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May 28, 2018

Benoit Paire

Paris, France

B. PAIRE/R. Carballes Baena

6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. You were leading 6-3, 5-3, and then it was a bit tense. It was a bit of a difficult match. How did you feel this?
BENOIT PAIRE: It's never easy to start Roland Garros. It's true that my game level is rather good, and then with my serve game I was broken. It hurt my mental a little bit. But then as my back wasn't aching, I managed to win in the tiebreak in the third set. I was happy.

Then the game level, the way you win, is not the important thing. The important thing is to be able to win. I was able to win without spending too much energy. So that's rather positive.

Q. You called the doctor at the beginning of the third set. Were you a bit hot? You say your back isn't aching.
BENOIT PAIRE: I think I caught a virus two days ago, three days ago. I believe I'm not the only one with it. So I had to go to the men's room at the end of the second set. I took two or three medications for my stomachache. It's true that with the stress of the French Open, which is never easy for the French people, I was a bit tense.

But then it left me, and I picked up and I managed to finish in four sets. It was important not to lose too much energy, because you always know that Roland Garros is very long, and it's better to avoid the four or five sets at the beginning of the week.

Now I'm going to play Nishikori, but for the moment, I'm savoring my victory.

Q. Well, sorry about this question on your hair.
BENOIT PAIRE: No problem. Well, I wanted to change a little bit. I wanted to change my face. I wanted to change my style. It's true that your hairdo is part of the style. It's a bit difficult to manage when I play, because I went from white to yellow to gray.

So the hairdresser is trying to arrange things these days. But I'm trying to get out of it. My hair is very damaged. It's burnt. My head is burning.

But I have to assume this. It's a choice. Look at me. I look like Son Goku. But it's not the most important thing. The most important thing is to be able to play tennis now.

I'm happy, and as far as the hair is concerned, I'll have to go back to the hairdresser, and she'll see what she can do.

But I'm not -- I don't dislike it. It's just a different style (smiling).

Q. Do you feel that you have more problems with your hair than on the court these days?
BENOIT PAIRE: Yes. But, you know, this Spanish player is a good player. He won a tournament in Quito this year. I was expecting a complex match. It's always a trap when you play against a Spaniard who plays well on clay. It's always difficult in the first round.

But I'm happy I made it, and I'll try to make it, as well, with my hair. I found a solution. I put on a cap, and that's it.

The thing is not to think about it too much, to play tennis well, to please the public, as well. This is what I get to do and I hope I get a lot of support from the public for the next match, which will be a complex one.

Q. A question about hypnotherapy. I believe you started that a while.
BENOIT PAIRE: I did, but then I stopped. I found a better solution. I talk to my best friend who is here, and we talk a lot, and since the beginning of the year it's helped me a lot. We talk a lot outside the court. We try to set objectives, not to put on too much pressure. He's my best friend. He's with me all the time. He does me good.

It's true that today I tried. So it was a difficult match. I could have made it even more difficult if I lost the third set but I made it, and it's like teamwork, it does me good. When we talk a lot we have set good objectives at the beginning of the match, it pays. And the main thing for me these days is behavior and fighting.

Q. Nishikori, you played Nishikori five years ago in the third round. You lost in four sets. What has changed for you since then?
BENOIT PAIRE: Well, I played Nishikori quite a few times. I tend to win on hard court, and he wins on clay. He takes the ball early. I feel confident and feel well with my strokes. I feel good with my tennis. It's true I didn't use too much of my energy today, even though it lasted two-and-a-half hours I'm not too tired.

But I will have to recover better to be 100% for the next match, because there is a lot to do against Nishikori. He's a very good player. He's going to fight. I can expect a difficult match. He was in the finals in Monte-Carlo. He's playing well on clay.

So it's going to be a hard second round and I have to be able to make it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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