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May 29, 2019

Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Paris, France

B. PAIRE/P. Herbert

6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7, 11-9

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. It was a completely crazy match. How did you live through this match? Did you ever think of giving up? In the third set you called the physiotherapist, and then you played incredible tennis in the fifth set. Can you tell us a little bit about all that?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: That's really two matches in one. There is one match where Benoit is dominating incredibly, playing an almost incredible score. I'm behind him. A very good Benoit game. Until this moment, at the beginning of the third set, when I felt a huge pain in the psoas. I stopped at 1-All, and I asked for the physiotherapist, because I thought I had torn something. I could hardly move.

So I got a strapping. I got back to the court, but I didn't know what was happening. And then the fact that I hurt myself but I could still play seemed to relax me. Suddenly, I was able to get more relaxed, to think a bit less, to find a better game.

On his side, he felt I was playing a little bit better, and he thought he would finish the set. He had a possibility at 5-4 and lost it. And then I got back into it. That's when we started again.

Then it was a different match. There was a tiebreak. He was leading in the tiebreak and missed the opportunity again at 5-4. And in the tiebreak, I saved match point. Then we started the fifth set. But I was ahead.

I had been fighting for a while. So was he, which means we had a crazy fifth set. This is when I had more opportunities. I was ahead twice with a break at 4-All, 15-40. Maybe I can have more regrets about the fifth set but I came back from almost nowhere. So he deserves the victory. And you need to have a winner.

I don't know why he won today. I wouldn't have known why I had won if I had won. So that's it.

Q. We talk a lot about the tiebreak. Are you in favor of a tiebreak at fifth set or is it what gave an additional special dimension to the match?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: I don't know. It's not for me to decide this kind of thing. The sure thing is that the end of the match wouldn't have been the same with the tiebreak. I hope that Benoit can recover from this match so that he can fight properly and have a good match in the third round, but the fact that you play a tiebreak prevents you from staying as long on the court. But it also prevents you from living a match like the one we had in the fifth set.

So I'm neither in favor or against. I don't know what to say.

Q. I believe, okay, we have no hindsight, but that it will be maybe not a good memory in your career but a striking memory. As Benoit was saying, it was an incredible match. You both gave everything. And it was a crazy match.
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: I would say I will keep only good memories, apart from the result, the end result. When I was a kid, it was my dream, living for moments like that.

So I came out of the match super disappointed. I wasn't able to win the match because very often in this kind of match, you only remember the winner.

But on the other side, I played my dream, playing for almost four hours in Suzanne Lenglen with a great public and a very bumpy match with a lot of roller coaster, but Ben deserved it, as well.

Q. Benoit said that a while ago he would have lost after the break in the fifth set. You know him well. You play often together. Have you felt something had changed in him recently or in the fifth set?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: The change I don't see only in that match. He wouldn't have had these results on clay this year if he hadn't changed in his behavior.

I believe a while ago, at some point, the break in the fifth set he would have broken five racquets. And he did not speak. He fought like mad. He gave himself an opportunity to win.

So it's not just today the change. We have seen it in Lyon, we have seen it in Marrakech. He has made a lot of progress, so he didn't let go of anything.

Q. When he plays like he played for the first two sets, do you get the impression you have a guy from the top 10 in front of you or like someone from Mars?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: I had the impression I was like a mouse and he was the cat, having fun with me. He was sending me right and left. I was always lagging behind. He was putting in the right dropshots.

And then I had the impression I was serving well, and then he was returning super long. He was doing the right backhands. In the first two sets, I got the impression I wasn't at the right level. And when he plays well, it's like that.

And I'm not the only one that's lived that, and I won't be the last.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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