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January 2, 2020

Gilles Simon

Edouard Roger-Vasselin

Nicolas Mahut

Benoit Paire

Gael Monfils

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from the captain and then take questions.

GILLES SIMON: Well, for the French here, No. 1, Gael Monfils is here. We have Benoit Paire as the No. 2. We have our doubles team with Nicolas and Edouard, and myself as the captain.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Open it up with questions.

Q. Start with Gael. You must be excited about the new tournament after such a successful 2019.
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah. It's great to be back on tour, and it's a new event, so it's cool. It's a team event, so we'll see how it goes, but for myself I'm pretty happy.

Q. Gilles, you're an active player still but being captain here, so how does this feel for you and are you definitely not playing this week or could you play?
GILLES SIMON: Unless they are injured, I cannot. And, no, I'm very happy to be the captain of this team. It's a super nice team, it's a nice atmosphere, so it's a pleasure to be here with them. They are really motivated. We hope we're going to perform good on the court. And, yeah, we really look forward to playing the first match.

Q. Gael, I guess a lot of people talk about the rising stars closing the gap on the Big-3. But you've shown that you can still mix it with the best. Do you feel you can threaten the top-3, looking at it like a top-5 ranking for this year?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, obviously, I had a great year last year and I tried to set my goals a bit higher than it was for last year. So, obviously, I really want to be in the top-5, so I will do anything that's possible, working-wise and with my team, to find the keys to try to enter this very short circle. It will be hard with the guys that are coming up and also with the older players. I think the top-50 is very strong. So I don't put any pressure on myself. I try to do what I can do best.

Q. Do you feel the gap is closing between the top contenders and, that is top-3, those Big-3?
GAEL MONFILS: Well, I don't know if the gap is closing, but I feel that those top-3 guys, as you call them, they're still winning quite a lot. There's no doubt about that. Now we have a few others winning as well. But it's pretty even in the way that they're still winning most of the time and then some players get some opportunities. So I think it's pretty even in the way that the gap, if you have a gap, it's still the same, I guess.

Q. Benoit, you guys probably have one of the deeper teams here. How do you feel about France's chances in the ATP Cup?
BENOIT PAIRE: I think we have good chances. A good No. 1 with Gael, honestly, we have a potential good player in No. 1. And then we have one of the best ever teams, I think. It was the same for the Davis Cup and now for ATP Cup we're going to try to win one matches because we have a lot of confidence with the doubles match. No, I think we have a good opportunity to win. Every team is very strong, so it's going to be tough to win every match, but I think we have a good chance.

Q. French players were some of the most angry about the changes to Davis Cup. I'm curious if this event feels similar to the new Davis Cup, different, and what it's like having these two events?
BENOIT PAIRE: Talk to Nicolas.

Q. Yeah, no, you played a lot of Davis Cup, this is new obviously, but what do you think of having these two events and having them so close together, six weeks apart?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Well, I think it's not the right time to talk about it. No, but, obviously, let's play this one first to see how good it can be. But, obviously, we don't have, we don't need two competitions the same way. Two team competitions is too much, and I'm not talking about Laver Cup, so which, for me, is an exhibition. But, yeah, I think they're having a discussion so far between ATP and ITF to find the best solution. But so far I'm here to talk about ATP Cup and I'm really happy to be here playing with the guys and representing France and let's see.

Q. What do you think of this event so far? It's obviously --
NICOLAS MAHUT: So far it's, excepting the shirt rules, it's great. We're having an issue with the shirt so far, but we're going to find a solution and I'm pretty sure it's going to be fun.

Q. What's your problem with the shirt? What's the shirt rule?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Well, we cannot play with France on the back, which is, for me, very special when you are representing your country, but we're going to find a solution.

Q. Is that mustard in your beard?
BENOIT PAIRE: Yeah, I forgot after, I went to the lunch and I forgot to wash it (laughing).

Q. What do you guys think on-court coaching will add to the event? Gilles, do you want to talk about that?
GILLES SIMON: Well, the strange thing is to have both a captain and a coach on the court. I think one person is enough, no matter which one you want to have there. But that's, I think it's in tennis in general you see many new rules showing up week after week at the time and it's a bit confusing. But sometimes there are some good ones, sometimes I'm not sure about it. About the coaching, it's a lot of people pushing to have the coach on court. Personally, it's just my personal opinion, I think it's changing the game a lot. I don't have any problem with the coaching during a team competition because we're used to it. I would just not like to see it on any singles event because I think it's part of the tennis for a player to find the solution himself on the court.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thanks, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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