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February 22, 2011

Gilles Simon


G. SIMON/M. Youzhny
6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Many congratulations. Your reaction to the win against MIkhail, a seeded player here.
GILLES SIMON: I'm happy because he's a very good player. He's No. 11 now, and it's always good victory. When you play someone at this ranking, you know that it's going to be very hard.
But I'm also happy because I lost seven times against him in a row. Really, when I woke up this morning it was hard for me to imagine that I will play one more match tomorrow. I really played just this match as a final for me. Because I managed to just to focus on to win the match, and trying to forget everything else.
I did it pretty well. Because even if I think we didn't play a very good match, very good tennis, well, I won. (Smiling.) I know that all the other times, sometimes I was playing good, but at the end I lost every time the match.
So that's a very, very good victory for me.

Q. To Mikhail's credit, he said that the previous games you had played had always been very close. This victory, it must give you confidence to beat a player of his caliber for the matches to come.
GILLES SIMON: Well, I think this victory really is not -- it's different. It's very important for me to win this match not because of the next round or everything or this tournament. It's just important because there is -- I mean, it's not too much player on the tour you are always losing to.
So he was one of them, and it was not the match the most important we played. Even if it's a very beautiful tournament and a big tournament, it's still the first round. But I know that now if I play him, maybe in slam, maybe somewhere else on an important match, it will be easier, because I finally shake his hand at the end winning the match.

Q. What was the difference today between the other seven matches, do you think?
GILLES SIMON: Well, last week I was -- I think I had a good chance to win last week, but I was really not prepared. I had problem with my neck in Rotterdam, and I had to stop. I couldn't practice as I wanted to. I just played 40 minutes on Monday and one hour on Tuesday, and then played the first round against Davydenko on Wednesday. I managed to win the match and it was very good, and I also was not expecting it. Because when you don't practice, normally you don't win. (Smiling.)
And then against MIkhail second round, I won 6-3 the first set; I think I was playing better than him, and then I got tired. It was because I have to run a lot against him, as you could see at the end. Physically I dropped down a little bit, and finally I lost the match again.
But it was better, I mean, on the court, and it gives me a little bit confidence for today, I think. So I was not -- I can't even say I'm not upset, because normally I see his name on the draw, I (hanging head).

Q. That bad?
GILLES SIMON: When you lose two, three times, and then when it's four, five, six, seven, that's why I said I played it as a final for me. Just focus on this match.

Q. Just more broadly, you have Federer and Djokovic in this tournament obviously. You've been up to No. 6 and fallen back, right? Just speaking for a lot of the players, I mean, at least in America when we think of tennis we think of the top 4. These days, how is it for you to think about breaking into the top 5 or even the top 10? Is it much more difficult than when you started out? You've always been playing with Federer, kind of up there. How does it feel to always know there's kind of a ceiling and it's very difficult to get past these guys in the rankings, even in the tournaments. Talk about that a little bit.
GILLES SIMON: Well, you just have to check the ranking -- not the ranking, but the points. That's what impressive. I think Nadal has more point than all the players from maybe 7 to 20. At the moment he has, I don't know, 14,000 points, something like.
You can make the difference, because every time you double your points, your ATP points, you almost double your ranking. So when you are -- maybe you need, I don't know, 400 points to be in the top 100, then if you have 800 points you are top 50. When you can see Nadal has 14 times your point, he is very, very better than you. Far better.

Q. Do the top 20 guys, is it kind of you don't even think about becoming top 5? I mean, the goals are less because you know that...
GILLES SIMON: Well, think there is a good opportunity to be in the top 20. I got injured when I was 7; still in Roland Garros I had the problem with my knee. Then I dropped down, and I finally stopped six months. So after you have to work your ranking.
I think since I played in Eastbourne last year, I played as a top 20 player because I had a lot of point to defend. I managed to finish the season something like 34, 33, and I won 1000 points on six months.
So I had some good victories against Roddick, Nalbandian , some good player. So there is a spot here. I know it. I know that I am playing good. I know that I can defeat also players like Youzhny.
And then you're right, there is now the top 5 I can say, because Robin is playing one level, I mean, up to the other guys also.
I think first I have to come back in the top 20.

Q. So for you...
GILLES SIMON: I managed to defeat them, all of them. I had one victory against Rafa; two against Roger; one against Novak; one against Andy; maybe two against Soderling. So I managed to defeat them, but they are far better than me. You just have to check the results.
But first I have to brought my confidence back. And to be in the top 20, top 16 is important also for the slams because if I play them after one good match, two, or three, then you are feeling good also in the tournaments and everything, you have more confidence because you won more match, and it's easier.
I can tell you I lost last year against Novak in Davis Cup the final; Nadal third round also US Open; and Murray third round Wimbledon. I lost three times three sets straight, and I was not confident.
In Wimbledon I played just the tournament before, so when you play these players, you know, you play centre court, the crowd are cheering for them and everything. So first it's hard on the court.
Rafa it was the same. He was playing amazing and he was far better me.
Novak also in the Davis Cup was also far better than me.
The other time I lost to them before when I got a better ranking, I lost to them also, but it was tighter, you know. Because when you have more confidence, then you are not scared about what's going to happen.
That's what happened against Roger this year. I won Sydney; I won the first round in the Australian Open; I played him, and I played without fear. I lost five sets. Was closer.
So that's why you have to work the ranking first, and then if you can, try to defeat them. But sometimes you defeat one of them and then you win a big tournament, and, wow, gives you confidence and things are changing like this. (Snapping fingers).
I mean, you take Robin before the final in Roland Garros the first time. Who was expecting him finishing the season and playing one more season after like this? Nobody. Even not him. He played the tournament, he defeated Nadal, and then (snapping fingers) so...

Q. Is it a question of consistency for you, Gilles, sort of performing to your potential on a regular basis and staying healthy? Because you have the potential to beat very best as you just explained.
GILLES SIMON: First I have to be consistent on the game and healthy also outside. It's very hard to reach the top 10. The season I did for me was wonderful in 2008, defeating all the three best player in the world the same season.
And then you got injured the year after, and all what you did, you forget it. Because when you come back, you don't know if you're going to make it. Maybe just see Juan Martin Del Potro. We will see. Maybe he will come back, maybe not.
But it's very hard to get there. So when you are there, you have to be careful about everything. I think I was not so injured before this season. It was my first big injury, and, you know, it's two years after you cannot play. I finish the season as I could. Finishing 15, it was good, but I was feeling I was not playing as good as before.
Then I stop, I finish 30, and now I will have the ranking I must have in July, because I have to wait one full year to have all the tournaments, because Monte-Carlo and everything, you know, zero, zero, zero, zero, and it's in my ranking.
So then first I will have to be there, you know, for the draws, for everything. Then (snapping fingers) if I play good, if I'm more confident, trying to reach the top 10 again.

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