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April 18, 2000

Arnaud Clement


Q. Apparently you didn't miss anything until the end of the second set and your only mistake was on a bad bounce. This is what Ivanisevic said. Do you agree?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Yes. Up to 5-2 I played the good tactics. I played as I had to, clean. I attacked when I had to. I didn't make many mistakes and he was not playing very well. It was a one-way match. At 5-2 and Love-30 I could even win that game serving. I had matchpoints at 5-3, at 5-4 and also one during the tiebreaker. This is what always happens to me these days, for all my matches I have opportunities to win it and each time I miss. Last time it was against Kuerten then after against Vinciguerra, last week where I was up in the third set. Now it changed.

Q. You have problems finishing a match?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Yes. I have problems finishing the match. It comes from confidence. When I serve for the match, the opponent doesn't give me the game. During all the games before he gave them to me. I didn't have much to do. He was making the mistakes and I was just winning one point in the game and he was making three mistakes. I was able to send back the ball properly, but in the end he was not giving up the points anymore. I had to go and get them.

Q. Did you think about some matches that you should have won like in Australia?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Oh, that one, also.

Q. So you didn't think about that one?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: No, I don't think about a particular match before playing. During this match I was calm. But I didn't think it would go to the third set and it would happen that way.

Q. Is it because you are nervous, because you are suddenly tense?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: I am going to talk about it with Eric. My game changes at that moment. Apparently everybody sees it from outside. I just push the ball. I don't know what happens but it shouldn't happen too often again. Maybe it is a matter of confidence. I won that match so now we will see. First thing, I think he played better at 5-3 and he played better after the tiebreaker. He made less mistakes. The third set was funny, in fact, he was not giving up any points on the serve games, on my serve games, but he was making mistakes on his serve. On my serve he was more patient and was waiting for the right shot to be aggressive and go up to the net.

Q. What was your state of mind in the third set?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: I was tired. I was up 1-Love breakpoint.

Q. He said he wasn't able to be up 2-Love because if he had been able to do that he would have won 6-1?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: No, he couldn't have won this way because I would have fought back. I didn't know exactly how to play anymore. I wasn't hitting very well and I was playing long top spins to bother him. But I was not really lucid. While I was pushing the ball I was saying to myself: I can't make it anymore. After I tried to hit harder, flatter but then it is better for him. I lacked lucidity this moment.

Q. Physically you were all right?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: I was rotten. I don't know why. Maybe because I was nervous. I had cramps starting but I believe it was nervous with all what was happening, breaks and rebreaks. Fortunately at 5-4 I played that good ace. I couldn't see how I was going to be able to finish that match.

Q. What are your feelings on clay? Last week you were saying.....

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Last week there was a lot of wind and I was there for only playing doubles. I was not able to practice. It was useless because of the wind. Sunday I came here after a long trip. It was raining so I couldn't play. Last time I hit the ball it was for playing doubles in Casablanca.

Q. So you missed practice?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: We can't say that because in spite of all that I started my match very well.

Q. Last week you said: I am settling down on the court better now.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: But last week we had a good week before and we had the training camp, et cetera. In fact, when I play a match against an average player it gives me -- and I win, it gives me confidence.

Q. But you could hardly play better than you did during one set and a half?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: It was him. I was playing perfectly, but I was doing nothing fabulous. He was making more mistakes than I was making winners.

Q. But he was relatively calm; he was holding the rallies and they were very long rallies that you always finished by winning so it was not easy for you and you were able to overrun him. If we follow your reasoning you only have to train 20 minutes every three days.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Why do you say that?

Q. This is what you were saying right now.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Oh, yes because I won today, but if I had played a better player I might have lost. So maybe this type of practice is not ideal.

Q. Are you going to start to have a mental preparation coach like Cedric recently?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: It will be a good thing. There is one working in the Federation, but talking about this kind of things is quite intimate and I think I would have problems talking to someone I don't really know. For this type of thing I like to speak with Eric. He is playing that role for me. Maybe he doesn't have the dipolmas to do that, but he is more useful to me than someone I don't even know, even if it is his job.

Q. What are you your ambitions for this tournament?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Zabaleta won?

Q. Yes.

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Well, I want to win against him.

Q. In how many sets?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: I don't mind, I don't know.

Q. It is a good match, that is, against Zabaleta?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Yes, it is going to be a good match. I have to remain patient, solid, physical.

Q. You play doubles with Sebastien. What do you think about it?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: It is nice. It is a long time we have been playing together, three or four years that we are together. But we didn't have much opportunities to play together. We improved our ranking too fast in singles compared with the doubles and when you play Grand Prix's, you have no chances of going into the draw, so we couldn't play and the rare cases where we were able to play in France, we were not playing well because we were not trained enough. I played with Sebastien but I also played one year with Jerome. Since the beginning of the year we played a bit more. I played in Marseille. We played well. After we played in Casablanca and we played well again. The fact of playing doubles, several doubles in a row helped us to play well. We improved at the net and we acquired automatic reflexes which are interesting. We played well. Of course, the satisfaction is not the same after double than after a single match, but we are friends and it is nice.

Q. Do you think about the ranking?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: Today I must be 150 and Sebastien is right behind me. If we win ten matches in the year we will see, but for the time being, we only won one. On top of it we were lucky because we lost in the qualifications and we were lucky losers and back into the draw.

Q. Playing doubles is entirely for laughing and having fun?

ARNAUD CLEMENT: It is something we both like. It is interesting. For example, I am in Casablanca, I lose in the singles but I can stay in the tournament thanks to the doubles, so it makes me improve my serve, my net shots, my returns. In Indian Wells it was the same and right after there was Key Biscayne. I remained several days more in the tournament thanks to the doubles, so thanks to the doubles you can stay in the tournament and on top of it is funny.

End of FastScripts….

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