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September 8, 2017

Jean-Julien Rojer

Horia Tecau

New York, NY, USA


6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. First of all, this is your second Grand Slam championship. I know you were talking on court about the significance of the shirt and everything. Just to win here at Flushing Meadows, New York City, can you comment on how you feel about this championship?
HORIA TECAU: It feels amazing right now. We love coming here. We love playing in New York. I never got to be on Ashe Stadium before.

So it was just overwhelming to play a final. My best result here was quarterfinal. Really happy to peak in these two weeks and get together a few tough wins.

You know, looking back in the last few weeks, we have been working hard to get to this level. The confidence that we got from winning the week before and from beating some top teams on the way to the final counted a lot today.

You know, it's tough when you get to these matches. Tension, expectations, everything around, people start calling you, messages. But you just try to stay focused one more match.

That's what we did so well towards the end of the tournament. Pushed each other to stay focused one more match and to execute. And it's an amazing feeling to get this title here in New York.

It felt great in London when we got our first Grand Slam, and we wanted to get that feeling again. We were trying ever since, you know, every Slam that we are playing and every Slam is special. Today was amazing to be on Ashe. Huge stadium. Good support. Very happy to win today.

JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Yeah. Just more of the same, really. It means a lot to win here, to win this tournament.

I made a few semifinals, I think, before, but obviously never got to the finals. It was great. It was just a great fortnight. We had so many good matches, quality matches.

We had tough matches. We had a first-round match that we had to really fight to get through against very stingy opponents. Then we had yesterday's match, which was a semi-miracle, really, because they were playing so much better than we were.

But we had a good fight. We had a good fight there in that match. We talked about it beforehand. We wanted to come into this match with the same fight and grit and try and get through this match at all costs.

Maybe sometimes tennis in these moments, because of the pressure situations and stuff, is not always going to be great. But we wanted to be there, together for each other, fighting, fighting, helping each other out.

Today was that kind of a match, because Horia struggled in some service games and I struggled in some service games. We were there. The net guy ready and good support. Trying to give the right advice, say the right things.

I have a great appreciation for this one, I don't want to say, well, maybe more than Wimbledon and the fact that I know how difficult it is to win a Grand Slam, this is only my second one, but these things are tough, man. They're not so easy. I think both of us, we have a great appreciation for the title.

Q. How long have you guys been a team?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Four years now?

Q. Starting to get a taste of Grand Slam victory?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Well, we are done at the end of this year. (Laughter.)

Q. That's a joke?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Yeah, four years now.

Q. Did it feel like a long time between slams? Obviously people change partners all the time.
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Can I answer that? It feels long, man. After 2015...

Q. People shuffle partners a lot. You guys have stuck together for eight slams...
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: For sure. There's rough moments there. Horia is a competitor. He wants to win. He tries his best. I do the same. If the results are not coming, it's frustrating. You end up having a lot of frustrating conversations. You want to be winning matches. You want to be out there playing and finding a good rhythm, and it took us a while there to find some good rhythm. I think what happened a lot was the decision to play Winston-Salem before this week, and that got us some match rhythm coming into this week.

I think we know that we are a rhythm team. Once we started winning matches -- we already have the belief we can beat anybody, but you still need confidence and to do stuff right on a daily basis to get to that point to beat anybody.

We just know that if we are handling those things, you can line up anybody across the net from us and we have a good chance to win. It takes work to get to that point.

But to answer your initial question, in my opinion -- I don't know how Horia feels about it -- it felt 2015 was a long time ago. It was only two years ago. With that being said, I don't want to lose perspective. Like I said before, it's very difficult to win these things.

2015, but how many slams is that that has gone by? Not that many, I guess. So you have to keep some perspective as, well, I guess.

Q. Your speech and everything, this is something you planned before?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Something I planned with the guy that makes the clothes for me that came after Charlottesville.

Q. That was decided after Charlottesville?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Yeah, decided to come up with this line and play with it. It's funny. In the beginning, I wasn't getting questions. Once we made semifinals, finals, you get a little bit more attention and more press.

I'm glad it worked out that way, because I have Lady Liberty on the front of the shirt and a jacket that I wear with the Statue of Liberty on the front and a peace symbol on the back.

And, again, it's for the stuff that goes on, especially in the U.S. I have been here since I'm 12 years. It's where I started playing tennis and gave me my opportunity to play.

So on the political side of things -- I don't know how much the tennis world gets into it, but I just wanted to, you know, have the conversation going and promoting again, just freedom and justice, liberty for everybody on gender issues, on racial issues which we deal a lot with in this country.

I feel in tennis we don't say much about it, but this is just tennis. We deal with real life issues out there. And especially I think it's symbolic to be here, man. This is New York City, as far as police officers, firefighters. I heard a story of a gentleman who saw my jacket, as a firefighter. He liked it. Yeah, on that front, I think it's a good cause.

Q. What brought you here at 12?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: What brought me here?

Q. You said you came at 12...
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Tennis brought me at 12.

Q. It was tennis?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: I had to leave Curacao, small island in the Caribbean, and came here, lived with a private coach. I think Horia came quite young as well.

HORIA TECAU: I did the same move at 14.

Q. Regarding, as you mentioned, how competitive today's doubles is, I think we have to appreciate the results you achieved in the last couple of weeks. And now, congratulations on this victory. Compared to the other Grand Slam warmup tournaments and preparation, how important was the last couple of weeks for you, when you prepare for Wimbledon or Roland Garros, how more difficult for the hard court season compared to the clay court season?
HORIA TECAU: In this hard court season, going into the US Open, you play Masters Series against the top teams. Everybody is in the draw.

So you're gonna play the same guys that are, like, No. 8 teams. We played against Kontinen/Peers in Montreal. We played against Murray/Soares in Cincinnati. We lost those matches, close matches.

Those matches helped us to make a plan for, you know, our wins that we had here. But it wasn't easy. Kontinen/Peers started the match really well against us yesterday. We had to fight it through.

And getting that win in Winston-Salem gave us that extra confidence that's always useful in those doubles matches where the margin is so small. That makes the difference sometimes, you know.

You look at the doubles score, and it's two or three points' difference. To be able to get those points, you need to be mentally, physically, technically there all the time.

When you get wins, sometimes those extra points come easier, you know. When you don't win so many matches, those extra points, they don't go your way because of lack of confidence.

So you just have to be there mentally every day all the time, and when you get a few wins, to, you know, keep rolling.

We did a great job by doing that in the last three weeks, and that's why it was a great decision to play that week before New York and the warmup tournaments coming into the Grand Slams. Because I know everybody talks about Grand Slams and everybody wants to win the Grand Slams, but The Masters Series are important, as well. We want to win those, as well, and they're difficult. Everybody's playing them.

You have top doubles teams. You have good singles players that are trying, you know, to play as well in the doubles. It's a competitive doubles draw. So we're very happy to get every one that we get.

Q. On your speech again, like you said, most people in tennis aren't that politically openly. Were you nervous about speaking out about it?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: No, I come from Curacao. It's tough, because you see a lot of stuff in the news. I don't get too involved. I'm not like a political symbol here. I know that, for example, I come from Curacao, different races and ethnicities that live together.

First time I noticed color was when I came to the U.S., sad to say that, when I was 12, because we don't grow up with that back home.

Since then, I have also seen a few of things. In the Caribbean, we see a black father, as well, and a white mother. Just seen a few things from my time there.

Again, it's stuff I know that goes on, and I read the news and I see a lot of unfair stuff going on. Some of these people don't have a voice to defend themselves and this kind of stuff, but it just really came about after Charlottesville, and I thought it was a good message.

And, quite honestly, I liked the clothes and the stuff so I went that route. I feel like it's never -- I mean, you can never say too much stuff for equality for everybody in this country. Yeah, I think that message needs to be passed on constantly.

HORIA TECAU: If I can say something, it's part of our job, you know, being athletes at this level, we are viewed as role models for a lot of the people. I have a lot of followers in Romania and Jules has a lot of followers in Curacao and Holland. They are following you, and it's nice to send this message and spread it, because you have a lot of people that look up to you.

Jules is an outspoken guy. You know, he'll talk more than other players, but I think as role models for the generations that are behind us, the young generation, it's important to see that, as well. We're not just athletes competing, you know, for Slams and prize money and glory.

You know, it all starts with sports. You know, we try to compete in sports and get better and improve and all that. In the locker room, everybody is the same, you know. We are all friends and all compete against each other. We say, Congrats, and move on. It's no hard feelings, no anger between us. Doesn't matter.

It's good to send that message outside to the world.

JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: Lastly, to piggyback off that, like you go on my Instagram thingy, I only have 6,000 followers. Horia has a lot more. And I play doubles. I don't have the platform that Rafa -- I don't want his name coming up anywhere in this thing, but we do have -- everybody has a platform, you guys, everybody has.

So I think it's important that everybody do their job or do their part, and that's how you make either change or progress, because we do it. And maybe I change five people's minds, you know. It's a step in the right direction. Horia does it and changes 15 because he has more following.

But we all have a platform and we have to be conscious of our actions and respectful of each other.

Q. Speaking of athletes having a platform, this being the 20th anniversary of Arthur Ashe's, naming of the stadium, what do you think about his platform around HIV and AIDS?
JEAN-JULIEN ROJER: I think Arthur Ashe is awesome. I went to UCLA. Our medical center is Arthur Ashe Center there. Once you're in UCLA, you hear his name all the time, an unbelievable person and the stuff that he did not only for tennis players, you know, in general.

I also participated in the charity event with Elton John and I think Venus was there and Andy Roddick was there, Isner was there, promotion for HIV, as well. Again, trying to do our part.

I think Arthur Ashe, I mean, is an unbelievable person in that regard, how he handled it, how he tried to pass on the lessons, and he was unlucky, you know, but he did the best he could, for sure.

We have tremendous respect for him. I walk around UCLA every time I go there, and it's Arthur Ashe stuff everywhere, deservedly so, you know. 20th anniversary and it all comes together. It's very nice, and I hope his message is passed along, as well.

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