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September 2, 2009

Fabrice Santoro


J. FERRERO/F. Santoro
6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Thank you for all the good times. Many, many years from now, if your grandkids, if they came up to you and said, Hey, summarize the incredible career you had as an athlete, what would be the one word, the one phrase in English that you would use?
FABRICE SANTORO: Hmm. It's your job to find it, no?

Q. No.
FABRICE SANTORO: No, me? If I use one word, I would say passion. I love my sport. I did it in this life for so many years. I was so happy to be on the court. You can't do it if you're not completely in love with your sport. Can you do it for two, five, eight years maybe, but not 21.
One thing I will never forget for sure is when Pete said in Indian Wells probably 2000, he's a magician. That's one I will never forget.

Q. You said I believe in London that you were sort of many years behind the times. If you could start again, would you play the tour with this classic conventional shots, or has it just been too much fun and too enjoyable...
FABRICE SANTORO: I won't change anything, you know. The way I play tennis and the way I played the last 20 years was just a lot of very fun for me. It's unusual to play this way. I quickly understand that my style was different. And because of my different style, every match was a position of style on the court.
So for me it was very fun for me to play the top guys, try to find solution with my old game. Because when you look at the way I play tennis, I will be more comfortable to play in the '70s than now.
Playing this way for 30 to 40 years later and able to be competitive was the biggest challenge for me.

Q. If you were playing in the '70s, what kind of a ranking do you think you would have gotten back then against some of the other players? Would have been fun going up against the Harold Solomons of the world?
FABRICE SANTORO: Would be fun. I was talking with Jimmy Connors 15 minutes ago in the locker room, and we were talking about his period and the first time when we played in '92. Yeah, it's tough to answer, you know.
But probably in the '70s, all those powerful players who hurt me on the court was not there.

Q. Let's say it's around 1989 or so, you're just about to come out in your career. What would the boy Fabrice Santoro think of the career and the man that you are now with traveling the whole world, all your doubles titles, so much love for you, so many experiences? What would that little boy or that young man think?
FABRICE SANTORO: When I start in '89, I just decide to be professional tennis player. But I didn't know anything about the life of a professional tennis player. I thought, okay, I want to play tennis. I want tennis to be my job, but I never -- I was not conscious.
Never thought that tennis was being in the hotel eight months a year. And on one point, I think I was very lucky to live this way, because it's a great experience to go around the world six to eight months a year to meet new people, new culture, playing -- in three weeks when you play -- I mean, when you play one week France, one week in Bangkok, one week in New York, and one week in Moscow in the same month, it's something people can't -- sometimes they can't see it in one life because you see so many different things in the same month. So I'm very lucky to have a job for that point.
The bad point is you get that I am very far from home. That's pretty tough for me, especially since I'm dad, because my daughter is going to school. I'm very far from her quite a lot, and my point, too much.
She went to school for the first day yesterday, and I was not there. I was playing the US Open, and I was not able to be close to her. You miss some things of your private life, but you are so -- your professional life is very, very intense. It's wonderful.

Q. And do you ever wake up in a hotel and just have no clue where you are? How do you deal with that?
FABRICE SANTORO: I never wake up in a hotel like this, but I did it in a plane. In the middle of the night I was sleeping on the plane, and I wake up and I said, Where that plane is going? I didn't know. Took me like 15 to 30 seconds to say, Where am I going? Paris? New York? Where?

Q. Where was it going?

Q. Do you know where it was going?

Q. Many people are very critical of today's game, saying it has so much power it's not interesting, it's not intriguing. Where is the touch? Where is the finesse? Where is the crafting of the points? What are your thoughts on that whole critique of the lack of poetry in the game?
FABRICE SANTORO: The evolution of the game was becoming very powerful in the past ten years when you look at Nadal or Federer, now even Murray. Murray, Djokovic, Del Potro, all very, very strong. They hit the ball hard, they serve big.
But for sure it's good to play my style. I think people would maybe like to see more players like this. But if I was able to play like Federer, believe me, I would do it. I mean, you just have to do the best you can do to win matches and to be competitive on the tour.
All those players, they work four, five, six hours a day. When you work so hard, the only thing that counts is to win the match.

Q. You finished the same day as Safin.
FABRICE SANTORO: I was very happy to practice with Marat two days ago. On some points I think like him for the life, but where I'm different is like I still enjoying to be on the court and to play tennis.

Q. I know you've been looking forward to this for quite some time, and once you get to where you're not away all the time, how hard do you think it's going to be to adjust and to, quote unquote, normal kind of existence?
FABRICE SANTORO: Give me two years to answer this one. I don't know, because I really want to -- I'm asking for a normal life, but I don't know what is a normal life.

Q. That's my point.
FABRICE SANTORO: I want to live one way. I don't know. So I will get the answer in the next two years.
At the moment, I pick up a racquet when I was six, almost seven. Thirty years later, I'm going to quit. During thirty years, every morning I was having my bag, put the shoes in the bag; your racquet; your strings; you go to practice; you're going to play some tournaments; you travel; you win matches; you lose some. You go to the hotel and you travel again, and that was my life for thirty years.
Now I'm going to change, and I want to be home. I want to see my friends; I want to spend more time with my daughter; I want to live like normal life. But that's the question: What is a normal life?

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