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August 15, 2006

Gael Monfils


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I saw the last couple games of the match. I assume the rest of it might have been the same. It was very exciting. The crowd was really into it. How exciting, dramatic, was the end of the match?
GAËL MONFILS: First, I think the first feeling I was feeling was to play my first tournament since Wimbledon. So feel comfortable with the (indiscernible), feel comfortable on the court, so it was good today.
Then after I get a lot of respect for Marat, so I think I not really make a real show like I want because when I was young I was watching him a lot. So I thought maybe I was a little bit shy maybe against him.
But right after the game I think we was playing a good game. I get a good hit today on my baseline, I was very strong on my baseline. I think I get a little bit (piece?) because I return every ball, and maybe that way I win and also close like this.
Then after, the last game was terrible because I think we are both under pressure, and now is no respect because it was too close. I think I need this emotion to play my best tennis.

Q. Did it help when the people started getting excited? Definitely the last few points, everyone was clapping.
GAËL MONFILS: Yeah, I think so, yeah, because I made an ace, and the last point was maybe serve a good serve. So I think, yeah, like this, I think I can play my best tennis.

Q. How long did it take you to forget that you were playing Marat Safin? Were you able to block that out of your mind eventually?
GAËL MONFILS: Yeah, because before I spoke a lot with my coach and he just tell me, Play your game and don't watch Marat, he is a good player, you know that, but you are a good player as well so give your best, is like your first match, so enjoy on the court and try to do your best. And I think I did great today.

Q. Have you had some matches this year that felt like very important wins to you? I know you beat Andy Roddick, you beat James Blake, maybe some other matches. What were some ones that really helped you, helped your confidence?
GAËL MONFILS: You know, today was totally different because like one month and a half was not on the tour. So I think I was only think about my good practice with my coach, with a couple set for fun, practice sets. But I never look very back because I beat Roddick and Blake on clay court, and we are on hard court. So only try to focus on my game and do my best.

Q. Can you talk about your injury. What happened, and when did you hurt your foot?
GAËL MONFILS: I hurt my foot two days before Wimbledon. I twist my foot and I get inflammation for the ligament right here (indicating the side of the foot. ) I try to play Wimbledon, but I think it was not very good idea because like three days after I made IRM, pictures, and I see I get a pull in my ligament.
So I stop one month and I try to practice again, and still painful. So I think I wait like three more weeks and then just the week -- one week half ago I think I practiced again, and it was good, so I chose to come here. Maybe was too short, but I think I give my best like one week ago, and I had very feeling comfortable so I say I can play here.

Q. You were feeling comfortable a week ago, you said?
GAËL MONFILS: Physically. Not my game, but physically. Then after, I know my game will come with some match and maybe with the pressure. So that's why I choose to come.

Q. Because this was on hard courts and as you said not clay courts, was this maybe more exciting to beat a player like Marat and do it on hard court?
GAËL MONFILS: No, not really. I just played James and Roddick on clay court. I think it's same, clay court and hard court. But it's totally different game because James and Marat have not the same game. I think it was different condition. Roddick, I play in the night in clay. It was very dark. Was helping me. But I played him in Lyon on indoor court and it was totally different in France, with the pressure in final. And here, my first round, I come back.
So it was different. I think I have to take match after match, and only focus about the match and not about the player and my past.

Q. What was it like for you getting to the fourth round of the French Open?
GAËL MONFILS: It was a good satisfaction for me because it was the first time I made the second week on one Grand Slam. So, yeah, it was satisfaction. And did this in France in front my family and my friends, so for me that was amazing for me.

Q. Can you talk about the match a little bit today. You kind of have similar styles, both really heavy hitters, very emotional players. What does that mean for you to beat Marat coming off your injury?
GAËL MONFILS: I think it was a good win, but I know -- I think Marat, he not playing really his best game because I think he don't have more confidence like in 2004 when he won Australian Open. But I think he's still a very good player, and I'm very proud to beat him in two sets. So for me it's a good win.

Q. Are you a different player than you were last year? Have you gotten that much better? How would you...
GAËL MONFILS: I don't know. Just tell me (smiling).

Q. Are you feeling more comfortable?
GAËL MONFILS: Every time I feel comfortable.

Q. No different?
GAËL MONFILS: No. Maybe yes; but for me, it's same.

End of FastScripts...

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