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May 23, 2014

Alize Cornet


THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  You're here as the French No. 1.  What is the feeling of that like, just being the No. 1 at thee big tournament?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Well, it's an honor.¬† I'm very excited to start the tournament as the French No. 1, and I can't wait to go on court and try to share something with the crowd.
I think that's the best thing about being a French player, is to enjoy the match and the crowd.  And, yeah, I hope to make a good tournament.  Of course it's a little pressure, but I think all the French player want to do good.  I'm not the only one.  Doesn't change anything I'm first or not.

Q.  Have you looked at the draw?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Yes, I saw the draw.

Q.  What are your thoughts on your section?  I guess there is not any of the big, big top seeds in there.  Maybe an opportunity for a lot of players?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Yeah, yeah.¬† You know, I'm just trying to play ‑‑I will just try to play match by match.¬† I don't know my first opponent so well.¬† I know she's a young and talented player from Australia.¬† You know, I don't know much about her, so I will try to first pass this first round.
Then the seed is Carla Suarez Navarro.  She's not a top, top seed, but she is a very, very tough opponent on clay and a typical Spanish game.  You know, I'm not in the third round yet, but of course I think about it.  We will see how it goes.

Q.  You seem to thrive on kind of the energy that the crowd puts out at any tournament that you play.  Can you talk a little bit about what makes it different on Lenglen or Chatrier as opposed to some of the other tournaments you play?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† It's very special, very different.¬† The atmosphere is different.¬† The French crowd is expecting us a lot.¬† Sometimes they are kind of judging us.
So it's tough to handle the pressure because you know that if you do bad you know they are going to be tough with you; but on the other hand, you need to charm them because they are pretty tough to charm.  But when you have them in your pocket they are just behind you 100% and they can give you wings.
That's my goal.  Trying to have wings with them on the court and fly over my matches.  That would be the best scenario possible.
But, you know, I will just try to do my best, and hopefully they will support me whatever happens.

Q.  What's your sense this year of the women's draw at the French Open?  Do you think it feels open?  Does it feel like, Oh, this is Serena again, Maria, kind of the same?  What's your sense?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† I don't know.¬† Yeah, it's always ‑‑it's all about the same players.¬† Serena, Na Li, Sharapova, they are in good shape right now.¬† They are tough to beat in slams, so definitely they are the favorite players.
Then what I saw in the draw this year is that the French player have really tough draw for woman, and I hope there is going to be some surprises from my colleagues.
So, you know, we will see.  I hope there are going to be some surprises, because that's the exciting thing about slam is when you see someone coming up from nowhere and do some big things.
Maybe I hope I will be the one, even if I'm not coming from nowhere.  But, you know, I hope to make a big tournament, at least second week.  That would be amazing.

Q.  I know when you first played here, I don't know, you were 16?  You were quite young.

Q.  15.  Many years ago.  Now you're back again.  Can you talk a bit without telling your whole life story about your journey from your first impressions being here at 15 and now being here as the No. 1 from your country?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Time flies.¬† I have the feeling it was yesterday.¬† I need to say that it's my 10th anniversary here in Roland Garros.¬† Everybody knows it, but still I want to mention it once more because I think it's unbelievable.
And especially ten times I'm doing the main draw, so it's not that easy.
Well, a lot of things changed in the women's tennis, in my mind.  What I did for all this year I'm very proud of it, because I had some downs and then I come back to the best level.
You know, wow, when I see just everything that I have done since 10 years, it's been great.  I still hope that the best part of my career is coming up.  It's very exciting for me to have this kind of career already and to know at that if I keep working like that I still have great moments on the tour.
We will see.  Why not this year for the 10th birthday?  That would be symbolic.

Q.  Do you have the same kind of excitement here now that you did 10 years ago?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Different one.¬† Now I have more maturity and more experience.¬† Before I was like, I wanted to stay 24/7 on‑site and see everybody and say hi to everybody and just enjoy the tournament as much as possible.
Now, you know, I try to be more quiet.  I try to leave the site whenever I can to keep the energy.
You know, of course a lot of things change, but my way of seeing the tournament and my excitement didn't change of course.  Just the way of how I act on the tournament.  That's all.

Q.  In other sports we talk about home field advantage, home court advantage.  In soccer, football, when you play at home, it's supposed to be a benefit.  Sometimes in tennis it feels maybe a little bit different.  I think you were kind of mentioning that with the pressure and stuff.  Why do you think that it's different in tennis that sometimes players actually find it more difficult to perform at their home tournaments?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Maybe because it's individual sport and you are just alone on the court and you have to handle all that, and it's not easy.¬† If you have a lot of experience and maturity it's not easy to face the media, the journalists, the press, your family, any one.¬† It's so different from all the other tournaments where you only travel with your coach or someone from your family and you have the feeling that nobody cares so much about you.
This time it seems you're on the big scene and everybody is watching what you're doing.  I guess it's the pressure, but it can be a good pressure.  Like you can really try to take the best out of it, and that's what I'm trying to do since 10 years already.
Sometimes it's working better than other time, but, you know, I think that if you give everything on the court and just being yourself and try to play the best you can, I mean, you cannot regret anything.  The crowd can only support you.  So just trying to stay simple.  I think that's the key.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French.

Q.  How do you feel physically just now?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† I feel rather good.¬† Since my little health problems between Miami and the Fed Cup, I'm all right.¬† It was a bit difficult to come back with the change of surface, too.¬† But I'm feeling good right now, and I'm starting this tournament being fit.
My tennis is okay.  Everything is fine.  All the conditions are there for a good tournament.
Then the only thing that you have to do is do it.

Q.  Question on the French crowd.  You talked about it diplomatically, but I believe in Strasbourg you were a bit upset.
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† I'm the only one saying that.

Q.  Do you believe only the French crowd is like this with their players?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† It depends on the places.¬† In the tournament Gaz de France in Paris I didn't have the same feeling.¬† I must say I gave it all, and of course the crowd was behind me.
I don't know.  Maybe there is something special about Strasbourg because I have been playing that tournament for a number of years and I always experience the same thing.  Maybe just they don't like me there or they don't like French players there.  But it's different here in the French Open, because we feel the crowd wants to be carried away with the player.  They want to support the French players.
So you shouldn't be a paranoid about it.  I love this tournament.  I will go on the court trying to do my best, and I will try to convince the crowd if I can; and if not, I'm not going to be depressed.  I'm just going to focus on my match.
A Grand Slam is very tough to manage, but if I have to add this factor, it's going to become impossible.

Q.  Another question on the same subject.  Do you believe French players, the French crowd, is more demanding with their players than other crowds?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Well, I don't know the relationship between crowds and players of other countries, but I know that when I'm in another country and I'm playing a local player, I can't hear any, Come on Aliz√©.¬† Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I think the French crowd is quite critical.¬† And I am also myself.¬† I mean, all French people are.
So maybe we are a bit different.  I just don't know.  I can't find the right word.  But if we want to charm the crowd, we have to play really well.  Of course you don't have to focus on that only.
But I believe the pressure on French players is quite high.  We know it's difficult to please everybody in France, but we would like to do that.  But it's tough.

Q.  Is it better for you to play first round against a player that you don't know so much so you can focus on your own tennis?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Well, it's always better to know the opponent beforehand so you know what to expect.¬† Sometimes when you play, you need a certain time to get used to her game when you play someone unknown.
Well, now I have been on the tour for a while and I more or less know each player, but I will anyway try to watch videos to see how she plays.  But what you're saying is not wrong.  When you play a Grand Slam it's important to focus on yourself and on your own game, and the tactics are secondary in those cases.

Q.  A general word on the draw.  We might say your part of the draw is quite open.  Did you see that, too?  Do you agree?  You will have time to get fit?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† Concerning my side of the draw, if I get to the third round, it's going to be one of the most difficult rounds in the tournament because Navarro is like Rafa, a feminine Rafa.¬† She's only top 15, but on clay I'm very worried to play her.
So we can't really say it's going to be easy after ‑‑well, I'm supposed to reach that third round.¬† I'm supposed to.¬† But if I play her, I will really have to fight hard if I want to be in the second week.

Q.  You were talking about your 10th birthday here, or anniversary here in the French Open.  What is the best and the worst moment here?
ALIZ√Č CORNET:¬† I think nothing can be compared to the joy of me as a 15‑year‑old winning a match here, a first‑round match.¬† I had a wildcard.¬† I played a top 60, and it was a huge emotion.¬† After I played against Am√©lie Mauresmo on Suzanne Lenglen it was incredible.
So now a match will never mean so much, because when you're 15 it's always magic.  When I played as a junior here at the French Open it was important, too.
And the worst moment?  Well, every time you lose it's so difficult.  I don't have a specific moment in my mind right now, but I remember some years I know I was not feeling so good in 2011, 2012.  It was tough because I was not confident coming in here, and I wanted to do well in spite of that.
I remember some moments that were not very pleasant that I can't really say they were the worst moments.  It's always a pleasure to be here in this tournament.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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