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August 11, 2017

Martin Laurendeau

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English for Martin.

Q. What is the scheduling plan for Denis post Rogers Cup? Is Vancouver still in the plans? And how impressed are you with the way Denis has handled everything since Davis Cup to this moment?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Yeah, I mean, he's been committed for weeks to go to play the Vancouver challenger, which is a great event. It's 100,000. That's his level this summer. We've got a great summer swing in Canada. We've got a lot of challengers, and this one to boot. He's committed to that.

Even if he wins today, he's not entitled to the special exempt because he's already in for Cincinnati. He's already entered in that tournament. That's still in the plans. Then the US Open qualifying.

He's still got to, you know, finish the summer swing the way it was planned and go through that.

As far as how he's handled the February incident, from the beginning, and I keep saying it, very impressive from anybody, even a veteran and a mature man, to face the consequences of what happened. I think even more so for a teenager, to handle that like he's handled.

He's never shied away. The first thing on his mind was to apologize to everybody. He understood the consequences. He manned up.

The biggest progress to me is that aspect, the mental, psychological aspect of his game. I mean, tactically, technically, physically he's improved. His biggest improvement to me has been how he's competing, how he's channeling and managing his emotions.

He's still discovering that. But he's come a long way. He's got the results to prove it.

Q. Just to clarify, is he going to Vancouver or to Cincinnati?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: No, he cannot go to Cincinnati.

Q. Putting on your other hat as the Davis Cup captain, with Milos having some injury problems, Vasek struggling a little bit, how reassuring is it to see Denis playing at this level?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Yeah, the more the better. I mean, of course you've got countries like Spain and France and Australia. I mean, it can become problematic for the captain to make a pick, to pick his team. That's a good problem, in my opinion.

For me, the more depth, the better for the team, the better for the country, the better options we have. It's just one more guy that's great, that's coming up, and we can rely on if need be.

But, you know, we've got Felix that's making his way up, as well. Milos and Vasek, they have many years ahead of them. So hopefully we can get something good to come out of that.

Q. Last night's match: 49 winners, twice as many winners as Nadal, also more unforced errors. What does that say about his game, the lack of fear out there, the willingness to go for it?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: I mean, to me it's the greatest attribute for a tennis player. If that can be taught, I don't know how. I mean, when somebody has those skills, it's just an incredible gift.

He's got his identity. He's got his game style. I mean, he's got the strokes to hurt, and he's got the game that's taking shape. But he's got a lot of weapons. I think he's always going to be a guy that takes it to the other guys.

In the meantime, he's cleaning up a lot. He's getting better in the mid part of the points, in the points from eight to 12 range. He's not exclusively a guy that needs to win the point under four shots, but he's able to do that. When he does it, yeah, it's pretty impressive.

Q. Beyond the shots, it's the mindset to go for it when he has the opportunity.
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Yeah. He displayed that last year against Kyrgios. Again, all the guys he's played up to. He takes it to them. He revels in that kind of an atmosphere. He's like a fish in water when you put him on a big court against a big player.

I don't know if you can teach that. But he has that, and he's making the most of it.

Q. Everybody was tripping last night over him winning. But you as his coach, what kind of emotions and thoughts did you have while he was taking apart a Grand Slam winner like that?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Yeah, it's a bit surreal to be able to, start to finish, last that long, and produce quality tennis, go toe-to-toe with a legend like that. It's just remarkable.

I'm glad I was there to witness it. I'll remember it for a long time. It will certainly be a reference for him because he still has a lot of steps to go through. That's always going to be there for him, what he's able to do.

Just continue to work and continue to work towards his goals, which is beyond being top 100 and top 50. It's top 10, and one day contend for a Grand Slam.

Q. After such a great tournament for such a young player, how would you say expectations have changed surrounding Denis, and how are you helping him to manage those expectations?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Yeah, I mean, ultimately the player has to live his own experiences, the bad ones, the good ones. You got to take your lumps when you hit a slump. You've got to run with it when you're on a high.

We try to guide him through that and help him along the way. Ultimately, he's going to make his own experiences and he's going to be the one to reap the benefits of moments like this that he can use later on down the road.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French for Martin.

Q. After 12 or 13 hours, are you still capable of describing the emotions you had seeing your player's victory?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Everything is fine now. The tournament went so fast. It's a dream week that Denis is experiencing. He had a wild card already for the draw, and he had a chance to play those players. He's very grateful for that.

Then he played a match where he saved four match points. He went through this. He won the next one, and the next one, against legends of this sport.

After last night we are going to stay focused on the next match, but it's tough.

Q. How are you able to keep him cool after what happened, because he has another match?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Well, exactly. This is part of the learning curve. He had very good periods this year where he was winning several matches in a row. Losing first round several weeks in a row sometimes is a problem to face because we are not playing many matches, and we have a lot of time on our hands. What are we going to do with that time? We are not improving in the rankings. We have to manage the losses.

But then when you start winning, you have to manage the wins, know where you have to put your energy, how you should do your job with what is happening.

This year there were periods where he already experienced those kinds of things. We had good moments here in Québec. So we are staying in the same process. He still does what he has to do.

Yesterday after his match, he spent at least two hours here to recover, to take ice baths, to hydrate, to eat well, to have massages with the physios, preparing for the next day's match, trying to sleep as much as possible.

He has to use those victories to advance even further.

Q. It's been a long time since you had a diamond in your hands. After this week, did you discover or learn things about your players that you hadn't seen before?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: No. But the last two matches were played at a very high level. Beating players like those is exactly what Denis is feeding off of. He spent a lot of hours working, practicing, playing smaller tournaments to be in that position where he has an opportunity.

Every time he played against a better-ranked player this year, he was never afraid. He holds his ground. He raises his game. I'm not surprised by that because I've seen him do that several times this year.

But still, against players like del Potro or Nadal, doing that is remarkable.

Q. The end of the match yesterday, we saw you on TV, and you were very emotional. What went through your mind? How did you experience that particular moment?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: You mean, the emoji face I had after the match? I'm impressed that a young player like him is able to resist so long without breaking down. Usually Nadal always wins matches when he wins the first set. He has a remarkable record there.

So being able to come back, maintaining the momentum, facing the idol from his youth is incredible. It was an incredible fight: 1-All, 2-All, games where he had second serves, breakpoints against him, advantage against him. He was able to sustain the rallies, even with eight or 12 shots.

I thought in those cases he would be more exposed. I thought it was a situation where Nadal had an advantage. But he was able to sustain it. I wanted to see how long he would be able to hold on. I was not the only one. Everybody was thinking, When is he going to collapse?

At a certain point in the match, he physically felt a bit tired. He was able to come out of it. He sort of had a second wind, and he was able to continue until the end of the match and win it. I was impressed that he was able to go to the end until the match point.

I saw it again this morning, because I didn't remember it. That match point was extraordinary. He was extremely brave, and he finished with a winner. This says a lot about his talent and his personality.

Q. Do you remember the first time you saw him? How did you become his coach? You had never coached any individual player. How did it come about?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Well, no, I coached individually many players. In Tennis Canada, I was always working for the professional transition for the male players. In fact, it was him who wanted me to coach him.

He went to see Louis Borfiga to see if I could be assigned to him this year. As a national coach, I have several athletes I have to take care of.

I had seen him play a certain number of times before, but not much. He was playing on the junior tour. Sometimes he was playing futures in the U.S. But I was on a higher tour.

It was in January that we took a flight to Australia together. We started the year from scratch from there.

Q. It's one of the best victories of a Canadian in Canada. There were good performances before.
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Yes, Stephane Bonneau against Hlasek, I was there. Nestor against Edberg, I was there, too. These were incredible moments. Last night there was magic in the stadium. Often, for the second match of the evening, after the first set, people start thinking they should leave because they are working the next day. So when it was 6-3 for Nadal, some might have thought the second set would be similar, and they wanted to go maybe before the crowd.

Those who stayed until the last point certainly have no regrets. They contributed to create a sporting experience that was extraordinary. It was similar to the Stanley Cup for amateurs.

Last night was unforgettable.

Q. In the beginning of the year, we were talking about the difficulty in the transition from juniors to the professional tour. It's going quickly for Denis now, but obviously he has a lot of work to do. What does he have to do after that kind of victory?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Well, he's still a junior. He could even play the international event next week. He's on the junior calendar still. But among the professionals, he started several steps. He's now in control of the playing futures, challengers. He played a few. He won some. He went to the semis or finals.

He's skipping no steps, and this is important. He has to master every step one after the other. Now he's in good control. Until now, tournaments like Queen's, here, or Wimbledon, were quite difficult for a younger player like him. Playing on grass, he did well.

He is able now to advance to the higher level. He's showing right now that he's able to advance to a higher level.

Q. After his performance here in the Rogers Cup, beating del Potro and Nadal, he's now going to play against a lesser known player. How will he manage that new challenge?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: This is a real challenge for Denis to continue in this tournament. This year Denis is going every time in totally new places. It's his first year on the tour, so he's accumulated a great number of new experiences. Everything is a first for him.

He never expected to be in the quarterfinals here. Now he's there. The tournament continues. He has to use those wins as they are without forgetting he has another match to play. This is difficult for every player. After a big win, you want to savor it. You feel the job has been completed.

He can keep advancing because Mannarino is a player he can beat. Although he's a very difficult player because he's extremely clever. He's difficult to play. He's a lefty. He doesn't have a similar game to other players. He has a very special game. He has a lot of experience.

Mannarino has been at this level for a number of years now, so it's going to be difficult for Denis. At the same time, it's a good opportunity to be able to continue. When he's confident, until now nothing stops him. But you have to be aware that he's only 18 years old, and it's difficult mentally and physically to stay at that level.

Q. We were all impressed he didn't break down. Nadal said in his press conference that it is easier not to break down at 18 than at 30. Do you agree with that?
MARTIN LAURENDEAU: Players who are able to beat seeded players - Federer, Nadal - those shocking victories, are often achieved by younger players who have everything to win, are not afraid, and the only way they can win those matches is taking risks. If they play their normal game, of course the champion they are facing is better than they are. They need to be aggressive and take risks.

It's like Rosol did against Nadal in Wimbledon. He was trying for everything. He was giving it his all. I believe Denis was able to do that from the beginning till the end. He was going for it. Every time he had an opportunity, he was trying to hit a winner. He was able to do that until the end.

He had everything to win and nothing to lose. If he had lost, it wouldn't have been bad against such a legend in tennis. This is why coaches and players always respect those champions, because they have to face that kind of situation every time they play.

They are playing lower-ranked players who have everything to win, who are taking many risks, because they have an opportunity. It's very tough for those champions to keep winning. It's really a tribute to be paid to them for being able to keep winning.

But sometimes the young wolf is the winner.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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