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June 22, 2019

Gilles Simon

London, England

G. SIMON/D. Medvedev

6-7, 6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was your body feeling out there? You've had quite a few long matches this week.
GILLES SIMON: Yes, I had only long matches this week, starting with James first round. Yes, it's a difficult tournament, but I'm really happy to play the final tomorrow.

It was a really, really good performance today with the fatigue from the match yesterday, a lot of tension, and I found a good rhythm. I was hitting the ball well. I had good ball control on both sides.

So, yeah, it was pretty intense, but I found a good rhythm and I was able to hold it until the end, even if it was, like, really, really difficult. But, yeah, that was enough.

Q. No Frenchman has ever won the singles title here. That's quite a grasp at history tomorrow.
GILLES SIMON: Yeah, it's a difficult tournament to win. You see the names from the past champions. You realize how hard it is and the quality of the players who were able to win this tournament.

I will try, definitely, tomorrow (smiling). I would be happy to be the first one and to join this team.

Q. As we speak, we don't know who you're playing. Can I ask you first about Felix and then about Lopez?
GILLES SIMON: Everything I like (smiling). Everything I like to do.

Q. Felix tomorrow. He's a young talent, isn't he? Has such a future in this game?
GILLES SIMON: Yeah, Felix is a great player. I just lost against him last week in Stuttgart, but I'm happy to have him again in front of me.

It's a different court, different conditions. And I also won a lot of match, so I will be a bit more confident this time.

But obviously he's a great player. He's gonna achieve a lot I think in his career. He's a really, really nice guy also. So I wish him the best, but not tomorrow (smiling).

Q. And if it's Lopez, he would have come through a lot from the last 24 hours, so...
GILLES SIMON: I have a tough record against Feliciano, especially on grass. I lost the final against him in Eastbourne already. He's a difficult player to beat on grass. He keeps the ball low. He has this huge serve that is giving him a lot of free points. And then he's moving really well and covering well the court.

So it's gonna be a physical match, also. And I hope I will be ready for that.

Q. Your fellow countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert is playing with Andy Murray at Wimbledon, which is exciting for us. What does that process bring for Pierre-Hugues?
GILLES SIMON: I don't know. It's tough for me to talk about this and about doubles. I'm not really into doubles, so I don't always understand and appreciate, like, all the parts and all the mechanics, you know.

I see a lot of teams that are breaking and then playing again. I think it's just going to be a great experience for Pierre-Hugues. His choice was not to play the doubles at first, so it must be very nice for him if he finally decides to go and play doubles plus the singles.

As you could see, he's also performing great in singles. I don't know what he did today, but he was in the semifinal against Roger, so playing Wimbledon singles and doubles is really demanding with the five-set format on doubles.

But playing with Andy is also something amazing. Especially I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible, and I think he wants to be part of that, which I understand, also.

Q. Back on Felix, there has been a lot of talk about this generational switch potentially in the future from Roger, Rafa, Novak, to the young guys. The three of them and guys like Boris Becker have all said the greatest players of all time typically win their first Grand Slam either in their teenage years or before they turn 21. Do you think that's still possible for him to be doing that right now as a young guy, or do you think there has been a development in the game that makes it harder for young guys to break through like that?
GILLES SIMON: I think you have always to be careful with history and comparison. Having three guys so dominant, you know, on the tour for that many years, winning all the slams will maybe never happen again. It's quite a unique situation.

Roger, Rafa, Novak are still better than the other players, better than the younger players that are here. It's of course harder to perform every week and to be 100% every time. But we could see again Rafa in French Open was just better, you know.

So maybe they will not win before 21 because they are still playing and performing so good, but the real question is who's gonna win after them the first slams? Who's gonna be on top?

I think the first one who is gonna win a slam is gonna have a massive advantage on the other one. Maybe Felix will be this one. Maybe other players. Maybe Tsitsipas maybe. Could be a lot of players, because they have a very, very good generation. But you still have three guys that are tough to beat.

Q. And they, along with Andy Murray, the four of them have won Wimbledon for the last 16 years. Presuming you're expecting that run to continue this year, or do you think someone like Felix or anyone else can go all the way at Wimbledon this year?
GILLES SIMON: They have a huge advantage winning. Maybe it's hard to understand this from the outside, but when you win that much, or for us when we lost that many matches against them, you know, it's really hard. Even when some days you play better than them, you're in position, but it's hard to finish.

It's going to be easier for younger players to do that. Sometimes you play them for the first time, you don't know what to expect yet. You go there. You didn't lose yet. When you lose once, twice, three times, four times to the same player, it's really hard to win the fifth one.

So it can always happen. You can always have a young player playing his best game, bringing his best game and beating one of the top players. But there are still three, and from now, even if they are one more time less consistent than before, because for so many years they were in the semifinal basically every time, every tournament of the season, you still have one better than the other one right now.

Q. From your point of view, do you think someone like Felix, I think he's only played Rafa once on clay and hasn't played the other guys yet, would come in almost at an advantage just in the sense that he doesn't have that mental baggage?
GILLES SIMON: I think he has an advantage because already he's better than the other one being younger. So when you are young, being like two years younger is a big difference. After that, you don't pay attention anymore.

If Novak is one year or two years younger than Rafa, it's not really important right now. But being able to perform this tennis and beat already top guys and playing so many finals already, even if you didn't win yet a tournament, being consistent week after week, since he broke through in, I think it was Rio maybe, if my memory is correct, that's good. That's good.

Tsitsipas is amazing, also beating the top three guys. Not many of the young players were able to do that. It's going to be interesting.

Q. Obviously your opponent today was having some physical problems. How easy is it to stay focused when you see your opponent in pain?
GILLES SIMON: I think I have more pains than him (smiling). I'm pretty sure about it. So to answer, you don't pay attention that much.

Yesterday that was one of the problem we had with Nicolas. We know each other a lot. I know he had a lot of problems physically. I had a lot of problems, but I was hiding it a bit better than him.

In the end, when you look at your opponent, you always expect that he's not -- this ball is not going to reach that one, he will not be able to play this one, and when it's coming back, you just stop. You have this tendency to stop every time you play a good shot and you hope, oh, okay, it was enough, he cannot do it anymore.

So just have to focus on what you are doing and not watch on the other side.

Q. Today was not the average grass court match. What do you think you are doing good this week to make you arrive at the final?
GILLES SIMON: I put the ball in the court. That's what I do (smiling). And I do it for long.

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