March 15, 2001
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
MODERATOR: Questions for Nicolas.
Q. Were you surprised at the play of Clement? He didn't seem to be himself.
NICOLAS ESCUDE: No, I'm not surprised. All the match, French against French, it's all the time the same story. Both together, a bit nervous. It's all the time like that.
Q. How many times have you played Clement?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: I already play against him in the French tournament.
Q. What is your record against him?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: He was beating me last year in French Open.
Q. Why would a French player become nervous playing another French player when he wouldn't become nervous playing somebody else?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Usually it's the best of the French player are more nervous than the second one. Clement was 12 in the ranking. I'm 37. He was more nervous than me.
Q. How nervous were you?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Me?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: I was a little bit nervous, but I have nothing to lose today. I just play my game and try to do my best and win the match. It was more to lose him today as me.
Q. How do you analyze your position in the tournament now?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: I don't know. I don't want to say I want to be in the final, I want to win the tournament. I just prefer to say I'm going to do my best for the next match, try to win, and I'm going to see. I think it's better like that.
Q. Were you surprised you won so easily?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: Easy, I didn't, yeah. I'm surprised because he missed his match completely. I'm a little surprised. I already said, it's all the time like that, all the Frenchmans. Last year I play against Pioline in second round or first round, it was exactly the same thing. I beat him 6-4, 6-1, something like that. It was the same match.
Q. You were having a very tough time with your game up until just a few weeks ago. Is there any one thing that you can point to why you improved all of a sudden?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: The beginning of the year was very good for me. I make semifinal in Doha. I got a match point against Ulihrach to be in the final, but I lose. First tournament after Australian Open, I got an injury, so I miss the second match against Roger Federer. It was tough after for me to come back and to won some match. After the three or fourth tournament I play, I lost all the match, all the first round, with match point. It was very difficult for me to stay focus and to be relax. I continue to work, to keep straight my ambition. The week of Rotterdam, after Marseille, I lost first round with match point. I say, "Okay, I stop play tennis during three weeks, one month, and I coming back." I won the tournament, so it's a crazy game.
Q. What was the injury had you in Australia?
NICOLAS ESCUDE: It was leg.
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