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May 28, 2017

Stephane Robert

Paris, France


6-2, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. Playing for the first time on center court after a 17-year career must be emotional and the public was really supportive. You even got the wave. How emotional was that?
STEPHANE ROBERT: It was beautiful. I never played on the center court. It was the first time for me. It was pleasant, even into the third set. I was way behind, and I was still fighting, but obviously when the public supports you, it makes a big difference. I think it made my opponent a little nervous and he made a few mistakes. So it helped me.

Q. At the end of the third set, do you think at one point you made him doubt about his game?
STEPHANE ROBERT: I don't think I made him doubt, but he made a few mistakes. I was really tired at that point into the match, and I think he got a little nervous. He tried to finish balls fast, which made me win a few points.

It can be sometimes difficult, you know, to finish a first match successfully. I was doing okay. I was able to catch a few opportunities and come back into the game, and I think maybe I did make him doubt a little bit.

Q. What is it then that you were missing?
STEPHANE ROBERT: Well, sometimes when he was aggressive, I couldn't get the balls. I was too slow. There were certain balls where he was just hitting harder and he was able to pass me with the ball, and that makes it very difficult. So I was trying to go a little faster. I took a few risks. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't work.

Physically I'm somewhat limited. The beginning of the match was very difficult. We had two very tight games, and I could feel that physically I wasn't quite there. Then the game, the speed came down a little bit, and at that point I was able to come back a little bit. I really fought hard. Physically he's above me. He's 11 years younger, so that makes a difference.

Q. Speaking of age, how do you see the future? How many times do you think you're going to be back here in the French Open?
STEPHANE ROBERT: I have no idea. Maybe this year is the last one. I will try to come back next year. If I can, depends what I can do in the next few weeks, so far this season hasn't been that great. I hopefully have to be stronger, hopefully strong enough to come back next year.

Q. I got the feeling that you were feeling more comfortable into the game. Do you think that 5-4, Love-30, do you think if you had come back to 5-All you would have been able to play a fourth set? Do you think mentally you were ready for it?
STEPHANE ROBERT: Yes. I think I had reached -- I wasn't comfortable at that point into the match. I was hoping to do better. I didn't really hope for a fourth set, but I would have liked to go little further, maybe 5-All, and then you never know what's gonna happen at that point. I took my chance.

But again, I think my opponent was stronger. I made a few attempts here and there. I was able to make a few very good shots. But I don't think I was consistent enough.

Q. Physically how are you doing? You stopped for two months because of injuries? I guess that has an impact also on your game play today.
STEPHANE ROBERT: Yes. When I returned from Miami, and I was diagnosed with pubalgia, I didn't feel good about it. I had the same thing 20 years ago, and I knew that pubalgia is difficult to manage.

I was very happy that I was simply able to play today, that I was able to play in Geneva a few days ago. In Geneva I felt good. Today, again, I had no pain, no physical pain. That is extremely positive.

You know, when you get injured, when you get seriously injured, especially at my age, it's not easy. It's not fun. It's difficult to manage. So at least this is not a problem right now.

Q. How do you see the rest of your season going forward?
STEPHANE ROBERT: I'm going to play on grass either in Stuttgart or 's-Hertogenbosch, Holland. It depends. Then Wimbledon maybe. It's not quite clear yet what I will do after. It depends.

I'm going to go back to the challenger category. I'm no longer the top 100. I have points that I need to defend. But obviously I'm going to go down in terms of ranking. I'm going to go back to the challenger, and we will see. We will see how I do in July, and then, depending on my results, eventually I will not have a choice and I may have to go back to the challenger, which is fine. I love it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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