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April 11, 2016

Gael Monfils

Monte Carlo, Monaco

G. MONFILS/G. Muller

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. The beginning of the match was a bit tough and you were able to change it around quite easily. Did you believe you were going to lose that first set?
GAEL MONFILS: No. People were talking about my playing two different matches, but it's not true. In the beginning, it was quite tough to serve because of the sun and I was not returning well. It was difficult for me to return higher. Little by little I was able to return better and to hit it a bit higher.

It was just a break down, 5-2, one break on clay. Of course, on hard courts it would have been more complicated. But on clay... He made two double-faults.

So during that first set I didn't return well, but I was able to improve. I believe I played quite well. Little by little I was able to get used to the court and I was able to play a bit higher, not always deep enough, but I was able to find the right angles to make him move. He was not running too well on clay, I thought.

I played a solid match. It was not a great match, but it was a solid game.

Q. The fact that you played Davis Cup on clay, did it help you?
GAEL MONFILS: I don't really know. Here I had the feeling I was starting from scratch again.

Q. But it was not long ago. You didn't have some habits?
GAEL MONFILS: Well, I believe it might have helped a little bit. But the conditions here are different. They're quite fast, a lot faster than last year. And the weather is nice, so it's faster. It's different.

Q. Gilles Simon said it took him a lot of time to get used to clay. How is it for you?
GAEL MONFILS: Well, yes, it's a bit different on clay. In the beginning, I was standing very close to the baseline, which I do normally on hard courts. Every time it's difficult for me to accept that I have to step back. Of course, I can't be too far back, so I need to adapt. It's not always easy.

Q. That court was not always lucky for you, but you're doing better and better.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, that's true. I didn't have much luck here before. But today I feel well.

Last year it was like a miracle. We'll see what I will do this year.

Q. Why are you saying it was 'a miracle' last year?
GAEL MONFILS: Well, I played well last year, but it was the first time in nine years. It's like in Marseille: I made it to the finals, but I never played well there before. So it was a miracle, too.

So if I'm able to reach the semifinals on a regular basis, it would be good for me.

Q. Maybe it's because those two tournaments are in the beginning of the season.
GAEL MONFILS: No, it has nothing to do with that.

Q. But the fact you didn't play well, is it on your mind?
GAEL MONFILS: I'm not thinking about that. I'm just playing. Of course, last year I didn't play badly. But this year I came here thinking I would do things differently.

Q. Federer stayed away for a long time. Do you think he will find it difficult to adapt?

Q. That it's going to be tough for him to come back.
GAEL MONFILS: I'm not worried for Roger. No worries.

Q. This is the best first quarter of the year you ever had. Is it like at school, when you start well, you finish well?
GAEL MONFILS: I'm not thinking about school. In school, it was different. I was very good in sports, but for the rest I was quite average. But I never think about those things. I'm just focusing on my work, not taking stock.

Anyway, I will not look at what you're going to write. The important thing for me is to play well, to win matches, and to try to win a tournament. Whatever you write, it's not that I don't care, I will look at that sometimes, not always.

Q. But you're happy with the beginning of this year compared to a bad year last year?
GAEL MONFILS: Yes, I believe last year was a very poor season. As I said, now I want to win matches. I want to win titles, a big title. In Bercy we'll meet and take stock - or in London.

Q. You are ambitious.
GAEL MONFILS: We never know.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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