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October 30, 2019

Benoit Paire

Paris, France


6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. How did you feel today as compared with your first match?
BENOIT PAIRE: Much better. With the first match I gained self-confidence. I knew that the last weeks were complex, and I needed to have a win to get confidence back. I knew that the first round wouldn't be easy against Dzumhur.

And my footwork was good. I had good feelings. I felt that I could do better. I had 0-30, 0-40. I knew that I wasn't doing well, but I knew that I was striking well.

But it's always the case against Gaƫl. He's always able to have an additional pinch of salt. And I had some slip-ups when I shouldn't have, and he was opportunistic when the opportunties presented themselves.

Q. Four years ago, you had a very weird match and this one was a very serious match. Over the last four years, how do you look back on Gaƫl Monfils? He seemed to be focused today.
BENOIT PAIRE: He's a buddy on the court. He's having a wonderful season. He's nearly guaranteed to be one of the top 10 players. We were looking at Goffin to see, and when we saw 5-Love for Dimitrov, we could see that he was happy.

I can see that he's very serious, and very much involved in what he is doing. He really wants to achieve great successes. Of course, he's got ups and downs, which is normal for a player as he is. He's a bit atypical. We love to play, but it's not always easy to be on court.

So this is why I'm very happy that he's on a roll, that he's going to be part of the top 10. Now I'm not part of the top 20 because of him.

I hope that he will achieve something good for the next Masters. Now that he's won against me, I hope that he's going to win a lot of matches.

I would say that in four years there were ups and downs, but when he was on the roll, it was very high up. Of course, he had also injuries that he sustained, but he's a great player to watch. I get along with him very well, and I have a lot of pleasure playing with him.

Q. There will be no top 20 for you, but in terms of ranking it's the second best season of your career after 2015 where you ended in the top 20. What is the highlight of your career? What is your greatest satisfaction and regret?
BENOIT PAIRE: In terms of ranking, it's my second best season. It's true. But in terms of quality of game it's by far the best. There's a lot of different winners. The points are harder to get, but I have two titles. I have two Round of 16 finals.

I had an all-around season on all the court surfaces, and I would say that the highlight for me, where I had most joy and sadness, was at the French Open. The atmosphere was incredible for all matches and it ended up with a small drama against Nishikori where I lost. That was not easy, but it was so beautiful because I felt boosted by the crowd.

Today I'm losing, but I'm still happy because I was cheered again. I felt in community with the crowd. That's the positive point. I enjoyed myself and I could share this tennis with the French nationals.

Q. You had a huge hug and it seemed that you spoke to each other with the hand to conceal whatever you wanted to tell each other.
BENOIT PAIRE: Yeah, it was a secret.

Q. Did you talk about the ATP Cup? Were you giving yourself the name of the captain? There's a much more important tournament.
BENOIT PAIRE: The Davis Cup is important. I want to be part of this group. I'm part of this group. I hope that I showed to the captain that he can trust me and that he can rely on me.

But what we said is that we are going to meet in Madrid. And since he stole my top 20, he needs to buy me a drink. (Smiling.)

But before the match, we were together. We watched the matches together. We discussed together. I like him very much, and I hope it is the case for him as well.

And the fact that we are going to be together for the Davis Cup when he had two, three problems with the Davis Cup as well, and I had problems, too, we hope to show something great and to show that we can accomplish major feats.

Whatever happens for the two of us, it will be a wonderful year 2019. And we said we're going to meet in Madrid.

Q. We often say that it's hard to play against a friend, another national, but it seemed rather that you enjoyed it. It was not really a problem.
BENOIT PAIRE: The only problem is with the public because sometimes, as I did during the first round, I need to whip up the crowd and to focus, to shout, and I can't do it as much because I respect Gaƫl, and I don't want there to be a lack of respect for him.

So we try to be serious, the two of us, but sometimes we try to whip up the public, and we can't do it because they can't be partisan.

So we still tried to deliver a wonderful performance, and it was a beautiful match.

Q. When you hugged each other and you're laughing together, is it a way also to cool off? To relax?
BENOIT PAIRE: No. No. We're not calculating anything, you know. We are natural. I do it with Gaƫl because we love each other. If it were another player, I would look at him with a smile on my face.

And when one actually rattles off a wonderful point, then we're amazed. We're happy for the other one. We're happy for tennis.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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