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June 3, 2019

Gael Monfils

Paris, France

D. THIEM/G. Monfils

6-4, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. What was striking at the beginning is the difficulty you had in entering into the match. What can explain this situation?
GAËL MONFILS: I didn't start the match well, indeed. I don't have any explanation. I had two double faults in the first game. I was not able to -- well, I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of errors very fast. I wanted to be aggressive but maybe too aggressive.

There was a double break very soon, so 0-3, and then he played correctly. Gradually I came back into the match. And so I didn't start the match well, indeed.

Q. Are you really disappointed? Do you think you could win?
GAËL MONFILS: Yes, I'm disappointed. But then I have to continue working. My objectives are very high.

The difficulties are so very hard, so work will be very hard. So it's just a step. That's the beauty of sports. That's what makes me want to surpass myself. I have huge objectives. I have the chance of having high objectives, to dream them, and I try to have to work hard to achieve these.

Difficulties are huge, but I'm ready to try and overcome each difficulty one by one. And today I couldn't overcome one difficulty, one of the first difficulties. There will be others, but in the end, as I said, in life you have objectives. Sometimes you achieve them; other times you don't.

And I hope that in the end I will reach my objective once.

Q. What you felt on the court, did it look like what you had felt on the Grand Slam, this feeling of powerlessness?
GAËL MONFILS: No, not really. Today I tried to implement something different, and strangely, we chose to stay from the beginning to the end in the match without too much manifestations, too much expressions, without changing radically tactical plans or emotions.

With respect to that, I was able to do that. At the beginning I played well, but I stayed in the same line and I was satisfied that I was able to stay in the same mood.

I didn't have a great change in my attitude on my game. So it's something we had decided, and I was able to do that.

Q. Do you have the impression that you were not able to liberate yourself, or was it Dominic who prevented you from creating a bit of a madness in the game?
GAËL MONFILS: It's quite strange, because why creating madness? I found that I didn't play a bad match; I was not good enough for him. I was in my match. I was in my game plan, which was not the right one.

But often people say you're creating madness. But no, I was fine. Sometimes I was in the match, focused. So people can tell me what they want, but I was really focused and you don't need to have madness. I was concentrated. I was not able to win the fight, but I was not so far on some points.

Where he impressed me a lot with respect to other matches, he made less errors. Usually he makes more errors. He gets more, well, angry or excited, and today was a bit less. And when he was getting excited, it was in the court.

So I think that my match was good, but today, to win, I should have played excellent match, and I was not successful. There's no need for madness. I was concentrated, and I lost. But you should note that I was focused from the beginning to the end.

Q. Beyond the disappointment of this match, what will you take away from this tournament overall?
GAËL MONFILS: Same thing as since the beginning of the season, I'm trying to implement quite a lot of things. I have high objectives with the coach. We talk about it very often.

So it's a step. There are other major tournaments ahead of me with different objectives, according to each tournament. So we will learn a lot from this tournament and we will focus on the next objectives.

Q. Is this match not additional proof that maybe there's a gap between the top five players, and Dominic is coming closer to the 3, 4, and the rest of the tour? Although you're top 10 and you've been top 10.
GAËL MONFILS: Well, for this match you're totally right. There is a big gap between him and me. He was much better than me, and I can admit it without any problem.

Q. Do you think that the beginning is the key to everything?
GAËL MONFILS: He was stronger. He was better. Even though I started the match not very well, but he was better than me. We all started poorly some matches, and there are some points that we briefly discussed with the coach afterwards, after the match, where he played well, and maybe I should have done some things differently at the beginning of the match.

Yes, of course it's never positive, so it's easy to say, Well, if I had done a good start, maybe it would have been 6-4 or all the same. So maybe, maybe, of course I would have preferred starting the match better.

But as I said, Dominic was really better than me today.

Q. You said that you had a game plan that didn't work. What was that game plan?
GAËL MONFILS: I tried to stay closer to my baseline and not to be taken away by his powerful shots. Sometimes I was able to do that; other times it was too difficult. I gave him too many neutral balls, because I couldn't impose my game. So I gave him neutral balls, and he played his game.

So my game plan was a bit truncated. I thought I was going to be able to have inside-in backhands a bit more. And today I thought I would go more to the volley and it didn't work. I was not present at the volley.

He also surprised me, his first shot after the serve surprised me a lot. Also, when he returned, he returned much better than I had expected. So the game plan was easy for today.

Q. You said there was no madness this match. So we saw that the crowd was a bit shy. Is it not a regret not to create more excitement in the audience?
GAËL MONFILS: It's not the type of match I like to play at Roland Garros indeed. But it's the kind of match that you have to write down. I'm here to win, and when I have a game plan with the coach and a game structure, an attitude, I abide by it. And of course we are used to seeing me using the audience a bit more, but with the coach, we decided to do some things differently, to try something else.

It was not successful. Well, we can say, Well, I could have used the crowd more, put more energy, but it's easy to say now.

Q. Do you have the impression that it's too fresh, the changes with Liam, the fact of playing close to the baseline, which was not the case against top players? (Question about baseline positioning.)
GAËL MONFILS: Well, not necessarily. Because Dominic was just playing very well and I was expecting a small drop in his level. But today they told me, well, he played four sets, he makes errors, but I'm still waiting for the errors. That's today.

Maybe it's his most accomplished match since the beginning of this tournament. So afterwards, of course on hard, it's easier. On clay it's more difficult. Today I tried to do it, and I was not able to do it correctly, and he was better than me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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