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May 29, 2017

Benoit Paire

Paris, France

R. NADAL/B. Paire

6-1, 6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. When you came off the court, did you think there would have been a solution or there wasn't really any way that you could have got rid of him?
BENOIT PAIRE: I don't know. Every time I play against Rafa, the games are not good. The only times when I can sort of identify the ball, I just see it and I'm just trying to put it back onto the court. It's of course very frustrating every time I play against Nadal I think that I have missed something, so there is quite a lot of regrets there.

Q. Is he an impressive player? Do you really feel that he's exceptional?
BENOIT PAIRE: Of course he's exceptional. He moves really fast. He hits really hard.

But as I said, I miss a lot of opportunities when I'm against him. When I wanted to be aggressive, I missed. The early game was catastrophic. He played very well, which is why he won in three sets easily. I think that if I can play better, then of course at Roland Garros it's complicated, a lot of pressure in the first round. But I'm actually disappointed with the way in which I handled a number of balls. I think I could have done better.

Q. You gave him a rough time in the second set. Did you ever believe?
BENOIT PAIRE: Yes, I believed, because I thought maybe my game play is going to improve over time, and maybe -- then I got 4-3, I got two balls, one when I missed my return, and then if it was 5-3 I thought I could finish the set and perhaps I could kind of liberate myself and play with the audience behind me.

So it was frustrating, because in the third set I had a bit of a sore stomach. It's a bit frustrating to end a game like that.

Q. You said that there was a lot of pressure with Roland Garros. It's not necessarily your favorite surface. Where does the pressure come from? It's more complicated than on other surfaces.
BENOIT PAIRE: When you're French and you play the French Open, there's that added pressure, whoever you're playing against.

Here it's the French public, and I'm playing against the best clay player. I beat Stan on clay two weeks ago. So when I look at this game today, of course it was great fun playing against Rafa. But I think if I play better, I could make things more difficult for him.

Q. We saw you kind of embarrassed. You said that you had a bit of a stomachache?
BENOIT PAIRE: I take stuff before the game to kind of give me a bit more energy. I had taken them before Sophia Antipolis, gave me a bad stomach, too. I decided to try again today, because I thought it would be a five-set match. But it gave me a sore stomach.

I think I'd better ask Rafa for some advice (smiling). I don't mean products, no. I just want to be as good as him physically.

Q. At least I hope it's not the fantastic T-bone steak that you posted on Instagram the other day that made you sick.
BENOIT PAIRE: Yeah, it was a fantastic cut of meat, but it wasn't that. Of course when you play against Rafa, it's complicated.

I posted that pic like it was a bit of a joke, because I said I needed energy.

For me, of course, a good French Open means winning games. I didn't win a game this year. I hope there will be plenty more French Opens for me, and I hope that I'll be high up in the lead table. Last year's season was really not that good. I wish I can get back into the top 30.

Q. In what you say, it said that you seemed to say that today's game depended very much on you rather than on him. Does that mean that you can kind of take control of a game?
BENOIT PAIRE: My game play means that in most games I decide how the game goes. Of course Rafa took back control. But when I'm attacking, I think I can probably strike two or three times. It's my game play. And when I'm feeling okay, I do it well. Look at the third set in Madrid against Stan. I can do that.

Of course he's left-handed, the balls are a little bit more off-center, and I made a few mistakes. It's a pity.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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