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June 16, 2007

Nicolas Mahut


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Nicolas.

Q. How surprised were you to reach the final?
NICOLAS MAHUT: How to say? It's a big day for me, you know. Before the tournament, I didn't know. I was not in the main draw. I was supposed to play quallies. Six days later, I am playing in the final against Andy.
You know, yesterday was a really great day. I beat Ljubicic and Nadal. It was like a dream. Today it was very difficult to play. It rained a bit. We had to play on Court 1. It was a very difficult day.

Q. How did you feel after playing so much tennis yesterday? Did you wake up this morning and feel tired?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Yes, a little bit tired. But I didn't think about that. I was just focused on the match. I just wanted to win this match. I will think about this later, tomorrow or Monday (smiling).

Q. What are your thoughts about playing somebody who has won the title three times here already?
NICOLAS MAHUT: You know, he's maybe the best grass player on the tour, after Roger of course. You know, I beat Nadal yesterday, so I think I have chances tomorrow.

Q. You've come through this draw kind of quietly surprising everybody. Do you now feel you belong in the top echelons of the sport? Has that recent experience made you feel like you belong a little bit more?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Yeah, it's really good for my confidence. But, like I said before, we just remember the winner, not the runner-up. I will really want to win tomorrow.

Q. As it stands, even if you win tomorrow, you've got to go to qualifying for Wimbledon, is that right?
NICOLAS MAHUT: Yes, on Monday (smiling). For me it's like a Grand Slam. You know, I play this week and I have to play next week to be in. It's okay for me.

Q. Your career promised a lot when you were a junior. You won Wimbledon boy's title. Because of things that happened off the court that made it difficult for you, your career dipped a little bit. Do you feel everything is now going the right way again?
NICOLAS MAHUT: I hope so. I will play my first final. Yeah, maybe it's a new start.

Q. Can you tell us what you're doing differently this week?
NICOLAS MAHUT: I don't know. I just played match after match, just tried to play my game, enjoy it. I don't know, I just tried very hard to win, and I won.

Q. Is grass your best surface?
NICOLAS MAHUT: I think it is now (smiling).

Q. What did you think before?
NICOLAS MAHUT: I really thought it was my best surface. Last year I lost only in the third round against Federer at Wimbledon, and third round at Queen's, too, against Tim Henman. It was already my best surface.

Q. You swapped your shirts with Arnaud at the end. Is this a tradition?
NICOLAS MAHUT: No, it was the first time. We said we have to do something special today for that match, and we did that.

Q. You won't do it with Andy tomorrow then?

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