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August 8, 2019

Daniel Nestor

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. 30 Rogers cups, 20 more than Felix.
DANIEL NESTOR: 31. Does this count (smiling)?

Q. What does this tournament mean to you, to be honored like this tonight?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, it means a lot. Obviously I had a ceremony, big one, last summer. It was obviously pretty emotional to play my last Rogers Cup.

But it's very nice to do it again in Montreal, for sure, have recognition from this tournament, too.

Q. Do you remember your very first Rogers Cup?
DANIEL NESTOR: I do, yeah. It was here in 1989. I was only 16. I got a wild card in singles and doubles. I just remember playing a guy that was better than me.

Before the match, I looked at the draw. If I would have won, I would have played John McEnroe. I don't know why I was thinking ahead, but that was freaking me out, even though I didn't deserve to be in the tournament, so...

Q. As a specialist doubles player, do you see any Canadians that could have a great career in doubles tennis right now?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, for sure. Someone like Vasek when he's ready to stop in singles, he's had so many good results in doubles without really having played that much, practicing that much.

I think if that's something he wants to do, I'm not sure he wants to do that, but he would definitely have an opportunity to win a lot of tournaments I think.

Q. With that long career that you've had in doubles, all the success, do you feel like the perception of what it's like to make a career out of doubles has changed because of what you've accomplished?
DANIEL NESTOR: Maybe. I definitely feel like guys are playing longer than they ever have. I think that's the same in singles, too. Just with different training habits and updated technologies, strategies with regards to health, I think you see that in all sports almost, you see guys tending to play a little bit longer.

But for sure, I mean, when I was younger, I was trying to be a singles player, but I obviously was always better at doubles. The top players at that time were also better at doubles in Canada, guys like Grant Connell, Glen Michibata. They kind of inspired me to do both.

Eventually when I couldn't keep up in singles any more, was getting a little bit injured, I just started playing doubles.

Q. On a completely different topic, I saw that Guy Carbonneau will be there to give you a jersey.

Q. What is that?
DANIEL NESTOR: I didn't know that.

Q. Do you know Guy at all?
DANIEL NESTOR: I don't. Obviously I was a big Montreal fan as a kid. I still am. But, I mean, not like when I was a kid. I remember him on the Canadiens, the battle of Québec. Maybe he scored the goal after, but what Kerry Fraser made that call, when Québec had scored, they reversed the call. It was kind of a bad call. I think right after that Guy Carbonneau scored to win the series. Maybe he pushed the guy into the goalie or something. I don't know. He was involved (laughter).

Q. Were you Canadiens or Nordiques?

Q. You were a fan?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah. Since like '79 I was a big fan of Canadiens, diehard. I was watching up until like the '90s everything. Then started to be a professional tennis player. You can't keep up any more.

For sure, I flew here a couple times when they were in the playoffs once against Pittsburgh maybe like 10 years ago, and once against Boston, within the last 10 years to watch games. Yeah, big fan.

Q. I know you talked last week about your preference of the Montreal venue compared to Toronto because of the facilities. Is there a different connection, as well, the fans have here with the players? We saw it again today with Felix.
DANIEL NESTOR: Well, I think that also has to do perhaps that it seems like the Canadians' best results have come in Montreal as opposed to Toronto from a singles standpoint. Even I noticed when I was playing here, the courts always seemed to be a little bit faster. I think that might have attributed to the success of guys like Vasek, Milos, now guys like Felix and Denis.

I'm from Toronto. Obviously it's special playing in Toronto. I think we all know the venue is better here. The proximity to downtown really makes it a lot more special as far as atmosphere, that kind of stuff.

It's a great event compared to all the tournaments throughout the year. I would say players would speak very highly of this event, for sure.

Q. I just spoke with Rohan Bopanna. He had some good memories with you, that you are a funny guy. Do you have some memories about him? Now he's the partner of Denis Shapovalov. Do you think he's a good partner for Denis?
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, he's a great partner for anyone. He serves huge. I think those guys are a very dangerous team considering how well they serve. As an opponent, you wouldn't want to play against guys.

Usually when you're playing in doubles, one guy might serve huge, but you feel you have a chance against the other guy. Both of them are coming and serving massive first serves. I mean, against any team I think they have a chance.

Yeah, I mean, last year around this time, Denis told me we would have played this tournament together this year, that's what he promised me. But he didn't come through on that promise, so... I won't hold that against him. He's doing well with Bopanna (smiling).

Q. Just a comment on today's match, Felix in general.
DANIEL NESTOR: Yeah, I mean, it's a little bit unfortunate. The whole tournament, previewing his matches, we were wondering if his second serve might become a factor. It wasn't really in the first two matches, but I guess it was a little bit more today.

I mean, I think we can all see that outside of that, he's a top-10 player, playing great. He's knocking on the door whoever he plays against. Too bad because we anticipated he would make a Denis-style run in this tournament. If he would have won today, I think his confidence would have only grown. He beat two Canadians in the first round. That's huge for his confidence. Today he was in a position to win.

Again, it's like Denis yesterday, it's a great learning experience. These guys are still very young, I mean, especially how mature and focused they are. It's only a matter of time for both of them.

So Felix, I think he has so much to look forward to. We have the US Open in two weeks, so I think if he's able to shake it off, he could definitely make a deep run there.

Q. You had a really long career. I would like to hear you on the challenges that the young players will have to face in the next years if they want to have a career as long as you had.
DANIEL NESTOR: Well, I mean, for me, I wasn't the most mature. Compared to these guys now, I wasn't as mature as them. I was a late-bloomer. A lot of that had to do with growing up and maybe not being the best competitor.

I think I improved a lot along the way. I was getting better and better as I got older. I think that's one of the reasons why I played longer. For me, picking up things that some people pick up earlier, it took me a little bit longer. That's one of the reasons why I stuck around as long as I did. Maybe made up for a little bit of lost time.

But, I mean, I think it's great that all of our top players now are really good competitors and very focused, trying to be the best they can be, for sure.

Q. You already mentioned the difference with the preparation of your generation and the current one. If you can look back and pick one crucial area in terms of the preparation, which is the most relevant?
DANIEL NESTOR: Probably working with sports psychologists. I think most of my best results came after that. It was mid '90s. I was doing pretty well in singles at that time, but I was still inconsistent. Same thing with doubles. I was doing well, but I wasn't really winning the biggest matches, wasn't necessarily playing my best in the biggest matches.

I think once I started implementing that strategy into my game, it for sure helped me. I thought I started to play very well under pressure. That's something I learned to do as I got older. For sure it became one of my strengths. I can attribute that work to that, for sure.

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