December 28, 2022
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Let's welcome Team France to the United Cup.
Edouard, welcome to United Cup. Talk us through how excited you are to be leading France and maybe also introduce your team.
CAPTAIN ROGER-VASSELIN: Hello, everyone. Well, I'm very excited to be the captain of this wonderful team. I'm sure we are going to have fun, we have a fun team. We want to go far. We have a great team to probably, I mean, hopefully win the group stage. But, yeah, we have great opponents, as well.
So, yeah, I'm happy to lead this great team with Caroline Garcia, No. 1 woman, and No. 2, we have Alize Cornet. The first man will be Arthur Rinderknech. And No. 2 is Adrian Mannarino behind me, and could enter the mixed doubles maybe, we have Leolia Jeanjean, Manuel Guinard, Jessika Ponchet, and myself.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Alize, starting off for Team France tomorrow night. How excited are you?
ALIZE CORNET: Yeah, I wonder if I'm not the first player to play in this competition tomorrow. I'm ready. I had to leave very early from France to be here on time and get ready. I actually spent Christmas on the plane with Caroline. So it's been three days we're here getting used to the conditions.
This arena brings back a lot of memories because we won the Fed Cup here three years ago. A lot of good vibes around here and definitely excited to be on the court and give my best for the team.
Q. A couple years ago here for the Fed Cup, how happy are you to be back here? Is this a good luck charm for you?
ALIZE CORNET: That's how I feel about Perth in general. I won the Hopman Cup in 2014 and the Fed Cup in 2019. Yesterday when we had our first hit on center court with Caroline, we had a little moment of emotions coming back on this court. It was very powerful, this team experience, and this joy of winning the Fed Cup.
So I hope this lucky charm is going to act on this team, because like the captain said, we have a really good team to go far in the tournament.
So, yeah, I just can't wait for the competition to finally start tomorrow.
Q. Caroline, same thing?
CAROLINE GARCIA: Yeah, for sure, very excited to be back in Perth. Like Alize said, winning the Fed Cup was crazy emotion. We were facing all stage, very few French. It was very powerful between the team members.
I'm very happy to be here again. The arena is very amazing. Really happy looking forward to play for the French team again.
Q. You take on Nadia in two days. How do you feel heading into that match first up for the summer?
CAROLINE GARCIA: Yeah, for sure, I'm very excited to have the new season started, and it's going to be a big match. It's pretty funny, my coach used to coach her, so I don't know how is it going to go.
It's great matches. You have to start. Obviously the offseason was good. But matches are matches, and you need rhythm, and I will try my best and give everything.
Q. Are you feeling the best you have ever felt?
CAROLINE GARCIA: Not yet. The offseason you need a couple of matches to get the confidence. Confident from the practices is very different from the matches and the tournament.
Obviously I have been able to work way harder than I worked last year because of injury, and we are very happy the way it's going, but we have to be patient and focus one day at a time.
Q. Arthur, Diego pulled out, your opponent, how does that change your preparation?
ARTHUR RINDERKNECH: Well, it doesn't change too much, I would say. I played against Diego in the past. I played against Cerundolo in the past as well. So I know them both. It's just going to be another matchup. Not going to change much. Just looking forward for this match and hopefully get the point for the team.
Q. Caroline, reaching a semifinal of a Grand Slam for the first time, what did that do to your confidence and how close do you feel being able to go all the way in one of those Grand Slams?
CAROLINE GARCIA: Yeah, for sure it gave me a lot of confidence. It was something I was not really able to achieve in the past, so my dream and my goal is always to win a slam, so obviously make it more concrete to be able to make it to the semifinal, but it's still the highest steps to reach, and I will try. You know, obviously it may get more possible and I will try my best.
Q. What sort of goals have you set yourself for 2023?
CAROLINE GARCIA: This one.
Q. Alize, you're one of the fan favorites here in Perth, Hopman Cup appearances. I think what everyone loved the most...
ALIZE CORNET: The drama, right? You want some drama, I give you drama.
Q. I think you had breathing difficulties but you kept fighting and fighting. Can you talk us through your fighting spirit? You just never give up?
ALIZE CORNET: That's just the way I am. I'm really happy because I improved a lot my attitude these past years. Now it's all about the fight, all about giving my best, and I'm much more positive. So it's a little less drama, which is good, and more fighting spirit.
Yeah, I'm never giving up. I think that's a good quality as a tennis player. I think it's gonna help as a team event, you know, every point counts, every game, every set. So I will not let go a single point. I think the team will appreciate it, and I hope they will be behind me because I will need them. (Laughter.)
Q. Edouard, how important is it in the big picture having this mixed event, the tours coming together?
CAPTAIN ROGER-VASSELIN: Yeah, I think it's really good. It's the first time in the history to have this mixed event. I'm really looking forward to see how the atmosphere is between us, between the team also, but for sure it's going to be a great event and it will be even better if we win this one.
Q. Caroline, this is the second time you have started a season in the top 5, if I'm not...
CAROLINE GARCIA: I was 7 the other time.
Q. Top 10. Just wondered, how does it feel different to 2018?
CAROLINE GARCIA: Yeah, I think five years change a lot in the way you manage things. I think I got experience from the past as well, and obviously the ranking is important but it doesn't means who you are, how you play or whatever.
So I just try to do my thing, practice as well as I can and do things maybe just helps to get some practice courts, things like that, makes your life easier, but after, you're still the same person.
Q. Arthur, obviously you had a bit of a breakthrough in Australia last year in Adelaide, getting to that final. Does that motivate you coming back this year?
ARTHUR RINDERKNECH: Yeah, of course, like you said I played really well last year and I enjoyed the Australian swing, it was my first one. Yeah, it was great to be here in discover all these things and this country in general. Yeah, just looking forward to have another good month in Australia. Hopefully starting with the team and then by myself in Melbourne, Adelaide. Yeah.
Q. Alize, this time last year you thought you were about to start the last season of your career. At what point did you change your mind? What's your mindset going into 2023?
ALIZE CORNET: Yeah, I was not sure about my decision about stopping last year, but obviously I came into that season thinking that it could be the last one. It made me enjoy actually even more tournaments, and I think that's why I played good.
I had a lot of fun. I played with much less pressure, and I enjoyed my time on the court so much, and I was like, Okay, why not just playing another year, I'm healthy. Fitness-wise, I feel really good on the court.
I came back into the top 50, am 36 in the world. I don't see any reason in the close future to just stop for now, but, you know, I think when the right moment will come, I will feel it. For now I just want to enjoy every tournament like it was the last. I think it worked pretty well last year. Yeah, I'm going to do the same for this season.
Q. Caroline, this week you might get to play Petra Martic, which could be an exciting match. You've played her quite a few times already. What do you think are the decisive factors in that matchup?
CAROLINE GARCIA: Yeah, but I think with the format, every match and every game is important. If you cannot qualify as first one, it would be the second one, and so every match is very important for the team. But also as your personal goal, you want to keep improving, play the best you can when you're on court. Petra is also a good test, a good challenge.
We had some few matches very tight in the past, and, yeah, we have some kind of the same weapons, so we see who can use it the most. But it would be very interesting match for sure.
Q. Leolia and Jessika, you both had some great results this season. Wondering how your experience is going being on the team.
LEOLIA JEANJEAN: It's obviously a pleasure to be around such great players being in the same team. It's a first time here for me in Australia, so it's even better.
But, yeah, I'm just really happy to be part of the team and I will help them as much as I can. That's it.
JESSIKA PONCHET: Yeah, I'm super happy to be here, for sure. I love Australia since the first day actually. Be here with a team, it's the first time for me I play in the team like this. I'm super happy and I'm going to support as much as we can. Yeah, after, I'm super happy. I think the team is like it's wonderful. We just need to play.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports