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May 31, 2019

Benoit Paire

Paris, France

B. PAIRE/P. Busta

6-2, 4-6, 7-6 [Ret.]

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Really, really old guy on the tour, with Leander. So I asked a player, Which question should I ask at the press conference? And then the question was, you can guess which player that was, Why the ground strokes and the volleys of him are better than yours? So try to guess...
BENOIT PAIRE: Doesn't make sense.

Q. Try to guess...
BENOIT PAIRE: But I don't understand what you ask.

Q. It was Leander itself. Leander wants to ask you that question. The question is just Leander asked me to tell you that question, about the experience in doubles. How important it is to be a very experienced player or a younger wild player.
BENOIT PAIRE: I think so, I think it's important. Experience is very important, but I'm very happy to play with Leander. He's a friend of me.

So, yeah, we played since beginning of the year. So of course he has more experience. He's very old (smiling). He is 46. So he has a lot of experience. Me, yeah, I tried to play doubles with him this year, but it's not easy to play with a good player like this, because I want to do my best, and sometimes when I miss, I say, Okay, if you play with someone better than me maybe he will win more.

But the good thing is we have a good time together and we enjoy to play together.

Q. I watched your match against your countryman, Herbert, on Lenglen. It was a very exciting match. I wonder, what do you think, how big a role emotions play in deciding of a tennis match? And how often emotion were involved in your matches? And did they influence you negatively or positively?
BENOIT PAIRE: Yeah, for me, I think against Pierre-Hugues it was a very good experience. We enjoyed a lot this match. For me, when we arrived in the fifth set, at the beginning of the set it was a little bit tough for me, because I used to win in two, three sets.

I was leading easy 6-2, 6-2, 4-2, and then everything change. For me, when we were at 6-All in the fifth, we have some occasion, he had two times a break up, and me, I came back every time.

So when we arrive at the end of the fifth set, physically is very tough, and the tough thing is not to play tennis. The tough thing is to stay focused during the match and to try to play point by point, because if you are thinking about the win, about the loss, for sure you are not very focused.

And at this time of the match when you are tired, I think the most important is to stay focused until the end and to try to play every point full. That's what I did. But I prefer when there is two games' difference and not deciding at the end, because I think for the emotion and for the crowd, I think they prefer it.

Q. First regarding the doubles, how did your partnership with Leander come about? What did you think when you said yes to him? And second part of the question is, you're active in all the three formats: singles, doubles, mixed doubles. It's very tough physically. How are you managing to play across all three formats?
BENOIT PAIRE: First, with Leander, we start to play together because we saw each other in Pune, at the first tournament of the year in India. We talk together and said, Okay, maybe we can do something good together. I wanted to play a little bit more doubles, because since the beginning of my career, the most important was singles, and after the doubles, depends what I do in singles (smiling).

Now I say, Okay, I can play full. I want to progress with my volley, with my serves, so I think it's important to play good in doubles. That's why I said to him, Yeah, I'm ready to play full and to win some matches. That's why I say, Okay, perfect.

And for the second question, yes, I play mixed, doubles with Leander, and singles, but I gonna see. Honestly, with Leander, for sure, because I said to him, Yeah, I want to play the doubles. So in a slam it's important. I want to give everything for the doubles. The singles, for sure. I'm not gonna stop the singles to play doubles or the mixed (smiling). The thing is with the mixed, with Chloe, I gonna talk to her and see what we do. I'm not sure.

Physically, I feel good, honestly. Doubles is not -- it's not like singles. Honestly, you can play, for me, I think, like 50, 60 (indiscernible) and you stay on your side, and Leander do all the other things. For me, I don't move and I stay on my side and it's okay (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Coming back to that, high-level singles players play in doubles and also mixed doubles. You're saying it's not as tiring as a singles match, but it's rare, no?
BENOIT PAIRE: Yes, but if I hadn't gone through the first round in singles, I would only have had the doubles and mixed doubles, but now I'm lucky enough to have gone through this stage.

I'll talk to Chloe. I'll see what we do. For a doubles match, I don't need to give 100%. Leander moves a lot. He moves well. All I have to do is keep my diagonal, and in a way it's a kind of active recovery.

We saw Klizan who played against us, and he just played five sets against Lucas Pouille. It's more like taking the doubles like an exercise to relax or to decompress.

Q. What were your feelings during the match today, the first match? Yes, let's talk about the singles, not the doubles.
BENOIT PAIRE: Okay. Today was a good match. After the match against Pierre-Hugues, I didn't know what state I was going to be in. The next day I already felt okay. Physically I wasn't too tired so I was rather satisfied.

The only thing is that when you play in five sets against Pierre-Hugues, nervously it's a bit complicated. This is what went wrong a little bit today. I did manage to win the first set 6-2. I could feel the shots were a bit harder. It was difficult for me to go and give 100% on my shots. I felt that I had to give more of myself.

I didn't feel my tennis like I did against Pierre-Hugues, which is why in the beginning of the second set he broke and then he made a double break. But I could see, I was talking a little bit more, I had more trouble moving, because in my head, in my mind, it was a bit more difficult.

But I felt okay. In the end, I managed to win in three sets. It's true he got hurt on the tiebreak, so I'm sad for him. But for me, it's positive. If I didn't lose too much energy today, I will be able to go further. It's important for the fourth round.

Q. It seems you have progressed a lot. Is there a specific reason? Did you work on this?
BENOIT PAIRE: Yes, I worked a lot physically. I don't know what to tell you, to be honest.

I did work this winter physically. I played soccer a lot. I also trained. Stan came to see me earlier, and he said, You're a monster physically. And it's not true. The thing is the more matches I play, the better I feel.

While if I fight in a match, I lose in the first round and I have to play again the next week, I lose some of my impetus and I'm not able to play properly.

While here I'm playing day after day for four days, and I have been playing for nine days. Every day I played eight matches, one after the other, eight victories. And the fact that I play one match after the other with victories, I'm in a positive dynamics, and I feel good.

I'm the first one to be surprised, because honestly, I can't say I did work that hard, but I feel good. I feel fit. And I want to surf that wave.

Now, we will have a moment of decompression after the tournament. We'll see. It's the first time I'm in the fourth round, but for the moment, I must say I feel good.

Q. Are you more precise as far as recovery and care?
BENOIT PAIRE: Yes, my physical therapist is here. He's here with me for this tour. My coach, as well, who is here. There is care, recovery, some cryo. It's something I didn't do before. He's pushing me to do it.

This way, I feel okay. I did everything I had to do to feel good. And when you know you have done everything you need, well, it's better. I also take some time to recover. My doctor is here. Gives me whatever is necessary to recover, and it's true that when you have the right people around you, it's easier to do.

Q. Let's talk about your next match against Nishikori. I believe you haven't beat him on the tour for three or four years, but you played against him last year. What will the key be? Are you going to review the match of last year?
BENOIT PAIRE: No, I won't look at the match of last year. Kei is someone I respect a lot. He's had a great career. I was lucky enough to play against him in Tokyo last year. You can feel that in his country he's a very important person, has a lot of influence.

It's true that all of our last matches I didn't beat him. These matches are difficult. Every time I feel he starts strongly and then our level balances, and I lose in the end.

But I beat him in the US Open. I also beat him in Tokyo, his country. Roland Garros in five sets but I was leading 2-1, so we will see. He had a very long match today. Will he recover physically? I feel good. Every match is different.

It's the first time I go to the round of 16, to the fourth round. I'll try to give everything, because Kei is someone who plays very well, even on clay. He's had very good results. I will give everything I have. I will try to do my best and get a better result than last year. Because last year it's true I lost in five sets, but it was still a defeat, and I want a victory.

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