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November 5, 2015

Michael Llorda

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Michaėl would like to make an announcement.
MICHAĖL LLODRA: Thank you for coming today. I asked you to come because I would like to make an announcement. The end of my career. I think you suspected that for a while, some of you, at least. That moment has come now for me to retire for several reasons.
First, my elbow has been bothering me for two years now, and I really tried to overcome it. I believed I could play an extra year, but unfortunately the surgery has not worked out or not enough. I am not good enough now to play a whole year.
I have some regrets because I'm always excited by tennis, especially when I come here in this Paris tournament. When I can see the stadium it makes me thrilled.
Of course I could have tried to play a year playing half and half, but if I had decided to leave my family behind, it would have been to play fully committed and play the whole year. I couldn't lie to my partner.
So this is the end of a long career, 15 years. I had great moments, fantastic moments even, and there it is.
But I don't have more serious regrets or tensions just because I'm retiring. I think I'm quite happy looking forward to my new life. I have projects, and the first one, some of you know it already. I have been contacted by Belgium to help them for the Davis Cup final.
This is a very exciting challenge when you know how difficult it is to win that title. I would have preferred to do that last year with the French team, but I have a sort of second chance in a way. I will be part of the team having the trophy.
Of course it's not going to be the same, not as exciting. But I'm quite excited to help my Belgian friends. It will be tough, though, but it's a very nice challenge.
Second thing, this year when I was injured, I was able to think about my future career. I was thinking it might be a good idea to write a book. So that book is going to be published. Some people might have received the draft. It's going to come out in November. It's going to be called Game, Set, and Cash.
Of course this book is not going to tell only nasty things. You can read it. Most of you know me. You know that I always try to speak very honestly. And something else, with my wife we will do a sex tape (laughter). Apparently it's very fashionable nowadays.
Why are you hiding, my dear?
She didn't expect me to say that. That was a joke.
But I was able this year to do a certain number of things. I had an adventure with France Tele and with beIN Sport in Wimbledon, so I was on the other side of the camera.
For many years I was watching you sometimes being a bit distrustful or sometimes being a bit annoyed, but now I understand you better. If I don't forget certain bad things some people did to me, but we‑‑well, me as a player, you as journalists, we had good times, I believe. I have good memories, too. So I don't know where this is going to bring me.
But I hope we will have other moments. Of course not on the court. But in all those years, I created some friendships with some of you, and I hope it's going to continue.
If you have questions, I'm here.

Q. Can you explain exactly what your role will be with the Belgian team? Did you get organized with them already?
MICHAĖL LLODRA: Oh, yes, it's already defined. I have to be there for the whole week of training that we will have before the Davis Cup, and also just the week before the final. I will be there for practice with them.
Of course they will ask me mainly to help them for the doubles that is going to be a determining factor for this tie. And I will also work with David and Steve, because of course I have some experience. I was in four Davis Cup finals, and I was talking about this with Steve. He liked, I think, my analysis of the final where you are under a lot of pressure, but you are able to play and win a final.
So my experience seemed very useful to them. So things came naturally. I met Johan, the captain, and now I have to just get down to work and try to win this trophy.

Q. About your book, of course you are very young, but is it your biography or is it just anecdotes from tournaments?
MICHAĖL LLODRA: Well, this part of my life, of course, I'm explaining. Well, maybe not my past, but my childhood until I made it to the tour, the fact that I founded a family. Before, players used to travel with their families, but nowadays it has become not as easy. And the fact that I was able to live with my children and my family during all my career was not an easy thing to do. There are many anecdotes about it, my life, on the tour, the players.
I'm talking about a bit of everything like doping and the tour itself. 15 years of my career and a bit more, because I'm talking about my childhood, too. I'm going to try to avoid that my daughter reads that book. She's only 12. I would like her to wait a little bit before she reads it. I will try, anyway.
Well, this is a book telling about my life.

Q. So now it's a turning point? Of course you said you still had passion for tennis. When you come here, what are the beautiful memories you keep from here?
MICHAĖL LLODRA: If I have to point out a few images, I will remember my win against Novak in 2010. That's a great memory, because I am from Paris and all my family, my friends, my children were there. It's your best dream come true.
Of course you travel all year round and you don't have this chance of playing in front of your friends and your family, and I was able to do that once in Paris. I have beautiful memories of that.
I won the tournament in doubles. That's also a very good memory.
There were only two tournaments when I was a child: Bercy and Roland Garros. So I immediately understood it was tough, it would be tough to win the French Open. But here in Bercy, the surface was fast, so I thought maybe it might happen.
I was not far in 2010 when I had three match points against Soderling in the semis. I would have needed to beat Gaėl in the final, though.
And in 2012, also I had a chance against Ferrer. So I have good memories here. I beat Del Potro, Davydenko. Many things happened during those matches. There was a real communication with the crowd. It was an electrical atmosphere, and I will always remember this.

Q. About the sex tape... I was wondering if you were still going to play the clubs championships or things like that, some events, because you're not going to be with the Belgian team in Davis Cup forever.
MICHAĖL LLODRA: Well, I'm still able to play tennis. No, I can't be on the main tour. I can play two, three days in a row, and after, the pain is there. I can't serve 100%. I didn't want to play one extra year. That would be too much. I laughed at other players who did that.
Leaving my family meant I was going to play all the way. But as you said, I will play TeamTennis and maybe the Legends Trophy and things like that. I'm not going to be away from the tennis tour. It was a great part of my life, but in the longer term I will continue my adventure with France Tele at the French Open and in the Olympics at Rio.
After that, there will be two or three possibilities for me to work, not always for television. You know, I like wine. I have an activity in that field. So I have other types of activities that I'm thinking about.
Coach? Not really. Well, why not, but being a coach means traveling again. But if it's an interesting project and I feel I can really do something for the player, I will talk about it with my wife.
But for the time being, well, I will just decide on case‑per‑case basis. But I still have many things to do with my sponsors included. I'm very involved with them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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