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February 17, 2021

Joachim Gerard

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

J. GERARD/A. Hewett

6-0, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously had a huge lead in that match, which then turned into a three-set battle. Can you talk us through the match from your perspective and the emotions you were feeling during the match?

JOACHIM GERARD: Yeah, I think obviously was not playing so well from the beginning, maybe stress. I couldn't manage to have no stress, just play my game. I wasn't hitting very strong the ball, and I think I talked to myself and said, Okay, keep doing that, but I pushed too much the ball, and I opened and Alfie started to hit the ball better than me, and when I lost the second set I said, Okay, I want to win that match, I need to hit my ball stronger and make him move more, and that's what I did.

I think I just tried to finish the match, and I showed the last game that I could do it. My serve was unbelievable at the end of the match. So happy. So happy to win that tournament because it's my first Grand Slam. I wait for it for so many years, so many works at home with my coaches, with my physio, with my trainer, with everyone who is around me. It means a lot, so much to me.

Q. How difficult was that after you did let the 4-Love lead go, then you had four championship points missed on Alfie's serve, you then had to step up and serve. How nerve wracking was that?

JOACHIM GERARD: I know myself too much now, and I know I don't have to think about it. When I lost the second set, like I said, I wasn't focused on the 4-Love, I was focused on how I could win that match. I showed that I could manage to do it. After I lost the game, to come back to 5-4 for me in the third, I said, Okay, stop to think, just play. And I think that's what happened with my serve. I started with an ace, great first serve, then a great first serve again. I think I made only first serve on the last game, so that showed how relaxed I was. I didn't think to anything, just play my game and try to finish that match.

Q. How much mental training do you do for these kind of moments? Do you have a sports psychologist you work with to work on your mental strength?

JOACHIM GERARD: I work every day. Every day it's mental work for me. I'm a guy who thinks a lot, so when we start this journey here, my first match was horrible. I tried to think too much, to overthink, and when I'm home, I practice on every day my mental. Even in my everyday life, not only on my professional tennis life. It showed the work that I did paid, and I'm very happy with the work.

I think I still need to work a lot because if I was ready, I could not have lost so many games in a row and could manage to do better in the second set.

Q. During today did Roland Garros come into your mind or did you put it aside?

JOACHIM GERARD: I tried to put it aside, but even my coach reminded me before my match, I think it should be there, but I didn't think it during my match. I really managed to be focused on the present moment and to play every point one by one, and I think that's helped me a lot today.

Q. Are you ever going to let anybody take that trophy off you right now?

JOACHIM GERARD: They said I have to give it back, so if I could, I keep it. It's like my friend now, and I don't want to let it go, but I will have another one for my own, so no problem.

Q. I want to talk to you about that seventh championship point that you took it on. Alfie had already saved six. What was going through your mind as you served for that seventh championship point?

JOACHIM GERARD: Just serve. Just serve. I didn't think about it before. Like I said, I tried to play every point one by one. I think on my -- especially the three first match points, I wanted to finish the point, and that was not the deal. I think my open on Alfie was more maybe think more of not doing the mistakes, and I did the mistakes all the time. I didn't give me the opportunity to win the tournament, that match on my first three match points, and then, yeah, the fourth I just put the ball to his knee in the court, and then I think Alfie played well the two after.

The last one I was so happy that this ball go out.

Q. When that ball went out there was pure, raw emotion there for you?

JOACHIM GERARD: Yeah, I just want to let everything go out, because like I said, I wait for this title, that Grand Slam title for so long, and that's really so many work behind that I had to show with my roar, and not only one but two I think I did, and really it's happiness when it went out.

Q. What took you so long to get that one?

JOACHIM GERARD: My mental. My mental was not -- I think I wasn't ready in my head. I think I was, but the work that I was doing was not enough. For around one year enough, I'm with a new tennis coach who helped me a lot to be ready on every point, not only tennis, not only physical, but tennis, physical and mental. He's always behind me, a little bit too much, but that's why I'm getting better and better every tournament, and that's one of the things why today I can lift this trophy.

Q. Somebody who's going to have a bone to pick with you, your bestie, Stefan Olsson is not here to share this moment with you. What are you doing winning a Grand Slam title when Stefan's not here?

JOACHIM GERARD: I don't know yet. I will see. But for sure I think -- I didn't see if he send me a text already, but I'm pretty sure he will do if he has not yet done it. I know after Roland Garros he sent me a text, so he's a really good friend, and for sure I wish I could share it with him like we share so many already tournaments together.

But yeah, first I will share it with my team, and then when I will come back home, I will share it with all my family and my other members.

Q. Where does Joe go now? Is this the springboard for you to go on and win more singles titles? Is this going to give you the confidence to go on and win more?

JOACHIM GERARD: That's the goal. I don't have to be too confident because I think Alfie is there, Shingo is there, Gordon, Gustavo, Nico and Stefan. There are a lot of good players behind me, and today I may be the winner, but on the next tournament or next Grand Slam, I think it will be something else.

I need to keep practicing, keep training and try to do the same.

Q. About 18 months ago we did an interview, and I asked you what would you be looking for in the season following, which obviously was last year. Would it be a gold medal or first Grand Slam title be special, and you couldn't choose. How much does this give you confidence now going into Tokyo or the rest of the season?

JOACHIM GERARD: Oh, that gives me confidence, but like I said, I don't want to be too confident. I want to be one day world No. 1, and if I want to be it, I need to win more than one Grand Slam per year, and not only the Grand Slams, there are Super Series and ITF that I need to perform, too. So yeah, I just want to play and win not only one title. For sure the Grand Slams are amazing and I want to win all of them.

This year, like you said, there is the Paralympic Games. For sure the gold medal is there in my head, and for sure I will give everything to bring it back home.

Q. I don't want to deliberately make mention of it, but will you be raising a glass to Marc tonight?

JOACHIM GERARD: For sure Marc is in my head. I didn't speak about him during the speech, but he's there. He's in my heart. In less than a few days it marks two years anniversary he died, so that means a lot for me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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