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May 27, 2014

Axel Michon


A. MICHON/B. Klahn
6‑1, 6‑7, 5‑7, 6‑1, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French, please.

Q.  This was your first match in a Grand Slam.  Three hours and 46 minutes.  That's a good start.
AXEL MICHON:  Well, yeah.  I know it could have happened to me, and it happened to me, but I was ready.  The fact of playing this type of format was good, because if I was perhaps done during the beginning of the match, I thought there is no pressure on me.  But no, what counts for me is to be satisfied with my match.

Q.  What about this first round in a Grand Slam tournament?  Lots of emotions.  I suppose you're already 23, but were there ups and downs, moments when you doubted?
AXEL MICHON:  Well, yes, like any other tennis match, it's many emotions.  Maybe it's multiplied by 10 at Roland Garros because we are French players, so it's very important for us.  It was a dream to play here to start with, and then it goes very quickly.
I started the match really well.  Not him.  But I was not that far from being two sets to nil, and it's a fine line, you know.  I felt it at that moment.  I thought if I can win the first two sets, it would be okay.
But then this is when I relaxed a little bit, because I had two sets ahead.  I thought then he would be down.  But then it's tennis.  A missed forehand, 5‑5, everything was to be done again.  I was nervous.  He was back again from nowhere.
He won this second set.  I was winning during the third set, and then here again it was very difficult.  It was so difficult for me, the third set.  I thought maybe I had too many opportunities.  I couldn't make it.
But then it's this format.  A long match.  I relaxed too much.  And then I fought hard and I won in five sets.  It's magic.

Q.  During the second set you missed two set points.  Did you think, okay, maybe that's a missed opportunity?
AXEL MICHON:  Oh, did I have two set points?  Oh, I didn't remember.  What's the exact score?  6‑5, I think.  Oh, okay.  I had thousands of opportunities and I thought, No, I'm not going to win this match.  It's not going to be for me this year.  And then it happened.
As usual, it's a roller coaster in the head.  But at the end of the day it's great.  The more you do it, the more you like it.
Before the competition you think you're never going to win and then the tournament comes, you feel good, and you think maybe I have a chance.  You're on the courts.  You're okay.
You're up 6‑1, and then all of a sudden I was almost angry against myself during the second set.  I thought I had not won it.  I was thinking about the following sets.  I thought my energy was going to go down, it was going so quickly.  I'm going to lose before I can reach the second round.
It was so difficult for me.  Therefore, what's difficult for me is not to think ahead of time.  Because, you know, there is so much emotions focusing on the present.  And what you have to do is so difficult, because when it was 5‑4, 30‑15, you can't think of going back at 2‑0 going back to a chair.
And at the end of the day the emotions go so quickly because he broke back and then all of a sudden I thought it was one set all, and three minutes before I thought it was two sets to zero.  And then all of a sudden it's stress on your shoulders, it's more difficult to move forward, to be in the match.  You have the impression it goes quickly, but the other way around.  That's tennis.

Q.  That was a special moment for you.  Was that your family in the public?  Friends, perhaps?
AXEL MICHON:  Well, of course, all of my family members and my friends, it was incredible.

Q.  And you looked at the crowd or not during the match?  You were in your bubble?
AXEL MICHON:  Yes, I was in my bubble.  But then I was looking for support, that's true, from my coaches.
And also, you know, sometimes when I lose I'm a bad loser, and I can be very angry and I can grumble against the ball boys, the ball kids, and the referee.  No, no, I'm calmer now.
But I was looking for support.  It's mainly in the eyes of my coach.  And then my family, as well, and my girlfriend, my family, and there is this special relationship we have with our coach.
In their eyes, you know, it's strange.  It's the eyes only.  But it's a bit of a support, because compared to other sports we're alone on the court.  Sometimes if you're very lonely, that's when you want them to watch you, you know, the eyes.

Q.  Physically how do you feel now?
AXEL MICHON:  Well, it's okay.  Now it's okay.  Again, you know, everything is relative.  I'll see how I can recover tomorrow.
It's relative.  Sometimes physical stress goes with tension.  I can have a cramp sometimes because there is too much pressure on some matches.
In South America I had no cramps during a match that lasted more than four hours.  I will see tomorrow.  I'll try and recover as quickly as I can.  I don't know if I'm going to play tomorrow or Thursday.  I hope it's Thursday and not tomorrow, but if it's tomorrow I will be ready.

Q.  What about these transition years that are difficult?  When you were really a young player you were really strong, and then when you started playing on the tour.  What's happened?  I think you had many injuries.  What's happened?  How come that you have not really won any matches earlier here?
AXEL MICHON:  I was not that strong when I was a young player, or I was probably one of the best French players, that's true, as a young player.  In juniors I was 42nd or 50‑something.  But now look at the rankings of kids of my age today.
And, no, I didn't win a Grand Slam even for the juniors.  You know, you can't say I was very good and then all of a sudden I stopped.
On the contrary, I was always more or less slow when I went up the rankings for juniors and seniors.  It was the same.  Quite slow.
And then it's continuing with a few injuries, but that's a long time ago now.  And now no more injuries for the past two years, touch wood.  And, yes, injuries that are old that slowed me down but just a little.
My progress, my development, is quite consistent, I think.  It takes me time to understand, but it's okay.  I manage to understand, and little by little, you know, it's been two or three years.
I have played challenger matches.  Last year for the first time I reached quarterfinals.  Then last year quarterfinals.  Semifinals and semifinals.
You know, the more I do it, sometimes I'm impatient, it's not quick enough.
But today I'll enjoy it.

Q.  A few words about where you practice, with whom, etcetera?
AXEL MICHON:  I practice at the Federation.  It's been the case for ten years, I think.  The typical Federation experience.
And then in Poitiers, in Insep, and then Roland.  Then I train with Potier and with Jean Dubosc, who is my fitness coach.  And I'd like to say thank you to my Federation who has always helped me.
As you're saying, sometimes I was growing, but too slowly, not quickly enough.  They always supported me.  The wildcard is an example of this.
I was not, well, you know, had I not been given one, it was okay with me, but they trust me.  They help me.  I feel their support, which is indispensable.

Q.  What about the wildcard?  As usual, some people said it was not fair.  Is this a revenge for you, or don't you care at all?
AXEL MICHON:  Well, not at all.  Because I think, you know, getting a wildcard is something difficult.  I wouldn't want to do it and give a wildcard to anybody.
Who are you going to give it to?  Someone who is a young player who is ranked 200 who plays well on clay or someone who has a better ranking who plays better?  I don't know.  Both things are okay.  They follow their own guidelines.
I'm very happy to have a wildcard.  I don't think there is anything to be ashamed of.  It's not a scandal.  I was one of the favorites.  They do their best when they give a wildcard.  They do things as consistently as they can, coherence.
What does that mean?  Had I lost this match it would have been a wrong thing to give it to me?  No, no, it was a wildcard.  It was given.  No more discussions.  The only thing you can request from a player is to fight each and every single shot and point.
Had I missed my match, I wouldn't have thought, I'm not legitimate to receive a wildcard.  You know, you have to fight for all the points.

Q.  Now, for those who don't know you, never seen you play, what would you say about this match?  Did you like it?  Is it really your game?  Your personality?  You're a fighter with ups and downs?
AXEL MICHON:  It was difficult for me to win easily, which is what I like, yeah, as usual.  You know, when people think I'm going to easily win, I don't do that.  It's long matches all the time.  Yeah, that's a bit like me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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