. Any victory is great here, whether in three sets or five sets. I'm happy I can play the second round.

Q. What are you happy about and what are you not happy about today?
BENOIT PAIRE: I'm happy about my behavior. I kept fighting. I never surrendered, although sometimes it was difficult. I thought my shots were not as good as I wanted them to be, but I fought. I never surrendered. I thought, Okay, you're at Roland Garros. You have been injured for eight months last year, so you need to keep on playing. This is what I had to do. I'm so happy. It's a beautiful victory. I'm so happy. I have to play the second round against Fabio.

Q. Do you like playing Fognini? Because he's a special player.
BENOIT PAIRE: Well, it's very exciting to play Fabio. I have a lot of respect for him. I love watching him play. I go and see his matches, because he's such a special character on the court. Do I like playing him? I don't know. I think I would have preferred playing someone else, but that's the draw. I could have played him first round, you know, so it's good at second round. I will do everything I can to win. I love him, but I want to win, and I want to go to the third round. So, yes, he's somebody special, but I'll have to deal with it and play my game and we'll see what happens. I think I won once and he won once, so I'm impatient playing this match, although I need to relax now, because five sets is a tough match.

Q. Do you think you are more crazy than him?
BENOIT PAIRE: I think he's more crazy than I am (smiling). I'm quite crazy myself, but he can be worse. No, this is Roland Garros. This is a Grand Slam. He has excellent results on clay courts this year. He won to Nadal. This is going to be a difficult match. But this is Roland Garros, and I will have the French crowd supporting me. So I hope I can play a bit better than I did today to feel more free, and I hope I can win this match to Fabio so that I can play the third round. It's going to be difficult, but I'm looking forward to it.

Q. How will you prepare to play such a player? You have totally different profiles. So what can you do to be of disturbance to him?
BENOIT PAIRE: Well, although he has a very specific game, I know his basics. He's very good on his forehand. Not that good on his backhand. He's very strong mentally speaking. But his game is quite simple. So I will try to be aggressive. I'll have to come to the net on his backhand, have him play on the backhand as much as I can. So he's a traditional clay-court player, but then he can play dropshots and absolutely wonderful shots, also, and that's what makes him so strong. So I will have to be aggressive and be fit, because I just played five sets and I'm out of practice. I have not been on the court for eight months last year. But I'm confident. I know I can beat him, especially here at Roland Garros.

Q. This could rally lots of the crowd. Would you prefer playing him on a big court or on a small court?
BENOIT PAIRE: I think it's going to be on a big court, because that's kind of a shock, second round shock as a match. Fabio always attracts a big crowd. I am French, so it's going to attract a big crowd. But I want to win, so I will try to do my best to win this match, whether I play on a big or small court. I'm very happy with my first round and I need to enjoy this before I start thinking about the second round.

Q. Are you going to talk with your coach and avoid watching him?
BENOIT PAIRE: Oh, come on. He's just a player. You have seen that during his first round. He played three straight sets. He's just a very good tennis player. I expect a big fight against him, but I'm not thinking, Okay, I'm playing Fabio Fognini. It's going to be a crazy match. All I'm thinking is it's going to be a great and difficult tennis match. So I want to do my best. I need to win this match. Whatever happens on the court, even if he blows a fuse or if I get frustrated, I will have to try and win. This is what I will talk about with my coach. We won't talk about him as a personality. We will talk about his game and talk about my game. Because I want to feel free with my shots.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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