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May 25, 2024

Gael Monfils

Paris, France

Press Conference

(In French.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. What is your state of mind and your physical condition before your first round?

GAEL MONFILS: I'm glad to be back here for the French Open. It's a great pleasure. It's magical. Physically speaking, I feel better. I had the flu. I don't know how to call it. But it's going away slowly but surely.

Q. (Off microphone.)

GAEL MONFILS: Well, yes. Progressively it's going away but not yet.

Q. A few months ago you went to Montpellier, you lost during the first round and there was a press conference where you said you needed to have self-confidence to feel at ease in your game. This is what you were looking for. What has changed since then? Have you found some solutions?

GAEL MONFILS: Yes. I think I have more matches under my belt. The opponent played quite well. It was a three-setter. So I won quite a few matches since then, so I'm happy. It has evolved quite well.

Now it's the last tournament on clay before the Olympic Games, if I ever qualify for the Olympic Games, but I'll try to perform well during this tournament. It's not an easy period for me, because I feel less well, and the surface is coming up less easy for me, but that's where I take most pleasure. It's a privilege to play these last tournaments.

Q. Were it not the French Open, you would be in your bed, right?

GAEL MONFILS: The doctor would have given me less medicine to take. That's why I think I'm good enough to play on the court.

Q. Alize said that it was not always easy for her with the public. Can you tell us what's your take on the atmosphere and the court with the public?

GAEL MONFILS: I was very lucky. The public was always fabulous for whatever happened. I always felt good. There were always completely crazy stories going on, and I had disastrous matches. That's why I was saying that there were ups and downs.

Against whom. Against Mikael Ymer. I did 65 or 70 unforced errors. I was so bad. But the public was there supporting me. I lost against Bublik, as well. I was so bad, as well. There was not a lot of crowd at the time.

But I was so lucky every time, because the public was defending me, was supporting me. And they understood every time. They understood me and they would support me. I never lied to them. I would tell them, you know, I'm not going on well or I'm going well and then I'm going to party if I lose or if I win. I'll try to do my utmost, and we all try to have a great time.

Q. A few words on your first-round opponent. He really did well. He performed well last time.

GAEL MONFILS: Well, it's going to be a tough match. What's tough is that I don't know what to say. Because we are always very polite as first, you know. But I don't know what to say. He's a very good player. What's difficult is that we're polite, because he's really a good player, and I just hope to perform well on my part and that we have a riveting match.

Of course I will try to highlight his good track record, because he's a good player, of course. I don't know what he's done, but he's won so many matches. This is why he's actually playing this tournament. But I want us to have fun, and if I manage to win, then it would be good for me, and if I lose, well, it will be less cool and I will wait for the Olympic Games to take place.

Q. For some time now, you have been sharing your daily life via vlogs and your Twitch channel. Is that a way for you to be closer to your fans? What does it bring to you? Because you're showing your daily life.

GAEL MONFILS: There is another platform on LinkedIn. I'm writing much more, as well, because I try to share the end of my career with other people at different levels. I write more about what I feel personally, and it's more serious as well on LinkedIn. I try to take more time writing my posts. I need to find inspiration. What I want to do is to share what I really feel.

Two, three days ago I talked about what it is to feel pressure ahead of the French Open. It's nice to showcase what this is all about to the public as much as possible, to be as transparent as possible.

As for the vlogs, it's live, you can't cheat. I don't like to cheat, I don't like to lie, and I always answer honestly and frankly without thinking.

It's a way for me as I reach the end of my career to open the door to my daily life to show what my life is all about, what it is to be a high-level athlete. It may be hard, but it's not impossible. We have our personal life. And when I say that it helps us being closer to our fans, well, people feel that they know you better.

They know your relatives. People would come and want to take pictures, and they would forget saying hi to the people around me, like my family. It makes things more human. I have fun doing it. I have fun doing that.

There are new people on my team that have a strong presence in my daily life, and it's new adventures ahead of me. I even wondered, at one point what I was thinking, maybe one day I would say farewell to all and then my career maybe we could have a documentary on my career with all the shootings we did.

It's a way for me to leave a mark behind me.

Q. It may be the last French Open of Richard Gasquet, Nadal, and Murray, and there is no favorite. Do you feel there is a special atmosphere for this tournament this year?

GAEL MONFILS: It may be hard for you, but for myself it is not. We never have any certainty. Your guess is as good as mine. They are still playing. They won't play 40 tournaments, that's for sure. They don't have 40 tournaments left, but we should enjoy it as much as we can.

I wonder if we're not going back to traditional tournaments as they were played a long time ago, because, you know, the last 20 years are not run-of-the-mill normal years.

(In English.)

Q. How do you feel compared to last year physically? How are the conditions on the court compared to 2023?

GAEL MONFILS: You know, I feel so much better that for sure I'm standing in front of you. I think, I don't know, I'm 38 in the world and I was 400 last year. So I can barely tell you that I was barely running, running great. Actually it was really tough physically for me last year.

This year is a bit better. Everything is better of course this year but a bit too late. Turning 38, so is better but still harder at the same time. But anyway, that's the life process.

I'm just happy to be here again this year. Hopefully the body will be great enough to play the first match, and if it's more than the first match, I can maybe this time play the second one. But I'm enjoying myself, my time. Everything is good.

(In French.)

Q. Last year during your first round, the match was against Sebastian Baez. It was totally crazy. There were strong sensations. There were a lot of ups-and-downs. Are you looking for such sensations, such emotions? Is it the kind of match you want to live again?

GAEL MONFILS: You know, we are always delighted to have such matches, but when I think about the pain that I suffered afterwards, then it's another kettle of fish. I would like to have less cramps, not to be as tired, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Well, you know, you always want to have emotions and to have tough matches.

Towards the end, what I like, you know, it's just to give 100% of myself. It's not 100% of Gael Monfils prime but maybe 70% because -- you know, anyway, 70% is just enough for me. I try to be as tough an opponent as I can be. I just try to enjoy myself as much as I can.

If I can do better, because sometimes you never know, I manage to find my prime level, and sometimes I can step up my game and reach 100%. Sometimes I can even reach 150% of my game level. Then it's cool.

I don't expect it so much, but sometimes, during some matches, physically I feel good, I run well, I move well, sometimes too well, and sometimes afterwards then I'm overwhelmed, but it lasts 10 minutes.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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