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April 20, 2014

Zeljko Franulovic


ZELJKO FRANULOVIC:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome to this cocktail ‑ I believe it's going to be a bit later (smiling) ‑ for the end of this tournament.テつ It is a good opportunity for me on this Easter Sunday to wish you happy Easter holidays.
On behalf of the whole team of the tournament, I would like to thank you once again for your loyalty and I would like to suggest we take stock of this 108th edition of our Monte‑Carlo Rolex Masters tournament.
Now let's talk about the Monte‑Carlo Rolex Masters beyond the courts:
As last year, the draw was organized in the heart of the principality, in the exceptional setting of the Garnier Opera in Monaco, in the presence of Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker.テつ There was another activity organized in the framework of the Stars Program from our friends from the ATP.テつ This was Rafael Nadal who went out sailing on Tuiga, which is the flagship of the Yacht Club of Monaco.
So this edition was dedicated to supporting the foundation of Princess Charlene of Monaco.テつ This foundation was associated with the program of the ATP called Aces for Charity.テつ We really wish to use the awareness, the international renowned and brand name of our tournament, for this foundation so that its goals and values will be enhanced.
With this goal in mind, Princess Charlene of Monaco received from Roger Federer a signed racquet.テつ Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, No.1 and No. 2, also offered one of their racquets.テつ Philippe Rialland and myself had the honor of giving those racquets to Her Highness.
These racquets will be put up for sale during an auction that will be organized later for the benefit of the foundation of Princess Charlene of Monaco.テつ The goal of this is to promote sport as a channel for education and development for children thanks to the programs called Water Safety and Learn to Swim.
Let's talk about our players.テつ We had an exceptional draw this year.テつ Roger came back after being absent for two years.テつ We had the top six players in the world rankings from the ATP.テつ Also, this is an opportunity for me to thank all the players for their dedication to the tournament and their extreme loyalty.
In these moments while we are all impressed by the level of games of our two finalists with the elegance of Roger's play and the efficiency and power of Stan, I still can't find the words to describe my admiration and my respect for Novak Djokovic.テつ It's the second year in a row where he tried, in spite of an injury, to fight for his chances really to the end.テつ This is the most dignified way to show his deep respect for this tournament and also for the crowd.テつ So really a tip of the hat to him, this immense champion.
I would like to take this opportunity today to thank Dr. Coudert and all his colleagues, doctors, physios, all our medical staff for doing everything they could since the beginning of this tournament so that Novak would be able to play and defend his chances and his title.
Our team ‑ I'm not the only one to say this ‑ is simply the best on the tour.
This is an unprecedented final.テつ For this edition, 2014, the Monte‑Carlo Rolex Masters is offering for the first time a final that is 100% Swiss.テつ We will have this year for the first time a Swiss winner.
The coincidence is absolutely right.テつ We chose for this final an Easter Sunday.テつ As we are extremely good organizers, we, of course, hid all around the center court some eggs ‑ of course in Swiss chocolate.テつ The luckiest of the players will be able to take advantage of those eggs.
So this final will also give to our tournament a new winner after eight years of Rafael Nadal's dominance and also after Novak's victory last year.テつ So at 3:00 this afternoon, the crowd will watch the duel between Stanislas Wawrinka, who is No.3 in the world, who is trying to win his first title in a Masters 1000, and Roger Federer, who is No.4 in the world, who is going to try to win his first title in the principality.
The two Swiss players are very good friends.テつ I'm going to give you a secret now.テつ They are right now practicing together for their match and hitting some shots.テつ They know each other extremely well.テつ Stanislas Wawrinka beat Roger Federer only once.テつ It was here in 2009 in the Round of 16.テつ Roger, at the time, was coming back from celebrating his marriage.テつ Stan took advantage of the situation to win this match.
Five years later the level between the two players is more balanced.テつ I believe this final will be magnificent and very open.
I'm going to give you some figures now as far as tickets are concerned:
We had an unprecedented attendance record this year.テつ For the first time in the history in our tournament, we reached a maximum capacity.テつ 14, 600 spectators for the whole site from Tuesday to Thursday when all the courts were being used.テつ From Friday to Sunday, we were totally sold out.テつ It's not a surprise I'm pleased to announce that we broke a new record for the attendance.テつ We are now at 131, 472 tickets, compared to 127,000 for 2013.
About the media:
Dear friends, you were many this year again, in spite of the absence of our British friends because their player was not here this year.テつ You were more than 370 accredited journalists representing almost 20 different countries.テつ So this means we really want to improve and develop your working conditions.テつ We've been working on it already for 2015.
I would like to thank you very warmly, all of you.テつ I would like to make an appointment with you for our next edition in Monte‑Carlo from the 11th to the 19th of April, 2015.
Meanwhile, let's watch the doubles final that starts at 12:30, and at 3:00 we will have our final.
I'm available to answer any questions you might have at this point.

Q.テつ What injury did Novak have on his arm?
ZELJKO FRANULOVIC:テつ He has a sore forearm.

Q.テつ Do you consider yourself lucky because Federer at the last minute decided to come and play, especially this year that Nadal lost before the final, so today you can have a unique final?テつ It's a bit of luck?
ZELJKO FRANULOVIC:テつ I consider myself lucky to be running this event, first of all, which has been doing really well the last couple years, growing and developing its structure, its popularity, everything else.
To answer your question directly, I consider myself lucky to have all these players entered starting with No.1, 2 and 3, and then Roger came.テつ I would judge this, as the French say, icing on the cake.
Of course, we are all happy, but we need to think about all the players that have already entered and were participating in the tournament.テつ Roger was a very nice surprise and a pleasure for everybody.

Q.テつ We knew the attendance record would be difficult to break.テつ Do you believe it's thanks to the presence of Roger?
ZELJKO FRANULOVIC:テつ Well, this is connected with my previous answer because I was saying the tournament was developing very well and we are no longer really dependent on one or the other player.テつ For example, we could imagine if Tsonga would have won, we would have more French spectators.
But you shouldn't see things from that angle.テつ It's thanks to many elements brought together that we can have this success and we are making constant progress.テつ Also it's thanks to tennis itself, which is becoming more and more popular.
So this year, we had all the elements that came together and helped.テつ We had a good draw.テつ We made a good promotion of the tournament beforehand.テつ And the weather also was on our side.

Q.テつ But don't you think more tickets were sold on Wednesday because of Federer?
ZELJKO FRANULOVIC:テつ Well, sometimes we have a beautiful schedule for the day, and it doesn't work out.テつ It's just as I said:テつ many elements came together.テつ Nadal lost, Tsonga had the match in his hands almost, but lost.テつ I was mentioning the figures from 13,000 to 14,000, et cetera.
As I said, the success can be explained by several elements brought together.

Q.テつ Your tournament is perfect already.テつ You have everything you need.テつ It's difficult to do better.テつ In your mind what can you still improve and how can you do it?テつ I remember when Borg came back, you set a tent outside for the press conference, for example, details like this.
ZELJKO FRANULOVIC:テつ Well, you gave the answer yourself.テつ It's in the details that we can improve our tournament.テつ We can't make the club bigger.テつ We can't extend the land.テつ But we can improve every detail, like the tent you mentioned.
Each year we find something new that we can improve.テつ This is our only room for improvement.テつ We can't change the structures.テつ So what we can do is try to find within what we have every single thing we can improve, like the decoration.テつ As you can see, we improved the boxes.テつ That's done.テつ We are going to continue like this.

Q.テつ This is my 40th year here in Monte‑Carlo for this tournament, so I have seen much progress.テつ I want to compliment you because all the people that work here are very nice, Isabelle.テつ Also the transcript situation is very nice.テつ I wish we had the same thing in Rome.テつ We already said last year the press seats have some problems of visibility.テつ You have to see through the poles and things.テつ On the left there is a situation which could be easily solved if you stay on the first box of the press.テつ The second thing, you mentioned while you're happy you're beating the records of the crowd, what about the record of media credentials?テつ I think what is important is to have people here who really work for the tennis and write for the tennis.テつ Sometimes I still see some people that get accreditation that don't do the real job of a journalist, people who don't write, people who don't know what they're doing.テつ I wish there was more attention on that because that is important, in my opinion, for the credibility of the tournament.テつ All the rest, I want to compliment you because you have done miracles considering the difficulties of the structure.
ZELJKO FRANULOVIC:テつ Thank you, first of all, for saving me to compliment our press and media team and services.テつ I share your opinion.テつ I think we have a great team with Isabelle and everybody else that are really doing their best under the circumstances we know.テつ It's not the biggest press room or interview room.テつ I agree with that, they're doing a great job.
Second, I also like to thank you for your critiques.テつ They are things we're aware of and were mentioned before.テつ After this year, they'll be on the top of our list of things to be done and things to improve, like other things we are doing well.
The seats, Philippe and I will look into that.テつ It's a permanent moving operation here, moving seats to the left and to the right.
The second, I have to agree with you again, you should be aware how many accreditation requests we get.テつ We are even asking the ATP to help us with those requests.テつ Isabelle knows a certain number of the press, that's easy.テつ But with this new media, with the digital ‑ how do you call it ‑ media, this completely new situation, we are a bit running behind.テつ Is it press?テつ We really don't know.テつ We try to do our best.
Maybe we should be cooperating together.テつ Listen, this is just another thing that they don't have to be on‑site, it doesn't have to be crowded, you can't do your work properly.テつ We want to keep the press that are credible press writing for the tournament.テつ They need perfect conditions.
These two things will appear in Isabelle's reports and we will work on them.

Q.テつ Was Nadal injured when he played?
ZELJKO FRANULOVIC:テつ No, he wasn't, not at all.テつ Last year he was coming from an injury, but not this year.テつ He is 100% fit.
Now, it's the first time for a long time that the doubles are being played before the finals.テつ I want to see how it goes.
Thank you very much.

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