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April 15, 2002

Arnaud Clement


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. Where did it go wrong if you look at the results?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: I don't need to have a look at the statistics. I just looked out of curiosity.

Q. What didn't work? What disappointed you in your game?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: In my game, nothing. I had seven break points in the first, lost 6-3. I was up 3-1 in the second. I was broken twice in games where I was up 30- and 40-love. That's where the problem was. It was not my forehand or my backhand or my serve.

Q. Did you lack confidence?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Yes, since I didn't win the important points. That's all. I didn't believe I had a bad match from a tennis point of view. But I lost 3-3, like in Key Biscayne where I lost 4-4 against Johansson. It was the same type of match.

Q. Do you have problems with your motivation?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: No. I was very pumped up today. Didn't you see it? I was eager to play well. Are you talking specifically about clay?

Q. It's just the fact that you seem without illusions in what you're saying.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: I'm destroyed. If I was lacking motivation, I wouldn't care less. But I was eager to play well. I don't care whether it's clay or not. I didn't win many matches since the beginning of the year. I wanted to win. I came here on Wednesday to play as long as possible on clay before the tournament. I was hitting well. But the important points, I didn't win them. That's painful. It is not after eight hours of practice I will win those points, I can only find a way to win them during the proper match.

Q. What can trigger something better then?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: I got the same question downstairs. It can be any kind of thing. It can be luck during a match, some success on one shot, a bit of inspiration that I didn't have at all today, being more focused at a given stage. But there's no miracles possible. If they existed, it would be easy.

Q. In the beginning of the season you said you wanted to be more consistent.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Well, I am very consistent - first round, second round, third round. I'm really accomplishing my objectives (laughing).

Q. It's not exactly what I had understood. I thought you were supposed to be consistent at a higher level.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: That's what I also thought (laughing). At the level of my preparation and the number of tournaments played, for the time being I believe I am faithful to what I had defined, even if I'm not playing well and I'm not winning many matches.

Q. Can you be more precise?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Last year I came here without real motivation. This year I came early, I was eager to play, I prepared myself, I fought during the match, and I lost. In Key Biscayne, same thing. In Indian Wells, it was not a very good tournament for me. The rest of the year, I prepared myself, I didn't win many matches. But I can't really say that since the beginning of the year I didn't play well because otherwise I would have become crazy. No, I tried to play well and I didn't succeed.

Q. Can you describe your attitude as being more healthy about this tournament and clay than last year when you arrived saying that clay makes me fed up.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Yes, I was a bit crazy at certain moments. My attitude is more healthy and not only on the court, but also in life in general when I practice. I am calmer. Maybe this is bad for my game, I don't know (laughing). No, I don't think so.

Q. It's a question of time. You have to get used to being serious.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Being serious is not unusual with me. I am someone serious who practices in general very, very well I believe. Now I am a bit below the average. But in the past years it happened to me very often to feel very good at certain moments and then suddenly to be bored, to be saturated, and I couldn't control the situation anymore. For the moment, this year, this didn't happen. That's what I wanted. And for the time being, it's a positive point. You have to fight to find positive things, but that's it.

Q. How did you keep busy in Pau when you learned that you were not going to play?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: I went to hit once or twice on clay. I didn't have much time. I was on the side of the court, I was encouraging our players, I was warming up Fabrice on Sunday morning. The rest of the time I had to recuperate, I had to sleep all day.

Q. You were thinking in a collective way? Because you could have thought...?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Make your question more precise.

Q. You could have said, "Well, guys, I'm with you but I also have to prepare for my season on clay." You never thought about that?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: No. When I had time in the morning, I went to hit on the court, and sometimes in the evening also after the doubles I believe on Saturday. Otherwise, I was doing the same as they were doing, like the fifth player should do.

Q. Don't you believe it was bad for you to practice on fast courts knowing that there was clay just afterwards and that somehow it was for no purpose?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: It was not for no purpose, not at all. How can you say I practiced for nothing? This is something crazy. It's not the way it works.

Q. Do you draw benefits from these collective practices with the other members of the team?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: My conclusion is that although I didn't play, France is in the semis in September against the United States. That's my conclusion, although I didn't play. It is not what I did in Pau myself, it's what we did in Pau.

Q. The prospect of the semifinals against the United States, does it change your vision of the clay court season?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: No, because I told myself, "This year I have to play well on clay. I need more time to adapt." That's why I came here early. But it's the first tournament. I don't want to play well just for this tournament, but for four or five months.

Q. After a few months of cooperation with your coach, how is it going?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: It's going very well.

Q. Is it profitable, like you expected?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Yes. I feel good. We are doing well together. We spent a few days, the three of us, and I was very pleased the way it happened. I was happy.

Q. Do you feel eager to go up?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Yes. But I'm not succeeding (laughter). The season lasts ten months. During three months it could have been. And if I have to stay four more months without anything happening and just practicing seriously and doing what I have to do, if I am not perfect but if I make the efforts to be prepared the best possible way I can be for all tournaments, there's no reason why at a certain stage I will not start winning. And even if it is not this year and I stay the way I am now, at one stage in my career during the next five years I hope I will win all the tournaments.

End of FastScripts….

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