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November 2, 2018

Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Nicolas Mahut

Paris, France


3-6 7-6, 10-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. How can you explain this end of match? At the beginning it seemed that you had the upper hand and then there's a tie-breaker and then a super-tie-breaker.
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: Well, we played against the best team today. There were not a lot of matches. We had the upper hand most of the match but then there are key points where everything is played out. Nico did a wonderful return, and Jack Sock did two magical strokes, and then there's a tie-breaker, indeed.

There were errors made. A bit stupid mistakes. They were easy shots, I have to say. But this is where the pressure is at its peak. I haven't played that much in doubles this year. I did manage to get an ace. And then we had a wonderful tie-breaker.

They played at a very high level. They had a winning return when needed. Even if we were winning 5-3, the path was long. And they managed to win in the end. This is what we should keep in mind.

We still had a good level. And we have to analyze the small details where we lost. But we're still pretty satisfied of our performance for these two matches. We were quite exhausted and there were just one or two points missing.

Of course, I'm not that happy because we wanted to win the tournament, but still.

Q. Regarding today's opponents, what is impressing about them?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: Jack Sock is a wonderful doubles player. Bryan is a specialist.

Q. What is impressive about this pair?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: Well, he's a real specialist in this discipline. He returns well. He knows how to place himself with regards to the net. The image of the end of the set, as for Jack, he's young, he's got a wonderful forehand, a real missile. And yeah, a wonderful forehand. A wonderful serve.

And I think they complete each other. So it's not a surprise that they had wonderful results this year.

Q. Nicolas, I see you're watching the match behind me. Yeah. Marin Cilic who is actually playing very well.
NICOLAS MAHUT: I don't know how I'm going to play against him. That is interesting to analyze this because I haven't played against him in singles for a long time. I tried to see a few tricks to see if I can do like Novak. This could help us for the first day. This could be like a poker game.

Q. You haven't played together for quite some time. Now it's time for the Masters and to try to find something nice.
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: As we have done for the tournament so far, we have to focus on three full matches and we'll see what turns out. We can't predict anything. We're going to play with the seven best teams in the world. It won't depend on us only.

We have to focus on our game. We'll give everything we have and we'll try not to regret anything.

This was not the case on the last editions. So we'll try to have a few days off and then we'll try to once again.

Q. As regards the schedule, you're going to play a few more days on the circuit before playing with the Davis Cup. Isn't it a problem in terms of organization? Has it been understood? And what about physical training, is there no concern as to the fact that you have to catch up afterwards with the others that have been there before?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Yeah, it's true that the others last year had done one week of practice already. We had to catch up. We have to get into the rhythm right away. We have to be in the team because when you've been here for a week there's a group life that has been set up. We will have had the Masters before. We hoped that we would have won more matches last year. We had to withdraw.

And it was a bit hard at first because Pierre-Hugues had back pain. And this time we're going to work with our physical trainer. We'll take 48 hours of rest. And then we'll dive into the practice session for the Masters and then the Davis Cup.

Q. [Question about clay.]
NICOLAS MAHUT: It's better to have more days on clay of course. But as regards the doubles it's less a problem because we have less moving around to do. The game will be more or less the same. There will be higher rebound. We have to adapt to this.

But as for moving around on the court, it's not the same as the singles.

Q. Talk about Cilic, because you're going to play them. So Cilic is getting the upper hand with Djokovic right now. Is it a surprise for you? Do we see the best of Cilic right now? Do you think that the change of surface could actually bother him?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: I have no doubt as to Marin playing well in the Davis Cup. Last time I saw him play, it was in Zadar. He had won with Ivan Dodig but it was nearly on his own. His level was very high. He's a great champion.

They know with Bernard that it might be the last time that they can win and play this competition in its current format. And they will be there, definitely, because they are great champions.

NICOLAS MAHUT: You are talking about the surface, right? Well, he's playing much better than the previous weeks. It was hard for him in Asia. In Basel as well. This week I think he's playing better. The end of the season is very cumbersome for him because his hands are full. The choice of this surface is not the most natural for him. But the best players always manage to adapt themselves. But I know that it's not the best surface for him.

But then again, I'm sure that he is capable of adapting himself. I'm sure that the singles player will be able to face them, especially those of our team.

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