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November 3, 2019

Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Nicolas Mahut

Paris, France


6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Question in French, please.

Q. Congratulations. What does this victory represent for you? It seemed that on the match point you seemed very much moved.
NICOLAS MAHUT: As often for important titles as when we're French, as I said, we dream with the Davis Cup, but also French Open. And the Paris Masters, when I was small, I was in the stands. I thought that the court was wonderful, that the atmosphere was great, and I also dreamt of winning this tournament.

I was not strong enough in singles matches, but as a duo it was important to win it together because you never know when you can play it again. And being the titleholder in front of the family, because of course they're closer to home so they come in an easier way.

And after the year that we've had together as a duo, it was wonderful. We've had a wonderful week on court and off court together.

And I think we've fulfilled everyone's expectations. People were thinking that it would be hard, because it has been hard. But we are finishing -- well, nearly finishing on the ATP tour with a wonderful victory.

I'm very happy today.

Q. Pierre-Hugues, a few words on your back. Is it just a small warning? Are you worried? Because you said that the year was hard for you. What does it mean for you to win today?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: At one point, I had to reach out for a ball and it hurt. And I felt that it was colder in the room than usual, and it was difficult for me to warm up that part of the body. I put some heating gel on the back and it felt better.

As for the year that we've had together this year, this is all my mistake, I have to say. I wanted to focus on the singles career after the Australian Open. I also had my reasons why I did make this decision. It was not an easy decision.

Then it added up to what happened in Wimbledon. I had this opportunity to play with Andy. We didn't know if he could play or not. It turned out not to be that bad because Nicolas won with Edouard. But these were more low moments than ups. And then we had a Grand Slam win in the beginning of the year and now we have the Paris Masters win.

We're very happy to have managed to talk together and to talk honestly to each other, and this is why we're strong on court is because we have complicity. We're close to one another, and we're ready to give everything to the other.

This is why we managed to be different. In tennis, we tend to be selfish, I would say. And with Nico, I manage to have someone who shares everything, who is very altruistic, and this is very positive for tennis.

Q. With everything that you have said, did you see this finals match in a different way?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: Well, I would say no. We anticipated well. When we play well, it's always on a positive note. We were on the right momentum. We anticipated with the right goal.

We want to have no regrets at the end of the match. We want to play loose. We want to fulfill our respective duties on court. And whether a win or loss, we should be proud at the end of the match.

And I'm already happy. Even if it was a loss in Vienna, we were happy with the way we played, with our behavior, and we kept it throughout all matches. And the goal is now to keep this every time we go on court together.

The season is long, there are a lot of matches, but these are our objectives.

Q. Nicolas, would you say that you found the same level that you had before your small dispute? Or was it the same maybe in terms of going along together or in terms of tennis level?
NICOLAS MAHUT: When you don't see each other, when you don't spend time together, it makes things harder. The American tour was hard because for three months we hadn't seen each other, and we hadn't practiced together. The context was different because Pierre-Hugues, at the time, had problems in his singles career. So it was hard on court.

But we did speak together after the US Open. We were to play in Asia, but then it turned out we couldn't. And every time I was asked a question, I had no doubt about the tennis level that we could unroll. I knew that as long as we could be together, we could look each other in the eye and give everything for the other one, however the game would unroll.

This is what happened in Vienna. We didn't win in the semifinals, but we did three good matches. The duo in front of us was better than us but everything else was perfect. And I knew that by keeping this that we could have good results. It's fantastic because the next week we won.

But when we're like this on court, very often there are very good results coming up after this.

Q. Congratulations. The fact that you spoke and could we say that you are a stronger team now, on and off court, especially with what is going on in 2020?
NICOLAS MAHUT: It's just like a married couple's relationship because it's not always easy with your wife.

Does you wife listen to you? (Smiling.)

You speak with an open heart and then things go better.

Q. (Off microphone.)
NICOLAS MAHUT: Oh, yeah, tell me about it. (Laughter.)

The previous years, we've also had to go through thick and thin. You know, with the Davis Cup, we had to go back to scratch again. It's not always a relationship that you see through rosy lenses. We don't always see things the same way. We have disagreements, but we always speak together, and we enjoy being together on court.

On the day that we do not enjoy ourselves anymore being together, then it will be another kettle of fish. But we did speak together, and we feel better, and I was very happy to be with him today on court.

And I hope that we'll have a lot of other tournaments and trophies together.

Q. Do you think that it bodes well for the Davis Cup that is coming up?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: It's always positive to have trust and confidence after so many wins, but it's not everything. We have to be very focused. It's the end of the year. A lot has happened. Physically, we need to be very fit for the two competitions coming up, next week and the week after.

And we hope that we will bring to the French team a very high level in doubles matches, maybe a win, and a great state of mind as well.

Q. You have also played with Doudou as well this week, this season. Did you feel ill at ease with him because he played with Melzer when you had committed with him? The situation may be a bit complex with him. How did you manage this situation with him? Edouard is not someone who may be resentful, but you certainly had a discussion with him.
NICOLAS MAHUT: Yes, it was a complex season for everyone. Edouard is a fantastic player. When I had the opportunity to play with him when Pierre-Hugues was absent, it was an incredible opportunity because I knew that we could be competitive and win tournaments.

But then the situation is hard and I'm putting him in a difficult situation because we didn't know when we would resume playing together for the Asian tour. Then Pierre-Hugues got injured.

It's not easy to organize ourselves. I know it because I like to know and anticipate things. When my schedule is disturbed, it's always hard.

But we were always crystal clear together on the situation. When Pierre-Hugues would come back, I would play with him again. It has always been honest, but it's still not easy for him. He also has personal goals, the same ones as ours, playing in the French team, the Olympic Games, Davis Cup, and it's hard.

Now it was important for me to resume with Pierre-Hugues when he would come back. That was what was scheduled, and I tried to remain faithful to keep my word.

I wish him to have a great year with Melzer because I think it can be a wonderful duo. He's a great partner.

And then I don't know what else to say.

Q. To go back to the Davis Cup, Jo-Wilfried said on Friday night that he wanted to give a chance to this 2.0 version of the Davis Cup. What do you think about it?
NICOLAS MAHUT: We are going to give our utmost to the French team. We're not going to reopen the debate on the new format. You know what our position was.

I would have liked the name to be changed and the trophy to be changed, as well, but it's still the French team playing. And if the crowd is there, it could be a fantastic competition.

It won't be the Davis Cup, but it will still be a wonderful tournament. If we have a France T-shirt on, then we'll do our utmost to win with our captain, the fans, and we try to go as far as we can in the main draw to win the competition.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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