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May 24, 2016

Stephane Robert

Paris, France

S. ROBERT/K. Anderson

6-4, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. First of all, congratulations. How do you feel today just now after this victory and all the atmosphere on Court No. 6?
STEPHANE ROBERT: I'm very happy to have won my second match. My first victory was in 2010. I'm very happy to have a second win, because it's always great to win in Roland Garros.

I had lost two matches against him, so it wiped the bad memories away.

Q. So what was the experience like for you? Did you find it more difficult than it looked?
STEPHANE ROBERT: No, I felt great. I slowed down a bit in the second set, but it wasn't that bad. It's very difficult to focus on three sets in a Grand Slam match. The third set I managed not so well; made the wrong choices; he was slightly more aggressive, more focused.

Then in the fourth set I got back there. So my third set was pretty bad and fourth set was great. He gave in.

Q. Congratulations. Is that your great pride, that you managed to stay focused under pressure? What that your proudest of today?
STEPHANE ROBERT: Sure. That's part of the game. We were talking about it before the match, a backhand, and then there is what you can't see mentally. I'm 90th in the world; I beat the 20th. I won the match in four sets.

So when you're really focused things become possible. That's what's really great, because playing well at the French Open well is really great for French players. I'm really happy I managed this match.

But I've had consistent results over the past six months. I was in the challenger circuit. I obtained some pretty good results in the Masters 1000s, so I have consistency, and it's in the continuity of things. That's why I called my old coach back. I'm 36 but still have ambition. I want to go forward. That's why I called him again.

Today's win with him back on the circuit is a fine victory for him, too.

Q. He calls your victory perhaps the finest in your career. Did you have time to talk with him?
STEPHANE ROBERT: Yeah, he told me. I don't necessarily agree, but it's a big match for sure. In terms of focus, absolutely. I was robust. I sustained the entire match, even though there was a pretty bad start to the third set. So things are good.

In terms of tennis, I feel I've done better than that. So you need to accept that you're not going to be brilliant all the time, but have a kind of average level of tennis that allows you to win this sort of match.

Q. (No microphone.)
STEPHANE ROBERT: Probably one of my Top 5 wins on paper. I beat Tomas Berdych, Ferrer, who was 18th. So it's my third-best victory, a Top 5.

The match I played two weeks ago in Rome was a pretty beautiful match, although I lost. So I would actually place it there. I was playing against the No. 1 player in the world, and that was also an important step for me. It's also why I am better at managing all of that.

I really feel I belong here on court against big players.

Q. The three you were talking about, plus Djokovic, and who would the fifth be?
STEPHANE ROBERT: Oh, I'm not really thinking about all that. I can't remember.

Q. I would like you to talk about the match against Djokovic. Was that a turning point? You lose 7-5, 7-5. You thought you were completely lost. Is that when you became aware you could perhaps push the limits?
STEPHANE ROBERT: No, not really. My season kicked off in Australia where I had a very good start of the match against Gaël Monfils. I knew I had things to do.

Then you play against the world No. 1. You start the match. It was slightly tense. I was a bit tearful when I came on the court. I thought, Wow, this is the No. 1 player in the world. It doesn't happen every day. It was the first time for me.

There you go. I managed that. Of course it's a key step in your career playing against the world No. 1, and putting him in a tough position from time to time is great. I didn't expect that.

I knew he was there in difficult conditions. There was the altitude. He won in Madrid. He doesn't really know who I am. I looked at the highlights and saw in the third point we were at 15-love, so it was a warning to him. We didn't really -- I didn't really spend any time observing him. I just went in there directly, and it was a nice match.

Q. I don't know if you've been asked this before. I just arrived. Is it easier to focus against these very aggressive servers?
STEPHANE ROBERT: It's actually more difficult to focus because the sequences, are very short. In the fourth set I had a few tiebreak occasions and he served really well every time. I can't remember whether that was the last game, but there was a point when it was deuce.

So there were a few occasions. I thought, Let's not go to a tiebreak. It'll be tough. What if he serves? I'll be under pressure. So it's really not easy to manage because you have these very brief sequences of play.

Then again, I managed that. I thought, It's better when the ball goes back and forth. Yes, it's tough.

Q. You spent quite a while with your head under the towel. Was that a personal moment?
STEPHANE ROBERT: No, the emotions came up. I was tearful. I had one win in the French Open; I now have two. That's pretty great. It was emotional. I was 550 last year; I'm now in the top 100.

I worked a lot. I fought. I'm really happy. Of course you need to manage your emotions during the match, and then you can let it all out.

Q. In terms of your first victory versus Berdych at the French Open, you talked a lot in the media because it was amazing. Can I have an interview with you just after? No, just joking. You think you'll be more focused?
STEPHANE ROBERT: Yeah, sure, but when I won against Tomas five years ago, for me it was an extraordinary victory. The match was really eventful. It was extraordinary. There was an amazing atmosphere. I thought, Wow, I'm going to be in the spotlight for once in my life.

So I went and did every interview. I don't know if it's changed much because I played so much before that I was drained intellectually. Physically I was okay, but mentally I was drained.

I have no regrets because the media were happy. Then again, I'm much better at managing that. I have nothing to prove. It was a bit of a pitfall. I had just upset a Top 10 player, and then I played against Fognini and I didn't notice, but I wasn't there at all.

I just played for 15 minutes and then I lost my footing completely. Here I'm much more serene, quiet about all this. I've placed myself in a bubble and I know how to manage the media. People called up before. I said, No, sorry guys. There will be a press conference afterwards.

Some of the questions of the journalists can be tricky and I don't want to hear them. Is that a good conclusion, guys? There are dangerous questions. I mean, people who know psychology and throw negative stuff at you. Now I say, Okay, shit question, no answer. Next question, please.

I had a little bit of trouble during the qualifications last year, and now when I'm not interested, it's, Bye, guys.

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