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January 13, 2011

Gilles Simon


G. SIMON/A. Dolgopolov
6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Into the semifinals. How do you feel you played today?
GILLES SIMON: Today it was very hard to play. The conditions are extremely hard. There is a lot of wind. On one side the wind is - I mean, it's hard to serve, so I feel like it's difficult to play your best tennis in this condition.
But I did well. (Laughter.) That was fine.

Q. How is your confidence leading into Melbourne? 2009 was, I think, your best result in a Grand Slam there, so you must enjoy it.
GILLES SIMON: Well, it's a nice tournament. I like to start the season in Australia. I mean, it's a nice country. Normally the weather is better than that, but, yeah, it's a tournament I like to play.
The first time I reached top 100 was there. I qualified; reached the third round; it was a good experience. I always feel good before this tournament.

Q. You couldn't play last year because of your knee.

Q. Do you feel like you're still climbing back to your best from the knee injury? Obviously your ranking is still down from where it was before.
GILLES SIMON: I feel like it's -- yeah, I'm playing better. I feel better on the court; I am moving well.
My ranking, you know, the ranking you have to play one year to do your best ranking. So I think if I continue this way, I will come back in the top 20 for Wimbledon.
But you never know what's going to happen. Maybe it will be easier because I won't be seeded in the Australian Open. It's extremely difficult to say what I want to do, because it will, of course, depend of the draw.
The only thing I know is that I'm playing good; I'm moving very well on the court, as fast as I used to before. So I feel okay. (Smiling.)

Q. Is there anything in particular you focused on in your off-season training?
GILLES SIMON: I didn't have time because there was the Davis Cup final in the middle. (Laughter.) So I didn't have time to do what I wanted.
But I'm working hard since I played in Eastbourne last year. Every time I have three, four days, I am never wasting my time. I try to practice as hard as possible. Depends of the match, of the results also, but I know that I have to do that if I want to play as good as 2008.

Q. When you came back from your knee injury, were you moving well or has that just improved gradually since?
GILLES SIMON: No, it's improved a lot. My physical trainer is 47 years old, and when we were running he was faster than me. He's still fit, but still, I was one of the fastest player on the tour.
And finally, trust me, I'm moving far better now than three or four months ago.

Q. What's the state of French tennis like at the moment? Obviously still lots of competition and lots of players in the top 100.
GILLES SIMON: Well, we have many players. A little bit less than a few years ago I think in the top 100, but we have more player in the top 10 or top 20 the three last years. I don't know. Maybe the French Federation is doing a good work maybe.
No, but tennis is important in France. Many kids wants to play. It's very important sport - after football, soccer first.
But when you have a lot kids who wants to play tennis, when there is good players playing the big tournaments, then it's easier for the next generation to come and to try to do the same.
We have the same problem with the girls. We have less good players than the years before, and we feel like there is something missing.

Q. Are you far away from turning your mobility on the court back into a real strength?
GILLES SIMON: I think I'm playing very good now, as good as two years ago. The thing is in tennis it's always a matter of confidence. You have to win some good match and to beat the top guys. Only one time sometimes, and then you feel the ranking is coming. You are seeded, you are a little bit more protected, and you are playing better and better.
I mean, that's why I'm working hard to come back as soon as possible. The ranking I'm 40 now; I hope to reach top 30 or top 20 really as soon as possible, because I know it will be better with the draws and everything.

Q. Who would you like to avoid in the draw for Melbourne?
GILLES SIMON: Too many players. (Laughter.) I can't tell you. But when you are not seeded it's strange. I mean, you can play Nadal or a qualifier or even a wildcard.
Just pray before the draw.

Q. I presume you've been doing specific work for your movement the last few months off-court.
GILLES SIMON: No, the problem was I was not running as before because of my knee. I didn't want to put my right leg, and I had to learn again to do that. It's just normal. (Smiling.)
But I was not doing it for one year, so when the opponent was playing a dropshot and I had to go, it was always the left. It's not a good move.

Q. So how did you learn to trust the right knee again?
GILLES SIMON: It was hard. I'm really happy to play without any pain, because a lot of time I had something. You know one day you don't feel good, you can't do it; the day after it's better, but you're never really confident.
It's now two months that I can work on it normally without thinking about it. I'm not thinking anymore about where I'm going to put my feet or anything. Just run.

Q. Today's heat, Melbourne tends to be pretty hot. Is this a good preparation for the Australian Open?
GILLES SIMON: Yeah, that's why I came here. I always want to play in Australia before the Australian Open. I like to play in the same conditions. I feel like if it was the first round of the Australian Open today and if you never played with the wind, with the heat, it's going to be harder.
So, of course, yeah, it helps me.

End of FastScripts

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