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September 6, 2016

Gael Monfils

New York, NY, USA

G. MONFILS/L. Pouille

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How happy are you with the way you won today? Are you content with the way you played? Straight sets is always good.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I'm happy with my performance. I think it is never easy to play quarterfinal against a French guy, you know. I think I handled it pretty good mentally and tennistically.

I'm happy with that and where my game is. I see new or good stuff today. Serve was a bit better. I have been saying I think to the French press that I could serve faster. I think I did it great today.

Still moving good. I'm very happy.

Q. To get to this point of the tournament - first time in semifinals of the US Open - you have had electric and great matches here, but to be able to play in the semis, how happy are you with that?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I think I missed a good chance two years ago against Roger, but, you know, I just live now, and now I'm happy. I played great tennis so far.

You know, I have two days to recover to play my first semis here. I'm more than happy. I'm happy where I am now, so I gonna prepare great my match.

Q. Sometimes it seemed like to us that you play just as much to entertain the crowd; spectacular shots. Today it seemed like you were, very focused, playing a sharp, intelligent match, and controlled. Is that accurate, or what's your feeling about that?
GAEL MONFILS: You know, about that is somehow -- you know, those match, you never get, you know, those ball to entertain, how you say.

If, today, you know, I drop my racquet and I do a slide you will say I will entertain people, you know, no matter what. Sometime I can hear that -- someone told me that my shoe laces, you know, it was one point on perfect win, clean win against Baghdatis. You make it up. Oh, like he's doing a show.

Or if I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say, I'm a showman. So, you know, this one, with all the respect to everyone, is you guys to put me on the spot.

Today I think I haven't the chance to do it, but Lucas, hit two good tweeners. I don't think you will tell him he tried to entertain.

Q. You're 30 years old now. Has your philosophy changed about these things? Are you trying to be more conservative with your body or anything like this?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, not really. I think I'm very blessed genetically, you know. I guess the only thing is a bit different the recovery. I think it's a bit tougher.

But if not, I'm even stronger than before, I think.

Q. If you were to face Novak Djokovic, how would you describe what that match will mean to you and what it will depend on?
GAEL MONFILS: I have a second opportunity to get to my first slam final, and the opportunity to maybe beat him for the first time in the main tour, to beat the world No. 1. That's it.

Q. What do you think the outcome will depend on? What is most important for you to do to give yourself the best chance to win?
GAEL MONFILS: I have today to think about it. (Smiling.)

Q. Are you having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Always. You know, always. No matter what, looks maybe a bit more serious, like everyone mention it this year, but I play tennis because I have fun. I play tennis because I love the sport.

If not, I won't wake up every morning, train, because most of people think that jumping or do trick shot is gifted. Yes, it's gifted, but is a lot of work. I won't say I work on the trick shot, but it's like I think physically I'm one of the best.

And to do that is because you're in a great shape, you know. If I don't have funny I stop playing tennis, for sure.

Q. Doesn't matter whether you're entertaining or whatever, you're having fun?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, have fun.

Q. Does it frustrate you when people talk about trick shots and entertaining?
GAEL MONFILS: Make me laugh. You know, make me laugh, because honestly, if I can do it today, let's say today if I have a 360 smash, definitely I do it, but I don't have the ball.

Sometime I have it and I do it, and then the first thing is gonna be talk about is all match it was an exhibition and maybe I hit one shot.

So it's funny. Now, you know, I get to be more consistent with the winning, you know. Because, I mean, now it's easier to say, Oh, because I'm winning more, you know, more matches, so it's tougher for some people to say that I'm just a showman.

Now I'm winning and faire le show.

Q. Do you ever want people to understand that you're...
GAEL MONFILS: No, you know, I always say if I have the ball I do it because I love it. I think when I dive on the court I not dive for people. Come on. To be honest, I gonna hurt myself for people? No.

I dive because I want to win the point. Definitely I want to win the point. You know, when you make the show, honestly, it's to entertain, but it's to win. So what's the point to make the show and lose actually.

That's why people think, Oh, he's jumping, he's sliding. In the end, you think I'm stupid? (Laughter.)

Q. Novak could have a tough match, perhaps will have a tough match with Jo tonight, but he's had a rather easy US Open so far. Is it important for top players to be challenged early on to get things going later in a tournament, or if you are winning well and things are going well it doesn't matter for you?
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, for him is different, you know. He's super confident for years. I think doesn't need many matches to feel his best tennis.

So I think everybody is different. I'm guy I don't need much tennis to feel confident. Me, myself, it's more about if I feel 100% physically is good enough to play tough tennis.

Q. You mentioned that match two years ago against Roger and how you had a chance. Did that one stick with you? Did you think about that a lot afterwards?
GAEL MONFILS: Not really, you know. What stays I had a wonderful time. It was one of the greatest match I play, you know. It's always great to play against Roger, you know. Even if you have match points, it happen in sport.

I gave the best I had. You know, when you have opportunities you try to get it, and I think I got it back today to be in semis.

So I have been waiting for two years.

Q. You're quite a sports fan. Do you ever learn anything from watching other sports like football or basketball that can help you on the tennis court?
GAEL MONFILS: Definitely. I mean, this year, you know, with the -- I mean, I have been respecting a lot what LeBron James -- I mean, what he done this year was unreal. His mindset and the work he put in to win this final, I think this is big inspiration for me.

Q. You were asked earlier about the possibility of facing Novak. I wanted to ask you to talk about the possibility of facing Jo in the semis, and both maybe what you think would be the key to that match, but also if you could speak a little bit about how long you have known each other and what it might mean to face Jo in a Grand Slam semifinal.
GAEL MONFILS: Oh, it would be a huge dream, I think. A dream. Definitely we will choose the final, but semis would be good enough.

You know, it's not a good friend. He's one of my best friends. He's a brother. He's someone I grew up with. He's someone I look at when I was younger because he was a bit older than me.

You know, we have been through this Federation center. He was stronger than us and playing earlier, you know, the futures and everything. We always, you know, put the work to play with him, to be with Jo, you know.

So we found out, you know, ourself on the tour together, playing Davis Cup together. Go to Rio together. Share a room together in Rio. Do some fun stuff together, you know, since actually we have been 10, 11. It's been great.

I mean, if you can have a reward and play, I mean, the semifinal in two days, it would be amazing.

Q. (Regarding five-set match with Djokovic.)
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, I remember, yeah, that was a tricky match actually. With the roof will be different, because it was taking a long time and I lost this one 7-5 in the fifth.

It was long time ago I think now. Novak is the best player ever, and that time he wasn't. So I think it was just a good memory.

Q. But now you're saying he is the best player ever.
GAEL MONFILS: He is. Yeah, he is. I mean, so far -- when I say "ever," not yet, because it's still Roger. But so far what he's doing is amazing. He's better player than me, definitely. I think I have no shame to say it. He is better than me.

You can be the best, but one match is enough, you know. If I face him, I will take the one match as enough.

Q. You have been really consistent this year. I'm just wondering, what do you think is the key? Like you're healthy? Maybe the confidence just keeps like helping you?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, my health has been big trouble I think all my career, and now it is somehow stabilized. I think I work differently. I think I understand different stuff.

I think it helps me a lot to be stronger.

Q. What's the secret of success of the French players? This tournament especially, but generally speaking. You always have new talent and you have always a group of players in last few players, in the last eight, which no country has. What do you think is the secret?
GAEL MONFILS: I don't know if secret, but I think it's good. I think it's good for sure for our country.

But I think it's -- I'm not sure it's a secret. I think we all work hard, and somehow we know we make it in the same moment.

Obviously, you know, sometime it was I think the States, was Spain, you know, other countries. At the end it happen here, you know. I think I have no words to say what to say about that, but the only thing I hope is maybe next year we're gonna have maybe even one or two more.

Q. You said you feel Novak is one of the greatest players ever, possibly the greatest player ever. What do you admire most about him?
GAEL MONFILS: His consistency, his game, the way he hit the ball clean.

I mean, so far, you know, it's very hard to remember a match where. You know, he wasn't hitting the ball clean. You know, maybe one or two a year. It's amazing. The way tactically he handle, you know, every tactic, like we try to made against him.

And I think, yeah, so far he's the best. I think he's a great champion.

Q. How important is it for you to have a coach? How is your relationship with your trainer? What's it like?
GAEL MONFILS: I think it's important, for sure, for me because I need to have someone that can tell me, you know, drive me, I would say, drive me a little bit.

I got a lots going on with my tennis, which mean sometime I want to defend, I want to attack, I want to go to the net.

I think I can actually make all those shots myself, but it's easier when someone drive you and help you to find your way, you know.

I think Mikael do it pretty good.

Q. You earlier mentioned LeBron James. Have you ever had a chance to meet him? And if you did, what would you want to ask him?
GAEL MONFILS: No, I never have this chance, but, you know, if I met him first time, first thing I would tell you is I want to dunk on you. (Laughter.)

No, I might ask him, I don't know, so many questions. You know, I watch a lot of the commentary on him. Got many question about how he is, how he feels, how it is to be the leader, like a great champion playing with him. How do you think about everything. You know, I think I'd be a great day if I can.

Q. You mentioned your health being good and working differently now. What are you doing differently? Maybe some examples. Is it a new diet? More time in the gym?
GAEL MONFILS: I working better. I working better. Differently.

I'm not always talk about how I do it, but -- what I can say I find a way to take care of my knee, take care of my body, you know, take care of everything. So far it's good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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