January 9, 2022
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
R. NADAL/M. Cressy
Q. How was it playing on Centre Court in front of a packed stadium?
MAXIME CRESSY: No, it was a phenomenal feeling. I was a little scared at first. I'm not used to that kind of crowd. But I did play in front of crowds like this in college at UCLA or when we played USC, our rival school.
But like that, I've never experienced that much of a crowd before. It was very intimidating, and playing Rafa, it was very difficult for me at the beginning, but as I play him more and more, I believe I'll handle it better.
Q. You mentioned intimidating, but you weren't over-awed by the situation, which was amazing because the first set was so close. You must be really pleased with how your game was playing out today.
MAXIME CRESSY: Yeah, very happy with how I'm playing, but I've been putting in the work day in, day out, so I'm not surprised I can get to that level because I've sacrificed a lot. But no, I'm very pleased with the level I'm getting at, and I look forward to keeping improving.
Q. Your serve-and-volley style is pretty unique these days on tour. What's it like trying to do that against Rafa?
MAXIME CRESSY: Well, I actually thought that it was working really well, especially even though it was a little tight, I still thought that he wasn't comfortable. He wasn't feeling very comfortable returning.
No, I feel it's very efficient because it puts the player not in their safety zone, and I believe it's going to be efficient against everyone. I played a lot of players and haven't really seen many guys actually enjoy playing it, that kind of style. No, I'm very happy about it.
Q. You've come a long way since your days at UCLA; looking back, how do you think your college experience has shaped the player that you are?
MAXIME CRESSY: The college experience has helped me so much to deal with a lot of stressful situations, and playing for a school, playing for my team at UCLA is definitely something very big, and it can get very stressful in handling these kind of situations, especially playing in places like in Georgia, University of Georgia, where it was packed at night with a lot of drunk people. Playing these kind of conditions helps so much.
No, I built some very strong bonds, and the coaching staff helped me a lot there. They helped me believe that I can get to the next level on the professional tour, especially being surrounded by players like Mackie McDonald and Billy Martin, who was a phenomenal player, as well. It was great being surrounded -- also with Marcos Giron. He was the volunteer assistant coach there my freshman year. It was phenomenal for me to experience UCLA, and it definitely helped me build a strong self-esteem for the tour.
Q. You say that you are confident -- you realize that you can play at this level. What did things start to click for you mentally? When did you feel that, that you were able to take on the very best players?
MAXIME CRESSY: I think when I started playing Tsitsipas a year and a half ago. That's when I realized that I wasn't -- that I expected the level to be much higher than it actually was, and I realized that it was more mental than the level in itself. Playing these kind of players like Tsitsipas and Zverev made me realize that they're very stable mentally, and that's one of the biggest differences that separated these guys from the other ones.
Now I've been only working -- mostly working on that, on being able to stay consistent mentally. Playing these guys really made me realize that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports