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April 17, 2016

Gael Monfils

Monte Carlo, Monaco

R. NADAL/G. Monfils

7-5, 5-7, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. This match was incredible. What do you think? What was lacking for you today?
GAEL MONFILS: What was lacking? Well, a few details. Today it was cloudy and it was more difficult to serve hard. I knew this would mean more rallies for his benefit, which means I would have fewer free points with my serve.

When you play Rafa on clay, and you have to play rallies, it is more difficult physically. In a way, it didn't help me. But in another way, it did help me.

Free points on my serve would have helped me because mentally having first serves go in, it's encouraging for me. He was returning very well today. He was standing back and returning, so it was tougher for me.

But in the third set, in the second game where I got broken, I was a bit nervous because I often have trouble beginning the sets. I'm watching the opponent.

He was playing well. But I thought, Okay, physically you're a bit tired. But I knew I had the resources for pushing him a bit more.

From that moment on, I believe he played with more intensity. He changed his game plan a little. So maybe the 5% or 10% that I didn't have anymore made it tough for me. He was playing more to my forehand because he was feeling my movements were not as good, and I had trouble putting the ball cross-court. He was playing shorter.

At 3-Love, he converted his break, played well. After that, he was really confident. I could see that he was controlling the game.

The match point says it all. I knew he was confident. He's a great champion. He put more into it at the right moments.

Q. After the first brilliant two sets, we thought the third might be a fight, too. Were you impressed?
GAEL MONFILS: No, I'm not impressed. You're not impressed. You're just submissive to his power. Suddenly in the third set he increased his power and accelerated and you just don't cope.

You feel good. But when the other player is the best, you have to recognize it. Of course, you can see the score, 6-Love. He was a lot better. He was relaxed, hitting hard. I felt he was really in control. He felt good. He was hitting harder.

He had his prey. All the more so that it was a final. For me it was tougher, of course. Congratulations to him.

Q. You managed that match incredibly well for a while. Do you have hopes now that you can beat him on clay?
GAEL MONFILS: You believe I can't beat him on clay?

Q. Of course, I do.
GAEL MONFILS: No, no, I'm just asking.

If I was in his shoes, up 4-Love with two breaks, I would also, as he did, be able to hit hard and hit winners.

Q. Although you lost, you were fighting against him on an equal footing for two hours and more. Yesterday Murray only sustained the pace for a bit more than one hour. Does this give you more confidence or more satisfaction? Secondly, on your serve, you lost more points than you won, 49% won on your serve.
GAEL MONFILS: I'm going to start with the end.

As I said, the conditions were heavier today. It was tougher to hit big first serves. It was tougher also to open up the court. The effects on the ball were not as obvious. Rafa covers the court well. So I was losing a lot of energy forcing it out. It was not easy.

So when you start the point at 50/50, it's difficult. Well, sometimes it's not even that because the ball is so lifted with topspin that you are already overwhelmed.

But you need to take the conditions as they are, you can't change them. I didn't like the weather too much. But anything can happen.

I thought if the two sets are tight and I can pull it out in the first set, anything can happen. In the first set, at 6-5, I didn't play that well, that game. I thought I could do more. There was the second serve let.

What I regret is when he accelerated, I was not able to slow him down. I wasn't able to find something to give him trouble. He was playing faster and I was not feeling as good. I was not able to come up with an answer. He proposed something different, and I didn't find a solution.

When I was down 3-Love, double break, with a champion like him, he was in control. It was too difficult for me. Physically he abused me, so it was partly physical. When he started hitting hard down the line, I had to chip the ball, whereas previously I was able to hit a good forehand in those cases. So he was very good.

6-Love is a bad score, but I had an opponent that became a lot stronger suddenly.

Q. Can you assess the week. It's a good tournament for you. It didn't used to be that good a tournament for you.
GAEL MONFILS: Well, as I say every time, I'm feeling good. I'm not trying to assess the tournaments here and there. I just want to continue the work I'm doing, which is good work. I'm trying to improve my intensity in the tournaments match after match. I try to play better and develop better tennis. I even try also to feel better.

Today, unless I'm mistaken, I believe this final was a beautiful final. It was a high level of tennis. That's good.

So I'm taking those matches under my belt. I'm drawing the lessons. I'm continuing to learn. In two weeks I'm hoping to be better. In three weeks, too, and be better for the French Open. I'm not thinking about the French Open right now. As I've always said, I want to continue improving and winning a title. I want to win a big title. A big title could have been here already.

I'm far, but I'm not that far. I'm going to practice well because I want to go to Madrid being ready for all that. And in Rome, too. After that, the French Open is a dream. It's my dream.

To go into the tournament feeling good physically, mentally, having won matches, maybe a title. So what I was saying was to thank them. The other players are very tough, but we will succeed, we believe, and we are never going to let go.

So two days from now we are going back to work.

Q. Did you change your schedule after this week?
GAEL MONFILS: We are going to talk about it. We'll see how I am going to recuperate. This is important. I need to know how my body is going to react. We'll see tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow evening, after traveling, I'll see how I feel.

As I said, I have little problems, not too serious.

Munich is a tournament I like. The clay is heavy. It's one tournament I could win. Well, we'll see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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