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October 31, 2018

Gilles Simon

Paris, France

D. THIEM/G. Simon

6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. This was a difficult match with an opponent who could find all the solutions on the court.
GILLES SIMON: Especially at the outset. He played very well without any faults. The first four games no problem. He was patient and aggressive when he had windows of opportunities.

Every time there was 30-All. But he made the right decisions every time. So I couldn't play the match I wanted. So one entails the other, unfortunately.

Q. How come you couldn't manage? Were you too exhausted or is he too experienced?
GILLES SIMON: In a match, it's always many things at once. Today, I had to play very well to be able to win against him. It's a matter of feelings also, because I actually felt quite well. I played well. The only thing is I felt stressed. And also he outperformed me because his performance added stress on my side.

I served badly. I nearly had no freebies because of that, and it would have been good to have free points thanks to the serve.

He put me under pressure. I didn't play as well as I wanted, and that goes together.

Q. Please reassure us. It's not a good season. For the first time ever we don't have French players for the round of 16. Do you think that the French tennis will bounce back?
GILLES SIMON: It's harder than before because it's tougher. There's a lot of good players. We still have good French players who can play well.

I wouldn't say that we've lost forever. I would be more pessimistic for the four or five seasons to come rather. But there's still a lot of good players. We have a draw with 48 players here. We have ten French players on the draw. It's not that bad. Of course, the level is not as high as we want it, but still we're here. We're here.

And once again, when I watch the matches, everything is tight. I'm not saying for tonight because that wasn't the case. I'm talking as a whole. Matches are always very tight. There will be good outcomes next year, I'm sure.

Q. There's a very long season with a lot of tournaments, a lot of players actually withdrawing, especially today. Is it difficult to play after ten months of tennis? Is the season too long according to you?
GILLES SIMON: Well, it's tough, but one has to manage one's schedule. This is part and parcel of the issues of a tennis player.

What's hard is that on one side we say, Okay, my match of tonight is a good example. I had to play hard to fight and win against Dominic. And we have to focus a lot. And sometimes I have the focus and sometimes I don't have the level. But he was always -- he had the focus. And tonight I couldn't do it because since Metz I've had only two days of rest. I haven't played only two days apart from traveling days, of course, which I do not count because Paris-Tokyo is quite a hassle.

So of course it's harder to reach the level that's expected of me and to play. It's the same for many other players. I already am quite fortunate not to be wounded. I knew that I had to push at the end of the season. So I'm quite happy not to have sustained any injury.

Some players are strong enough to say, like Novak, I'm going to play at the Australian and you're going to see me at Indian Wells. But if do the same, I would just wrap up at the first round in both of them. I wouldn't go further. That's the difference.

Q. To bounce back on the French tennis's poor results, do you think that we are at the end of a cycle regarding your generation?
GILLES SIMON: Oh, your question is tough. Well, if I'm talking about Jo, Richard, Gaël, and myself, we are 32 years old and above. I'm actually above. We're not that young.

But there are players that are older than us on the circuit that have better ranks who still win big tournaments. So it's doable on the years to come.

I don't think that Richard is playing less well than before. I know that he can actually win quite well. He's missing two good opportunities in the French Open and in Wimbledon to have very good outcomes. When I saw Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday, I'm not concerned either.

Q. You represented the players at the council for many years. Some of them expressed themselves to try to avoid having the Davis Cup in November with an ATP per-team competition. Are you against this idea? Do you think that there's a consensus among the players to dismiss altogether this double competition?
GILLES SIMON: Honestly, I do not know. I'm out of this now. It's the way I operate when I decided to invest myself, I did it very much thoroughly until Wimbledon for six years. I'm not aware of what is going on anymore. A lot is going on there.

I know that there's a lot of meetings. In six months, there must have been a lot of things, a lot of developments, but I did not try to be acquainted and to keep in tune of that.

Q. What is your personal opinion?
GILLES SIMON: Having two competitions with the same format is not the idea. I think we should all agree on this. That's it. I'm a bit sad about the situation because there's a lot of bad-will from both sides and we reached such situations where we wonder what's going on. It's a pity for tennis at large.

Q. How are you going to manage the fact that you are potentially on holidays and the possibility of being called for the Davis Cup? How do you manage that?
GILLES SIMON: I think that I'm going to rest and it's well deserved for the days to come. Then I'm going to bring my kids to school on Monday and then I'll need to have news. Either I'm concerned by the Davis Cup final and I will go back to work. Because I've played a lot so I have to manage this well by resting this week and then by having an appropriate training session by playing best-of-five sets in matches. Then maybe I will bring my kids back to school the day after and the following week.

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