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May 27, 2016

Guy Forget

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. I guess with Roger pulling out before the tournament and now Rafa, can you just give us your thoughts on how big of a blow this is for the tournament?
GUY FORGET: Well, you know, first of all, my thoughts and all the people from the organization, the French Federation, goes to Rafa in the first place, because, you know, he's our biggest champion here. He won the tournament nine times. He has always made a priority to play our event.

He said that it was his favorite tournament in his career and the most important one, and for him to actually withdraw from the tournament at this stage where he has already started to play, we know it's a very painful decision.

I think he could have played tomorrow. We have heard him. He couldn't compete at this level all the way to the end. If he was going to do so, he was going to take the biggest risk of snapping his tendon. Of course being a player I know it's not something you want to do.

As much as he wanted to go on court, and I know he wanted to try tomorrow, his doctor just told him, Don't do it. Rafa is a very passionate man. He plays with passion. That's why people love him all around the world. You know, so it is a painful decision for him to withdraw.

You know, my thoughts go to him, and I hope he is going to recover really quickly, because I think the game needs him. Hopefully he will be able to compete at Wimbledon. You know, hopefully he can be 100%. My first reaction is first of all to go to his health. We hope to see him back on his feet very quickly. Because he was playing better and better in the last few months, and that was very good news.

Now getting back to the tournament, the tournament goes on. He was going to play probably Novak in the semifinals, so one of those two was going to be in the finals. It opens up the draw for some players. Maybe some players will take advantage of the situation. These things happen sometimes once in a lifetime, and I think whoever will lift the trophy on Sunday the 5th will be a great champion.

So, you know, good luck to the other players. I think the tournament will be just as big. We are just very sad right now for Rafa.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. How do you feel about Rafa retiring?
GUY FORGET: Well, as I just said, I'm extremely sad. I think you all know we are very close with Rafa. We love him dearly. He is one of our biggest champions ever. He certainly is the biggest one here at the French Open.

The fact he's pulling out is very painful. He was willing to play tomorrow. He didn't want to make this announcement, but the people around him, his physicians, told him not to play, because the risk was that the tendon could break. It would take forever to come back.

So I think he made the right decision. We hope he's going to recover quickly. We hope he will be ready for Wimbledon, although it will be difficult. This is a race against time. You notice he was wearing something against his arm, and he will be receiving medical care as early as today.

He's now in a phase of recovery.

Q. Did you just hear about it or did you know before?
GUY FORGET: Well, I know he was in pain. He was wearing a strap. He did not practice this morning, so I figured there was a problem. All players on the tour have little injuries. You know, it happens. When Carlos Costa called me and said, Guy, we need to talk, I went there very rapidly to talk with the physicians of the tournament.

I knew right away there was something not right.

Q. You did not know about it?
GUY FORGET: The decision was made just 30 minutes ago.

Q. I'm not talking about the decision. Did you know that he had this issue, health problem, before or not?
GUY FORGET: I did not know before.

Q. You have been a player. You're not Rafa. Obviously you're not in his shoes. But how does it feel when you're a top-level player? How does it feel?
GUY FORGET: Well, I don't know what it feels like to win a Grand Slam tournament. I never was that lucky. But I know about pain. Top players feel it's very unfair, because it takes so much work to make it to a tournament like this. It's so much pain. It's so much hard work. And when eventually you have to say, Stop, I'm withdrawing, you feel that it is so unfair.

However, it's part of the life of a player. Look at Del Potro recently. He's trying to come back, but he's had several recurring injuries on his wrists, one side and then the other side over the past two years.

Roger, as well. First his back, then his knee. Sometimes it just doesn't work.

Oftentimes it happens at the wrong time. Rafa said, I played here ten times. Nine times I was very successful. This time, however, I have to accept that this is the way it is. It's just fate.

Roger, Novak, Rafa are such professionals. They are perfect in preparing, training, feeding, sleeping, training, warming up, receiving medical attention. They are professionals, top professionals in everything they do. They are very well prepared.

They receive top advice. So when something like this happens they have to accept and move on to the next thing, whatever it is.

Q. As a tennis lover, he had problems with his knee, now his wrist. You're very knowledgeable about tennis. Don't you think there might be more in the future for him?
GUY FORGET: Well, you know, when you're 30 or close to 30, recovering doesn't go as rapidly as when you're 22. You've probably all experienced this. I have seen it myself. Their strength is that they learn and know how to manage fatigue, sometimes playing too much, little injuries.

They have so many activities they have to do besides playing tennis with their partners and so on, and they always do it to better serve the sport. You know, Rafa, Novak, if you look at them, if you look at slow motions, you know exactly how difficult it is. When these guys hit the ball, it is brutal. It is violent.

With carbon racquets, with polyester racquets, long matches, many tournaments, Rafa has played extensively since he returned on clay.

Well, there comes a point when pain appears. If it's small, it's not a big deal. But as he said, since yesterday the pain picked up quite considerably, and he prefers to withdraw before it gets worse. Who knows? Maybe he'll be back in two weeks without any pain.

Unfortunately, it is happening right now and it is impacting the tournament, it's impacting you and me. I think we're all conscious that he is one of our best ambassadors. Unfortunately, what counts now is health and physical integrity.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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