April 16, 2002
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. What should we remember from your first match on clay court of the season?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Not as bad as it seems in spite of the score. The number of breaks I was able to make. At least it was better than last year, that's for sure. Talking about the feeling on the court, now there's still a lot of work to do. It's not after two days of preparation in total that I was going to do miracles, especially on clay. It's taking a good direction, but there's a lot of work ahead.
Q. What was better at the level of your feelings on the court compared with last year? Moving, maybe?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Yes, the feelings on the court were good. In my opinion, my psychological approach maybe was better. Last year I felt very frustrated quickly.
Q. This year you just started on clay the day before yesterday?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: I touched my racquet Friday for half an hour, Saturday for one hour and five minutes in total, and Sunday almost the same. Yesterday, a bit more. For me, and for most of the players, it's not enough.
Q. Why were you in a better psychological mindset than last year?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Because this year I really wanted to succeed on clay, to do good things, to play good matches, and to try everything I could during the tournaments before the French Open so that I could come in to the French ready at my top level on that surface, and not at the top of my frustration, as was the case last year.
Q. And what about injuries?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: My injury is passed, but it took time. Once I had the results of the MRI, which were negative, which means there were no lesion or muscular problems, I could have started the same day like a crazy man. But I still kept my weekend for myself before hitting the ball. But I didn't force anything. Everything is in the right place now. No problem.
Q. You still have to play doubles, and you're going to play many singles this week?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: I'm mainly going to use the doubles to spend some time on this kind of surface, which is very important. Try to play good doubles and to win a maximum of them. After, on top of the doubles, I will work a lot, that's for sure.
Q. Before Rome and Hamburg, what is your program?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: I'll be in Barcelona next week, then I'll have a preparation week at home for sure. And then Rome, Hamburg, and after I'll certainly go up to Paris.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.