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May 27, 2018

Gael Monfils

Paris, France

G. MONFILS/E. Benchetrit

3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. What will be your takeaway from this match? The difficult start or the rest where you managed to play?
GAEL MONFILS: What I will take away? The victory. That's it. I didn't understand your question so I'm giving you a simple answer, taking no risk.

Q. I'm saying, what lessons do you draw from the match?
GAEL MONFILS: Lesson? Well, my victory. That's a difficult start for a press conference.

Next question?

Q. What happened in the first set and how did you manage to get back on your feet?
GAEL MONFILS: First set I had taken some medication. Before I got on the court I had stomach trouble. I don't know why. Afterwards, I started getting stressed for the match. I had been stressed for the match, but I also had a stomachache, and I started panicking.

I called the doctor. I said, Look, you gave me something. I'm not there. I have trouble breathing. I'm not feeling good.

So I said, What did you give me? I asked him. And I said, You know, I'm very tense. I said, I don't feel good. I don't feel well.

And progressively I managed to relax and to forget that I was not feeling that well physically.

Q. The stomachache, would you say it's due to the fact that you're stressed or are you sick?
GAEL MONFILS: Honestly, I believe it's because I'm sick. Stress we're used to. But it didn't help me, because obviously when you're down 4-0, you're not feeling good, you have some stress.

But I felt that it had been the same feeling for a while. Last night I was not feeling good. I took something to be able to sleep despite the stomachache. This morning I went to see the doctor. I said I was feeling a bit flat, that I had a stomachache. He gave me some medication.

Q. It's not a good time for you on the court at present. How are you going through envisaging this French Open?
GAEL MONFILS: You know, the first round in the French Open is never easy. But when you're playing against a young player, I always look at things in a different way, because he's never played a match to the best-of-five sets or never played that kind of a match.

So it's easy to say it afterwards, because now I won and the match is behind me. But I know that when I started, and this is not only a question of the match, I felt he's going to play very well for at least 40 minutes, he's going to focus and after a while it will be more difficult. I know it, because I went through it, because it's a special event, because either he's taught well and then you have to be able to continue, or you don't start that well and then it's even more difficult.

But from the moment when I felt better physically, I knew I was going to get him to really play. I was going to make it harder for him, and this is what put me back in the match.

Now, obviously this is not my best period. How can I say it in the right way?

It's easier to play a wildcard in the first round than to play a big player, honestly, in view of my experience. You have to say the truth.

On Wednesday it will probably be more complicated because the players are much more experienced. You have to be able to be at a high level right from the start. Things that I have been able to do in a way last week in Lyon, but I wasn't able to maintain through. So that will be the question.

Q. In view of the period, are you really looking for sensations, for pleasure than for objectives or ranking?
GAEL MONFILS: I said it honestly, and I'm not hiding this: After this small period, because even as a human being I'm going through difficult times, but this will be finished soon for many reasons that I could explain, this is going to end.

And I guess that after Roland Garros, after the French Open, I'll have to challenge myself to change things and to start some special work.

I'm here. Unfortunately I'm hitting the ball right but my mental is not there. My mind isn't in the right place.

Q. It's not the first time you're speaking like this.
GAEL MONFILS: You know, it's funny, because every time we tell you the truth, and you come back on the subject. Obviously if I could win Rome or Madrid, I'd love that, but unfortunately I came here and I had 1-0 match. So I can't tell you I'm at the top of my physical shape, because it's not true. I didn't win. So I'm not where I would like to be.

It's not like two years ago when I came in and I was playing well and I knew that I was going to play well in the US Open. And I did say after Wimbledon I would have a good summer. French Open I had success, but it's only success, really. It's difficult to understand, but it's the truth.

Q. You're talking about change?
GAEL MONFILS: Yes, I have to see about my staff. Maybe light in a way. I have to talk to other people and come and support Mikael. I will keep Mikael, obviously, but I want to have people full-time with me on other topics. Also, to get to a good physical and mental health.

Q. So you're still focusing on that?
GAEL MONFILS: Yes. The thing that is rather complex for us in tennis is that as soon as you're not doing so well for maybe a year or 18 months, people saying that you're not focused anymore, and obviously age is not improving things in any way. So, okay, it's a more difficult period in my life. It's a time of transition in my life. As a man, also, I have to adapt to many things in my personal life.

From time to time it's not easy. I never hid anything. I never hid that in the past. I'm a very sensitive person, so from time to time it's difficult to manage the two things in parallel. I do my best.

Q. Your next opponent is Martin Klizan.
GAEL MONFILS: Well, you didn't give me time to learn about it, because that's you're telling me.

So right away I think of Martin Klizan. What do I think about Martin? Very strong forehand. A guy I like, because he likes a fight.

Every time in the Grand Slam he has good matches. He brings a bit of craziness on the court. He has won very long five-set matches. I lost in an incredible third set in Rotterdam, 6-0, so I expect a very complex match with him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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