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October 22, 2018

Philippe de Haes

Kallang, Singapore

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your emotions after Daria won in Moscow? We saw the outpouring of emotion from her.
PHILIPPE de HAES: Yeah, yeah. To be honest, I cry a little bit when she came to my arm and start to cry a lot, so I was a little bit shocked.

You know, you work a lot during the year. You sacrifice a lot of things. Me, personally, I have family, I have kids and I don't see them a lot. You work, we went through a very difficult summer.

So it's a lot of hours of difficulties where you ask a lot of questions, and then you have this moment when you win the last point and she win the title. It's exactly what you expect. A little bit more during the year, but it not happens often. So it was just great.

And these few seconds of huge emotion refilled the battery for sure for another year, for sure.

Q. During the match, you told Daria you are Chinese Great Wall. Where does that come from, and how did the Great Wall inspire you?
PHILIPPE de HAES: People often ask me this question, but to be honest, I don't know. You know, it's only one minute, and she has to recover, she has to eat, to drink, and she has to also try to understand some advice. It's very short.

So what I try to do, it's to put image in her head. Sometimes it's more easy to understand that she can also see the picture and what she has to do.

So it's coming from nowhere. I don't know. Sometimes it looks a bit crazy and quite funny, but actually, it's working.

Q. Some of your coaching encounters are now legendary. Are you aware that you have sort of that much of an impact on people watching the game as well as people being, you know, inspired by Daria's performances? Are you aware that so many people are actually watching to see what you say to her?
PHILIPPE de HAES: Yeah, but on one moment, you know, it's quite also -- you enter in the privacy. I know that it's important to do it for the show and blah, blah, blah, but me personally, as a coach, it's my job. I see it like in a shadow job.

You see, we have Dasha is playing good because we have a team behind. It's about two physical coach, it's about a doctor, it's about somebody to take care of the food, et cetera, et cetera, and I'm the tennis coach. So it's a teamwork.

So I'm coming in front of everybody, saying a few things, and actually it's working, but it's not only about this for me. Really, honestly, it's okay, but I'm not looking forward to the next match and be in front of the camera and making the show, because it's not my job. Dasha is the player, she is the star, she is why the people come to see tennis. They are not coming to see me, you understand?

So I have to accept that it's the rule, but it's not makes me happy like crazy.

Q. So if you had the option, because there has been a lot of controversy about on-court coaching and we don't have it at the slams, if you had the choice, would you not have on-court coaching at all?
PHILIPPE de HAES: To be honest, between Australian Open and the French Open, we did a lot of on-court coaching. And then we went to the French Open. It's finished. It was finished, because on the ITF, you cannot go.

Dasha played the first match against Sakkari. She was completely lost. A lot of emotion in almost every point. She was watching me, like, Tell me something. Give me some keys.

I tried to help her. Warning. Because umpire heard me, of course. After the match, I said to Dasha, Okay, it's completely stupid what we're doing. You're completely dependent of me. What is your main goal? Your main goal is to win big tournament. To have a good ranking, it's great, but we will not remember Dasha Kasatkina if she's 9, 11, 12, 6, or 4. We will remember her if she's one of the big four, for sure. That's the main goal in her career, for sure.

So I said to Dasha, we are gonna do the job before, we are gonna do the job after, but when it's the time to play, you have to do it by yourself. So I delete on-court coaching during like a few months, and I realize she's not really yet actually. So it's why I came back. But for me, it doesn't help the players to understand what they have to do, the way they have to fix the problem against an opponent.

Because to be honest, also, and I had it in my head, in the final of Moscow, what's happening one more time, she asked me to come. Jabeur has no coach on this moment. She was with her husband, okay?

So on one moment it's two against one. Is that honest? I mean, that's the question. Can we go two against one? I don't think so.

So I know it's in the air for the moment. Some rules have to be fixed about the on-court coaching. I know that Patrick Mouratoglou says we have to put the work of the coach in the light, et cetera. I don't think so.

We have to fix the rule, for sure, we decide to go or not, because it's confused, WTA, ITF, ATP, everything. But me, personally, I think it's not a good idea.

Q. She said that when she did call you out, she was basically freaking out. Those are her words. So in that moment, she needed you to slap her upside the head effectively with words. In the past, when you have come out, it's been a little bit softer. In that timeout, specifically, it was much stronger.

Q. So when you walked out there, did you know that was the tactic that you needed, or...
PHILIPPE de HAES: No, really when she asked me to come, I'm going and my head is completely empty. I ask her, because if she ask me to come -- I mean, I didn't ask anything. So, yes, okay, tell me something.

Okay, I know that she's completely tight and she don't control her emotion and I have to find some keys.

But it was, to explain about the specific exercise, for me, as a coach, and it's much easy because you don't play, the capacity to be a little bit out of the match, I bring her to the value of the sport, which is -- I tell her, If you stop to fight, then you have to stop to play.

Because no excuses concerning this. You can lose, you can be tight, the girl can be good, but if you stop to play, then you don't need me. Don't ask me to go and to ask to fight. Because it's the value of the sport.

Okay, because I think you're talking about this thing what I say, I don't want to quit the job, I want to stay, because it was the moment. Sometimes it's a bit fun about the Wall or it can be about something different, but she was completely (indiscernible), and I think it was the moment to just remember her that fighting was absolutely the only thing she can do and control. Because it's tough to control the opponent, it's tough to control the decision of the umpire, about all the excuses that some players can find. You cannot control this. The only thing you can control is you, so I bring her to still relax, try to play every point and we will see. Because it was the moment.

Me? I play every point with her. That's the thing. All the time, I ask to myself, Okay, if you are in this situation, what will you do?

So if I were on the chair, I would say, Okay, just stop to think, run, and bring the balls back. That's it.

Q. So when you look at her season, obviously a lot of highs, and this one, it sounds like, is the highest moment of her career, how do you assess Dasha's season? What were you most pleased about? Where do you still feel like there is a big gap?
PHILIPPE de HAES: There is a big gap in everything. She's familiar -- the ranking is great, but I have the feeling that all the weakness she has can be, if she improve them, and I will tell you what I'm thinking about, can bring her much higher.

I'm very proud of the commitment she has every day. She want to play. It's not easy every day, because it's a young girl. She's only 21. She has a lot of pressure. Sometimes it's quite tough to find the motivation. But she keep this. She is the leader in this business. She want to do the job, which is, for me, the most important.

I don't have the feeling this year that one morning she wake up unhappy to go on court. We have a very good -- Australian series was not so good, and then we have a very good period until Wimbledon. And then, also because she increase the ranking, and when you increase the ranking like this, you have to take time to digest a little bit, because she put in her head, okay, she was 11 or 12, maybe I cannot lose anymore against girls between 15 and 20 and 25, which is, it's not like this, but it came to her head, she start to count about the Masters because, hmm, I'm not so far, maybe blah, blah, blah. And then she start to play the match like I don't want to lose the match. So it was tough for her, this moment.

It's the process. She is in the process to learn. She really deserve this title, because she put a lot of effort on it, so I'm very happy. For sure, this is great. But what she did in the French Open and in Wimbledon, and especially to go back to the quarterfinal at Wimbledon after the French, it's great.

Q. We spoke to each other in St. Petersburg in February this year and you called her a wild horse back then.

Q. Have you been able to tame her, you think?
PHILIPPE de HAES: I don't understand the question.

Q. You called Dasha a wild horse.
PHILIPPE de HAES: I don't remember. Really?

Q. I do. Have you tamed her?
PHILIPPE de HAES: Yeah, I remember. Yeah, yeah, but she is -- it's the difficulty for me to keep her personality, her character, you know, and all what she is. But to put that -- I change a little bit my feelings, actually, because now we have 12 months, which is a lot. I also say she's an artist, and for me I see it like this, because she can do crazy things, so she have to keep going to do this.

I told her, If you win like an artist, you have to accept to lose like an artist. And today the loss was not enough like an artist.

So I change a little bit my philosophy on court to bring her a little bit more solidity and more easy understanding how she has to play. And to keep this artistic way to play a little bit for later, to make it more simple, more solid, with a touch of artistic, for sure, but more simple and more -- so I change a little bit my point of view, actually.

Q. If you call Dasha an artist, how would you call Kiki Bertens as a tennis player?
PHILIPPE de HAES: Don't misunderstand what I say. Not an artist. But it's about -- the question can be how you make the definition of the talent. Kiki Bertens has a huge talent, which is the work.

We talk about commitment. She's completely, completely professional tennis player, involved in the sacrifice in all what she has to do. And thanks this behaviors and attitude and sacrifice she's here.

There are many ways to be top 10, and like coaching, for example, you can see many fathers are coach of girls and it's working. Most of them, they don't even play tennis, but it's working.

So it can have talent or not. You can have professional coach or not. I mean, everything can work, depending if the player is ready to, you know, to do everything to succeed.

So Kiki Bertens, okay, she cannot do the dropshot like this or the shot like Dasha do, for sure. But, I mean, to beat her, you have to wake up early, for sure. It's her style.

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