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October 30, 2012

Paul-Henri Mathieu


P. MATHIEU/R. Bautista‑Agut
6‑4, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French, please.

Q.  How does it feel to be back here again in front of your own crowd?  How do you feel winning that match?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  I was really happy to be back here.  Even my first day of practice on Sunday I was so pleased.  I wanted to come here immediately to hit a few shots on center court.  I was looking forward to playing here, and I was happy to step on that court again.
I was proud, happy, and also a bit nervous.  That's why I had fought hard to be able to play the French Open and also this particular tournament here.  I was happy to be able to do that.

Q.  So I guess that fabulous game never happened to you before?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  I'm almost ashamed to talk about it.  I just don't know what happened to me.  Maybe in the beginning of the game I was too emotional.  It was love‑40.  I was back 40‑all, and suddenly I had a match point and I just wasn't able to serve anymore.  It was like a bug.  It was very strange.
So after that, this game lasted forever, and I felt maybe the victory was very close.  So I became a bit nervous.  I was happy.  I was thinking already I'm going to win my first match, and I don't know, something happened to my mind.  I just couldn't serve anymore.  When I was playing my second serves, I thought about Coria.  I guess it was the same for him.
And after, when I pulled it out for that particular game, I was afraid for the next game.  But I made it.  I would have preferred to finish off the match at 5‑4.

Q.  But what does this show?  I mean, what does it tell?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  Well, I was angry at myself to put myself in such a situation, but the only thing I can do is accept it.  And also, it was just 5‑All.  I had been down 1‑4, and I came back into the match.
Even if I was a bit tight in the second, I felt I had the energy to be up again.  I just tried to forget that game, and I immediately focused on the match again.

Q.  Apparently you are going up to the net a lot more often now.  Does this help you?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  Yes, because then the rallies become shorter.

Q.  Then you don't have time to think so much?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  Oh, no, it's not that.  It's a personal choice I made in this match.  I wanted to have shorter rallies and be more aggressive.  That's why I also accepted that I would make more mistakes.  They are mistakes I regret; of course I can't be successful the first time; I have to keep trying.
Against that type of player you need to be aggressive and reach for the match, because they won't give anything away.  So I needed to practice that game, and I did.

Q.  If you were told in the beginning of January or end of January that you would play back to back the last two winners of a Grand Slam this year in five days, you would have thought it's crazy?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  Yeah, I played Federer last week.  I was happy to play him again.  It was the first time I played such a top player since I'm back.  It was good for me, because I was able to see where I was standing and to take lessons for the future.
I'm happy for my match tomorrow, too.  But, you know, that's how the draws are.  You don't agree?
But now I'm not playing the semis in this tournament here; I'm just second round.

Q.  Back to another part of your career in the past.  Jo is now starting to work with Roger Rasheed.  Not many French players have a foreign coach.  You had that experience.  What type of benefits did you have working with Mats?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  I went to a Florida academy with Mats when I was 15 years old.  That was an extremely rich experience because I also got to know a new culture.
I believe if Jo did that it's because he had reason for that.  He needed to hear something different, and maybe not something French.  He needed to hear something from another country or another culture.
When I went to the United States, that's the kind of thing I was looking for, having another culture.

Q.  With Mats how was it?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  It was different with him.  He was not my choice.  I didn't go and get him.  He was proposed to me.  So it was a sort of cooperation.  It was not imposed on me, but I didn't make the choice at the start.
It was very interesting, because he gave me a different vision.  Mats is different also because he was a player, so I could talk with him of his experiences as a player.
I believe Jo, with Rasheed, will maybe experience a different culture.  It will be a bit different.

Q.  So this is 10 years after your horrible defeat against Youzhny.
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  Not yet.  Do you think I'm going to get messages wishing me a happy birthday?

Q.  Well, it's a special date in tennis.  Everybody was a bit amazed by that match.  Does it seem very far away for you?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  Well, it's a long time ago, yes.  I was hoping to go to Moscow this year, so I thought about that and that it was 10 years ago.  I thought, Already?  Time went by pretty quickly.  When you are playing on the tour you don't realize how time goes by.
In the beginning of my career, when I was 20 years old, I was talking with Arnaud Clement.  I told him, It's going to go fast.  He said, What are you saying?  I'm 20 years old.  I have plenty of time.  And here we are.  Time goes by extremely fast.

Q.  A question about Murray.  I don't know if you've seen him play since, but his victory in the Grand Slam changed him.
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  But first his victory in the Olympic Games changed him.  That triggered a series of victories and helped him win major tournaments.  I'm sure he can win other Grand Slams.
I think it was extremely good for him to win in his country.  At the US Open, it's been a number of years now that people thought he could win it, and he did.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English.

Q.  After your match against Roger Federer, very, very good match you played, how much confidence does that give you coming in to face Andy Murray?
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  How much confidence?

Q.  Yeah.
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  I mean, it was only the second time I was doing semifinal this year, so it gave me a lot of confidence.  I play four matches in four days, so I was pretty happy physically to do that.
Yeah, for sure that gave me some confidence for the future.  I knew my ranking was going to go up, so everything together gave me some confidence.

Q.  I know you have had a tough time with injuries.  When you come to play against Andy Murray, does part of you hope that he has one eye on the O2, on the World Tour Finals?  Maybe that will give you more of a chance.
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  Of what?  I didn't get...

Q.  Because Andy Murray plays in the O2 next week.
PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU:  Oh, okay.  I think if he's here, if he's gone play, he's going to be 100%.  For sure, one side of his head he's going to think of next week.
But I think Roger is not playing here and Nadal is not playing here, so I think if he's playing here, he wants to win the tournament.  It's a Masters Series, too.  For him, it's pretty important.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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