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June 12, 2012

Nicolas Mahut


N. MAHUT/G. Garcia‑Lopez
6‑4, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions, please.

Q.テつ You had a good French Open.テつ How was it transferring back to grass?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ Actually, I had a great French Open but also a great year.テつ I played well so far, and to me it's easy to play on grass.テつ Played on clay last week, but my game really is for grass all the year.
I played on clay the same way as I play on the other surface this year.テつ So to me it's really natural to play on grass.

Q.テつ Do you find the switch okay?テつ It's easy to go straight from clay to grass?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ To me, yeah, after one or two sessions on grass‑‑ you know, I'm doing serve and volley, I'm playing flat, slice, and coming to the net, so it's much easier to play on grass than on clay.
I need time to play on clay, but on grass it's coming very fast.

Q.テつ How satisfying was the French Open for you?テつ Your matches were great.
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ Yeah, playing in front of French crowd, they are supporting French player a lot.テつ It's amazing, the atmosphere.テつ I played Suzanne Lenglen, I played on Philippe Chatrier.テつ Was amazing feeling.
I played well.テつ First time I reached the third round, and, I mean, I did well against Roger.テつ I had fun, and I tried my best.テつ Yeah, I had really good time this year.

Q.テつ What do you remember of the two occasions when you played Andy before?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ Two occasions.テつ I'm thinking about the second one.

Q.テつ Indian Wells.
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ And we played ‑‑Indian Wells was not a good match for me.テつ It was easy win for him.

Q.テつ Marseilles.
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ Oh, Marseilles.テつ And we played once in Perth, exhibition last year.テつ I prefer much better the second one in Marseilles.テつ (Smiling.)
You know, he's world No. 4.テつ Of course he's playing good.テつ He knows how to play.テつ He's returning everything.テつ He's playing smart on the court.テつ But everyone is expecting him to win.
So he's defending champion.テつ Maybe good chance to win the Wimbledon maybe or to ‑‑ once again, I mean, three times in semis or four times in a row, I don't know.テつ Three?
So, okay, you know he's a grass player, as well.テつ But like you said, I played well the past few weeks, and I'm ready to fight, ready to play my game.
Would it be enough?テつ I don't know.テつ But at least I will try.

Q.テつ When somebody, like you say, is defending, two‑time champion, defending champion, top seed and such a good grass game, do you actually believe you can beat him?テつ Do you go into it convinced you can do it?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ Yes, of course, of course.テつ Otherwise I won't come on the court.
But I beat Rafa once here.テつ I was one point away to beat Roddick when he was top 5.テつ I know I can do well.テつ I know I can beat top players on this surface.テつ I believe in me, I believe in my game.
But I know it's a challenge to play against top 4.テつ I'll try.テつ He's the favorite.テつ I just have to come on the court and enjoy the crowd and enjoy the centre court and play my game.
In the end, we'll see.テつ If he plays well, then it will be very difficult for me.テつ But it will be his first one.テつ It's not easy to enter in a tournament to start.テつ Never know.

Q.テつ He's been struggling a bit with a back injury, as well.テつ Do you think that will sit in the back of his mind at all?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ I think if he's coming on the court, if he's playing this week, I mean, he's ready to play.テつ Otherwise he won't take any risk for Wimbledon.
If he plays, that means he's ready.

Q.テつ What's the reason for you playing so well this year?テつ Is it just because you're fit finally and no injuries?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ Actually, I have some knee problem since last year, but maybe it's because I'm a daddy in the past months.テつ I don't know.テつ (Through translation.)
THE MODERATOR:テつ He has a little bit more perspective.

Q.テつ There are more important things?

Q.テつ When you look at all the French players in the top 100, the many French players, many of them are age 30 or more, Llodra and Benneteau.テつ Why is that, do you think, that the French players are so successful into their 30s?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ I don't know.テつ Maybe because we need more experience now to be competitive on the tour.テつ Now it's more difficult to enter in a top 100 before age 22.テつ Maybe it was much easier 10 years ago, and maybe this is the reason why.
I don't know.テつ I have no explanation.

Q.テつ Does it help having so many other players from your country, whereas you look at Murray, everyone here is focused on Murray?テつ But the French at Roland Garros, I think you had 19 men, was it, in the draw?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ Oh, there were a lot, because 10 in the main draw, then six wildcards, two qualifiers, so we don't have pressure on us.テつ Pressure only on Tsonga's shoulders or Monfils or Gasquet.テつ Then we can just play.
Of course it helps.テつ It helps also to have someone in top 5.テつ Like Jo, we want to do, I mean, try to do as good as him.テつ (Through translation.)
THE MODERATOR:テつ Basically try and emulate them.

Q.テつ There seems to be a very good camaraderie amongst all the French players.テつ You watch any French match, Forget will always be in the crowd, a lot of young players watching each other.
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ It's true, we are good friends.テつ Like you say, most of the players are age 30.テつ So we spend so many times on the tour together.テつ I know Julien Benneteau since 20 years; Paul‑Henri Mathieu, same age.テつ So we are really good friends out of the court, and this is the reason why maybe we enjoy to travel together.

Q.テつ Have you given Wimbledon a phone call yet to make sure you don't play John in the first round?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ It would be good for me, I have to say.テつ I lost the last two times.
Yeah, I'm happy for the first time.テつ I'm in England.テつ Nobody talks about this match.

Q.テつ Until now?
NICOLAS MAHUT:テつ Oh, we will see the draw.テつ Draw is really important in slams.テつ I'm waiting for it.テつ (Smiling.)

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