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December 2, 2010

Arnaud Clement

Guy Forget

Michael Llorda

Gael Monfils

Gilles Simon


THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the first press conference of the French national team after the official draw. We will start with English questions.

Q. Captain, do you think the draw gives you the edge on the opening day because your No. 1 player is coming out first to play Serbia's No. 2 player? Is that a good draw for you, do you think?
CAPTAIN FORGET: I never thought the draw was really something very, very important. All the guys that are sitting here have enough experience that they can go out and play a good match or wait for three hours and play a good match after that.
You know, I'm glad that Gael is starting. But what really matters is the result more than the actual fact that he's going to go on first, so...

Q. Mr. Monfils, can you tell us something about your match against Tipsarevic.
GAEL MONFILS: I think it's going to be a great match. I played him last time in US Open. I expect a tough match from the baseline. I know Janko. He will be very nervous because he plans to come out first on the court in front of the Serbian crowd. It will be tough for him.
I will try to be very relaxed and just play my game.

Q. Mr. Simon, your match against Djokovic?
GILLES SIMON: Well, of course, it's going to be very hard. He's one of the best players in the world. So I expect a very hard match.
I have nothing to lose. I will just play my match and I will try to focus on my tennis.

Q. Mr. Monfils, are you satisfied because you will play first?
GAEL MONFILS: I mean, I think it's great because, I mean, I'm happy to play first. Now I get used to it. So for me it doesn't really matter.
I think maybe for the team, if I bring the first point in, it will put more pressure on Novak. And Gilles can play like a better match if we're 1-0 up. So I think it's good for the team.

Q. Mr. Llodra, will you play doubles against Zimonjic and Viktor. What do you think of the match? Same for Mr. Clement.
ARNAUD CLEMENT: It's going to be the same answer (smiling).
MICHAEL LLODRA: No, it's going to be interesting. It's going to be tough. It's always a pleasure to play with Arnaud. We have to play our best tennis to beat them, so we see on the court now.

Q. Gael, the surface I'm assuming is a lot slower than Bercy a couple of weeks ago. What are your thoughts on playing over here?
GAEL MONFILS: To be honest, I prefer this surface than the Bercy one because I think Bercy was too fast this year.
But here, yeah, it's slow, and the bounce stay low. I will address my game. But I think physically I'm all right, so I'm quite good to be very long on this surface. I'm happy.

Q. Captain, did you expect Tipsarevic to be named as Serbia's No. 2 player or did you expect Troicki?
CAPTAIN FORGET: When you qualify your team and you win two big matches in the semifinals in that arena, I think it would have been very hard for the captain not to pick him unless he's playing very bad or he's injured.
We were kind of expecting that maybe he was going to play. But, you know, whether it's one or the other, the problem stays the same. Gael knows he's going to have to put a good match in to win because Janko is a tough opponent. It's one of the points I'm looking for a win.
As I said, I think every match is open. Some matches we are favorite; some matches they are favorite. We'll see what happens on the court.

Q. Captain, what do you think will be the match of decision for this tie? Doubles?
CAPTAIN FORGET: Yeah, doubles could be a big point. But when you play these kind of matches and you have such good players on both sides of the net. Anything can happen.
We played against Spain in the quarterfinals. We could have won all the matches and we could have lost them. We won 5-Love. I didn't expect that.
When you play such tough matches, you know that things can go either way on any of the matches. That's why all the players here take matches really seriously and they know there is no weak parts in the Serbian team. They know that each point that we win is a big success. We have to move forward and think like this. No matter what the score is, no matter what the conditions will be, they have to win game after game.

Q. Captain, I would like to ask if it was difficult to choose between Mr. Simon and Michael Llodra?
CAPTAIN FORGET: Well, as I said, when you have players of this level, and Richard Gasquet was training with us, he's here, not at this table, but he could have played and won a match or two. You know, I didn't take him.
It's always a tough choice to choose someone because you let someone down. But now it's a privilege to play. I expect Gilles to play a great match against Novak. I expect Michael to play great doubles with Arnaud. They've done so many times in the past.
I mean, my opinion, that was the best choice for the French team. The Sunday matches probably will count. That leaves me probably some more options doing it this way.
Once again, I have a lot of confidence in Gilles, because Gilles has been a top-10 player, has been in the best place in the world in his career. I know he's going to play a very hard match against Novak.

Q. Spain has Nadal. The Swiss have Federer. France doesn't have a real No. 1 in the world, but many great players. In many years, you are able to put players in the top 10, play Davis Cup finals. What does that mean in your opinion, that France is the leader of nations in tennis?
CAPTAIN FORGET: I think France and Spain at the moment are one of the strongest nations in terms of depth. Of course, we don't have a Grand Slam winner yet. Hopefully one of the guys that's here in this room will maybe make it one day.
One of the strengths as well is that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was our No. 1 player and hasn't played the last two matches. On the other hand, these guys have been able to make the finals without Jo. I don't know if Serbia could have gone to the finals without Novak.
On the other hand, Spain, which is a good example, won Davis Cup without Rafael Nadal when they went in Buenos Aires to beat Argentina. That was a great effort. That's when you realize how strong a team can be, is you can miss one of your best players and still be very competitive.
I hope it will stay this way. Some of these guys are very young and hopefully for the next five years they can be competitive, unlike Arnaud Clement, but he's still competitive.

Q. To both Gilles and to Gael, it's almost showtime. How are you feeling? What are you expecting with regard to the matches tomorrow, the atmosphere, the excitement, how you prepare?
GILLES SIMON: Well, as we said, I think it's going to be a hard match for both of us. For me it will maybe also depend on the rhythm before.
As I said, I will just play my tennis. I know what I have to do on the court to be able to defeat Novak. I know it's not going to be easy, but I already defeated him once. I already defeated Roger and Rafa also. I know that I will have to play this kind of tennis if I want to have a chance to win.
It's clear in my mind and I just hope that I will be able to do it.
GAEL MONFILS: I'm really looking forward because it will be a new experience, I think an amazing atmosphere. I'm kind of nervous, you know. But I think it's part of the game. I like it.
I practiced all these days for this moment, to feel the pressure I have right now. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. It will be a good experience, and then I will be happy to share with you.

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