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April 23, 2000

Cedric Pioline

Q. Congratulations. Is it a great pleasure that you won? Is it the most important moment in your life or not?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yes, it is the most important tournament I have won. It is a difficult one and on top of it is the first time there is a lot of emotion there. You know there are always dreams and you always believe that one day you will raise the trophy and one day it happens, it is strange.

Q. We have the impression then when we are 31 --


Q. -- that it is the last opportunity or almost and do we play with more pressure or not?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I didn't think about that. It is not important. When you are on the court you play, you don't think whether you are 20 or 30. One day, of course, I will be slower but as long as I can do it, I can have fun as long as I am winning, that is what is important.

Q. Let's talk about the final. The conditions. When you started the weather was dry. We had the impression you had no problems developing your attacking game. But then the court became heavy. Was it more difficult for you?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yes, the court became heavier with the rain. This was at his advantage because it was slowing down the court. And he was able to develop his own game. I played more there two or three shots at the net so it bothered me more than him.

Q. He loves to do boom, boom, left, right and to exhaust the opponent. For you the conditions were slower so your aim was to make the rallies shorter?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It was to do a mix, not to go too much to the net because he is passing very well. I didn't want him to get used to it. I had to mix up the rallies, to go up to the net, to make accelerations and it worked well at the important moments.

Q. Talk about the third set where you were broken in the beginning. After the second set there was a bit of a let-down?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I made two mistakes on easy shots and he took advantage of it. He broke me on those shots. I was not too worried. I was up two sets to Love and I was playing well. But I thought he was playing better and better; that he was making very few mistakes and that he was hitting hard. It was difficult. In the end I was able to put the pressure on him. The more we were advancing in this match, the more I put pressure on him and I broke him. In the second set everything turned in this crazy game. It was my turn. It -- it was my day. I wanted really to go to the end of that match and win it. Maybe that is what made the difference.

Q. The last rally in the match, he makes you run all over the place. Did you close your eyes to make that last shot or what?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I was telling myself that we had to -- that I had to hold on. He had played well on the first matchpoint. He had played a good return and a good passing shot. We can always believe that I should have served on the other side, but it was well done on his part. The rally where he started to make me run I told myself: Let's hold on the maximum. Let's try to put the ball in one extra time than he does and this is what happened. Maybe it was not the best shot of the game, but it was the most important one.

Q. You were very nervous. Your toss, you made it several times for your first serve.

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It is true that sometimes my toss gets unsettled, unruly. I tried to correct it. Maybe it is a bit bothering for the opponent, but I tried to do my shot the best possible.

Q. It doesn't happen often to you, though?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: No, it doesn't happen often.

Q. Were you nervous during that match or not?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I was not very nervous. I was very concentrated on what I had to do. I was trying to develop my game. He didn't let me much time to think it over.

Q. When you saw that it was starting to rain, did it bother your concentration? Did you wonder whether they were going to stop the match or not?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Indeed I was wondering whether we were going to stop or not. Sometimes it happens here that there is a little bit of rain which does not prevent you to play. I felt good. I told myself to continue up to the end.

Q. You could have played four and even five sets?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I would have played them, although I don't know what would have happened. Maybe he would have got tired at one stage or the other.

Q. He said he was just warmed up the at end of the third set.

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Well, I was very tired. Each one has his own style.

Q. He was joking. But did you have reserves? Were you exhausted?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I could have played a while more.

Q. What pleases you most with your work, with Pierre Cherret? What is most positive?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: My game is well settled. Physically I am feeling good although I am tired after a match like this one, but this is normal. And now the concentration is a very big part of my game, at least during this week and this allows me to develop what I want to do, to develop my physical qualities and the other qualities also. So it is satisfying to pick up the fruit of a difficult work.

Q. The fact of not entering into a marathon match, is it a pleasure?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: You are less tired. Maybe this allowed me to win this tournament because with a match like today spending a lot of energy, if I had had two or three hours extra of match playing before I would have been less fast, less concentrated and more tired.

Q. Do you remember playing a tournament remaining as concentrated from the first match to the last match?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yes, in Rotterdam it went well. And when I reached the finals in the US Open, apart from the final, the whole tournament I was very concentrated.

Q. When we win a tournament like this, do we think about the opponent who lost or do we think about a player like Dosedel who was up 4-1 and had a 5-1 point?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I don't think about what happened before. I know what it is to be in the position of the loser. It is not very pleasant. So I tried to appreciate all what was happening today and I could understand what Dominik was feeling because I was in his shoes before. But if he continues playing that way, he will have the opportunity of winning titles. So I am trying to appreciate what happens to me.

Q. You didn't serve extremely well. Your percentage was below 50. I imagine you have a lot of confidence in your second serve.

CEDRIC PIOLINE: He was attacking me a lot on my second serve with his returns. On the other side I served many serves right next to the line. It is part of the game to believe that sometimes it can go better or it can go worse and I tried to accept it.

Q. When we see you in the important moments in the match, when he is serving, you do not hesitate to go up to the net after your returns. Is it part of what you improved in your game? You didn't do that systematically before?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: I haven't been doing that since today only. But it is true, it is perfect today.

Q. But you do it with what confidence, more authority, more naturally?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Maybe, surely. I try to put pressure on my opponents. Sometimes the approach is not perfect. At 6-All, 5-4 you have to try that passing shot. It is not obvious to succeed.

Q. You had a very good clay court season in 1998. Last year you lose first round. This year it begins very strongly. How do you explain last year?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Last year I wasn't very good on one hand and on the other hand it started off badly here in Monte Carlo where I lost in the first round. In fact, I was trying to find my feelings on the court and I was not able to find the good timing. I was hesitating between a game where I was waiting and a game where I was attacking to play my own game. I lost tight matches and I didn't have the opportunities to play another match afterwards.

Q. And then the confidence goes away?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: Yes, it is a vicious circle.

Q. What pleases you most in your game presently?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It is that my game is something complete, my shots, my physical condition, the way I manage my matches. It is satisfying to see that everything functions at the same time.

Q. What gives you more pleasure, to make four times serve and volley and to show that you are present or when you return, to try to surprise him?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It is true Dominik has a stereotyped type of game: Left, right. I have more pockets in my own game and it is great to believe that we are going to surprise him. Once I go backwards to return; once I go forward, he doesn't know where I am anymore. I had to surprise him all the time. But to do that you have to be very concentrated because you must not get lost in all those changes. You have to choose the right moment.

Q. What would be your preferred surface to play the match of your dreams because you played the Finals in the US Open, in Wimbledon, and the semifinals in the French Open, which surface would you choose?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: If I play well as I am doing now, it would be clay.

Q. What Grand Slam tournament would you prefer to win?

CEDRIC PIOLINE: It is not difficult to guess, it would be Roland Garros.

End of FastScripts….

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