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January 8, 2022

Gael Monfils

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Press Conference

G. MONFILS/T. Kokkinakis

7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Talk us through your thoughts on the game tonight.

GAEL MONFILS: A slow start in the way that I think I was stressed because I felt like I made a lot of mistake at the beginning, was rushing a lot my shots. I save a couple of breakpoints with gutsy shots, to be honest, and very lucky. I felt through the match I felt better, I found my rhythm better. Also drop the unforced errors. Then I propose him like a challenge physically the match.

In the end I felt like Thanasi was tired. It was just to move him and be enough aggressive to make him run. I felt it was good at the end.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling about your form, where your game is at entering this season?

GAEL MONFILS: The pandemia was a big break for me. I was playing my best tennis before all of that happen, then I was really struggling with all of that.

Obviously I play tennis for those kind of atmosphere tonight, stadium packed. It's for that you practice for and you desire to play for. That's why I say I was stressed at the beginning. It's this adrenaline that I was missing a lot.

North America was much better, then Europe was good. Made the final as well and play a solid match against a top player. Just felt like it was better and I was in a better mood as well.

Now, had a great pre-season and just feel myself great. Will try to start a fresh new season with good matches under my belt at the start. Also good form. I had a good form at the end of the season. Keep it through the pre-season. Now I feel better. Hopefully tomorrow I can have another good match.

Q. You've known Thanasi for a while. A word on him.

GAEL MONFILS: He's amazing player. He's a great, great, great, talented player. He can do so much with all the shots honestly.

I think he was very unlucky with his body, struggling with his body. His tennis is definitely on the top of the game. Especially in Australia, he's always a tough opponent.

Honestly I really hope he will recover well because I felt he was playing well last night, a three hours' match, very intense. Today was tough. I think he had fuel for one set, then it was a little bit tougher physically for him.

I have no doubt that for the Aussie he will be ready, even next week play good tennis. Even if he wants to rest a little bit, I think he's going to be a tough opponent for anyone.

Q. Have you set targets this year, what you think you can do in 2022?

GAEL MONFILS: I just want to get back on top of the game. I think I'm 21 or something like that. Before the pandemia I think I was 9 or something like that. Just get back on the top of the game, a little bit higher. Play as many matches as I can win, play some final, win some final.

Obviously the goal is always to shine in the big tournament, try to have this crack. I still believe I can. I'm working hard for that.

Q. You're great to watch, the crowd loves you. How important is the balance between winning matches but making sure you are enjoying yourself?

GAEL MONFILS: Always say people are mistaken. You have fun but you want to win. You're on the court to win. If you entertain people, it's great, it's amazing, but you want to win.

Sometime people I think they mistaken. You have the ability to jump or do some stuff. You do it because you have the ability for. You're not doing it you have fun. You are doing it because you like it and you pretty sure -- I mean you have the confidence to try it and to make it. I'm doing it because I want to win the point as well.

And have fun, it's just me. I've been raising like that, to have fun. As I say, at the beginning of the match I had fun, but not really. I was very tight. You can see a lot of unforced errors. Not really me.

I have to be loose and I have to have this creativity, interaction in the balance in my game. If not, it's so much tougher for me to find my best tennis.

THE MODERATOR: Tomorrow is your first game against Karen. How do you think your game will match up against his?

GAEL MONFILS: It's going to be a tough one. Karen is a tough opponent. At the beginning of the year we have a few practice, great battles, actually before. It's going to be a tough one.

I expect just to have a good start in a way not too stress, in a way like today. Today I felt like at the beginning I was struggling a little bit. It took me time.

I have to get in this game quite quick and show him that I'm a rock.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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