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June 10, 2017

Ryan Harrison

Michael Venus

Paris, France


7-6, 6-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Any thoughts you would win a Grand Slam this summer?
RYAN HARRISON: You know, we talked about it a few times, me and you, a year ago. This wouldn't have definitely been possible. You always dream of winning a Grand Slam every time you're playing as a kid. You idolize people you see winning Grand Slams. You picture yourself in those moments, and it kind of hasn't really sunk in yet. Feels a little surreal.

But, you know, we are very excited. I know that Michael and I, it's even more special that we're able to do it alongside each other because he's like a brother. He's been a part of my family. We have been a home away from home for him, considering New Zealand is pretty far away from most tennis training academies. He was like a brother growing up. He taught me how to drive, taught me how to do a lot of things. Didn't teach me how to talk to girls, one thing he didn't teach me how to do.

But it was special, because, you know, he was someone who was there for a lot of memorable moments of my life, including my wedding, being one of my groomsman. To have him with me and the most special moment of my career is surreal. And it's also, you know, I can only think of one person that I also want to share this experience with one day, and I think that's my brother. Hopefully we can have that opportunity again in the future.

Q. Congratulations, your first title together. You clearly have got a great friendship. Tell us how you decided to take that friendship on the court and the rapport you built up on the court that's lead you to this point. Because it must be a difficult decision if your friends to put it on the line and then say we're going to compete at the highest level.
MICHAEL VENUS: Yeah, we played some smaller events when I just left college, and Ryan turned pro when he was 14, 15. I think we won a Futures or something then. And then we have kind of been on different paths. Ryan shot up real quick and was playing all the big tournaments. I was grinding away in the smaller level.

Then I guess I took more of the doubles route over the last couple of years and have worked my way up. We have always spoken about being able to play together at tournaments and that. And it's just kind of happened where both of our rankings are around a similar spot where it's given us the opportunity to.

So it's something that I guess we have talked about before, but hasn't been able to come to fruition until now.

RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, the way that our kind of rankings, you know, I got up quick, he was still playing singles. And when he decided to go the doubles route, he shot up quickly, winning, I don't know, 15 titles?

How many titles?

He's won a ton of titles.

And that was around the same time I dropped back in my Challenger ranks in singles and so our rankings just hadn't matched up yet.

But, like, two-and-a-half, three months ago, he decided that he was going to be looking for a partner for the clay season, and I didn't have anybody. We both were very excited. It just kind of all came into play.

Q. You haven't played a ton of doubles in your career. What made you do this? Are you guys planning on -- you will be in great shape for London.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, we haven't talked about it yet. I don't think we wanted to get too far ahead of ourselves. Because as you're in the middle of the week, there is a certain level of jinx you don't want to put on yourself. Hey, what if we don't win it?

We were kind of delaying the conversation. I think the logical thing would be to play it out for the rest of the year.

You know, like you said, I think that with doubles I think a lot of times, you know, guys who -- you know, obviously I'm a singles first player. And so I think that the doubles, you see a lot of guys have good results in doubles first.

Whether or not it's that you're sharing with a partner or that a lot of times you're taking the opportunity in doubles to make it a competitive opportunity to work on things. A lot of times, in my opinion, you see guys who have really great singles ability actually have big doubles results first because it's a little easier at times to waive the nerves of the big moments and big stages. I think you have seen it many times where guys use it to springboard themselves into the future.

This is super special. Wouldn't have been more happy to do this with Michael and do it this summer. But I'm hoping this can lead into singles success as well, and I know my confidence will be very high coming off of this.

Q. When you got together and decided you're going to play doubles, did you set yourself any targets or any ambitions or just about having fun together and developing your tennis, or on one level did you think we can really compete and compete well at Grand Slams?
MICHAEL VENUS: I mean, I think the level that Ryan plays in singles and when he has played doubles a few times, he's made quarterfinals of two slams previously. I always knew he could play at this level.

And I had been kind of knocking on the door. I'd been third round of a few of them. So you never know going into a partnership how well it's going to work or what. I mean, you're always hoping for the best.

And I think partly what's happened and helped us a lot is knowing each other so well. So in those moments, like, towards the end of the third set there where I was a little struggling, he stepped up and said, Don't worry, I've got this. And I know he had.

So, no, it's great to, like he said, be able to share it with someone so close.

RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, and when you're in the pressure-filled moments. And that's why a lot of times singles can be tough out there, because you don't have anyone to talk to, unless you want to have a go at the chair and talk to him. But you're kind of by yourself.

And I think that Michael and I were able to do a good job of just talking ourselves through the moment.

You know, my dad taught both of us growing up. And a lot of the things that we learned as far as the principles of tennis and how to handle emotions were similar. And not that, you know, you're going to hear something that you've never heard before, but to be reminded in the moments that are the toughest, the positive things you want to hear and want to be saying to yourself, it's pretty cool to have someone you trust and love sitting there saying them to you and with you.

So that's where I think we fed off each other all week. In the moments I struggled, there was a lot of belief in Michael. And he knew how to get me back in the positive frame of mind and vice versa.

Q. Like you said, you're obviously a singles first guy. Does this feel like a bonus almost to get this? When you think of career goals, I don't think you are ever mentioning doubles really. Just along the way you happened to be here in the second week of the French Open and win a slam. It's a happy accident, if you want to call it that. But I just wonder where it fits into your goals and how you sort of put it in context of the rest of your career.
RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I have never been a singles guy who, when playing doubles, treated it as if it was nothing. I have never been a guy who flat out tanked a doubles match. Never seen it and you'll never see it.

I have always taken it seriously. When I do play, I have the commitment that I'm going to win the tournament or else I don't try to play. I don't do the whole, like, well, if I make quarters, that sort of thing.

I think that as far as goals and achievements go, there is a long list of fantastic singles players who have been top 10, top 5 in the world, No. 1 in the world. Guys who have never won Grand Slams.

It's a special moment because you never know what dreams you will be able to accomplish, if you will be able to have your name on these great trophies and plaques out here. It's not going to be something I shifted my career focus to, because I definitely had the best year of my career and reaching career-high rankings and playing a very high level in my singles.

But, you know, with this capability in mind, and this partnership that's really having a great run to start and hopefully finish throughout the year, I know I will be committed to playing it very, very seriously for the rest of the year. And obviously hoping to have some good singles results in there, too.

Q. Would you like the opportunity to celebrate? If so, what are you gonna do?
MICHAEL VENUS: You can take this one.

RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, well, I haven't seen Michael turn it up since he was, like, 21 (smiling). I don't know, man. I think the last time I saw a tequila from Michael it was on the wrong way out.

I'm not sure where we're going to go with that tonight, but, you know, we said in warmup this morning, you know, that, we were going to book a nice dinner reservation tonight to have a nice celebration. It was going to be a big week for us regardless.

We kind of were looking at it as nice gravy if we got the title, which was very intense, long pressure-filled gravy. But it was good.

You know, I think that we're gonna have some fun and celebrate. But I do have, you know, a looming Queen's tournament in eight days I have to be ready for. There will be a bigger picture in mind for celebration but still a celebration.

Q. There have been a lot of different winners here at slams in the past few years. Have you seen this as being a roll of the dice in these slams and you can go deeper?
MICHAEL VENUS: I think a lot more of the singles guys are taking it a lot more seriously. That's been adding a lot more to the mix and obviously more variety to their game. It's not all the same. Not everyone is serving and volleying anymore. It's all different, depending who you're playing. It's got a lot of variety, and I think it's great.

RYAN HARRISON: Yeah, I mean, the doubles prize money has been significantly increasing last years, which will incentivize more singles guys to play. I think with the capability and level they play, it's going to be a good opportunity for doubles guys who, you know, in Michael's situation or Santi's situation, they started off a commitment for the year to have a partnership. And they weren't having the success they wanted to.

But then you have a lot of friendships you make along the way. And a lot of the times you have almost some of your closest friendships either in age differences or if one guy is a doubles guy -- there is always a level of difficulty when you have to compete against someone, even though it is possible.

But for me and Michael's friendship to be there, and I was happy and thrilled when he wanted to play. But I think that, you know, you'll see guys, Fernando Verdasco having a great result here. Kyrgios and Thompson, they took out a seeded team. You see these sorts of pairings. Tommy Robredo, top 5 or 6 in the world, took out of the No. 1 seeds here.

You might see some upsets, but in the locker room sense you know that it's going to be difficult matches. Not to say that teams are winning that are not favored but it's not a lopsided upset, my opinion.

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