My god this has taken me ages! But is a pretty good interview actually…Very honest and more interesting than normal? Lol oh yeah and its actually about tennis!!
SÉBASTIEN GROSJEAN talks about what he’s going to expect in 2004, given that he’s had 2 months off.
How are you training at the moment? As usual?
No. I’m doing a lot of upper body muscle work with Paul (Quétin), my physical trainer. I needed to try and push my limits and see how far I could go. I’m doing some exercises alone and really need to push myself during this time.
When did you decide you needed to do this?
When I realized I wanted to become more pro. We had discussed it with Thierry (Tulasne) in November, with the intention of making the most of this month before leaving for Doha on the 31st of December
So what have you actually been doing?
I picked up my racquet again on the 2nd of December after three weeks of rest and one week in the Dominican Republic because I was with there on holidays with my family. The end of the season was really tough. The fact that I had to go to Tokyo when I didn’t want to and it meant I had to play five tournaments in a row. The four to five weeks of holidays I had after Bercy did me a lot of good. I was able to forget about my frustrating defeats that I had at the end of the year. I had a lot of matches which I started well but wasn’t able to finish them as well. It wasn’t just because I was tired physically, it was all mental. On the more important points, I wasn’t with it enough.
So you've been lucky to have this break.
Yeah, completely. This break has been great. Thierry and I have started again slowly doing a bit of actual ‘tennis’ practice first, then doing a session of physical workout, every day. Then we did two tennis sessions and one physical. From now on, we’re going to do training and make it relevant to a match situation.
“My main goal are the same. I want to become number one.”
You played with the juniors at the Orange Bowl. (Monfils et Ouanna). What was that like?
I didn’t actually know them that well before. We spent four to five days together, it was good. They are completely different. There’s Monfils who’s very extroverted, I don’t know I think maybe he’s usually a bit quiet but he’s gone a bit crazy. *LOL* The other, Ouanna, he’s more reserved. He seems a bit more pro. But they both gave all they had and trained really well. It was nice to see.
You train with Richard Gasquet sometimes.
Yeah but it’s not the same. I know Richard, I’ve already played with him before, he’s already pro and is already in the top 100. The others are basically the same age as him, but aren’t at the same level as he is. Now that Richard is with Tarik, I think he’s going to keep playing really well. Even tho he is a bit far from France. Here, the training conditions are ideal: the fact to be able to play outside all year, it’s definitely advantageous.
How is that an advantage, exactly?
Well when we play outdoors, it’s harder than playing indoors: more rallies, more hitting. Less prépondérance (?) on serve. The heat means you’ve got to put in more effort. With Tarik, Richard will probably work more on the physical side. I’m not saying he didn’t do much of it before, but on the tennis side he know exactly what he’s doing.
- Last year you said, “My main goal is to be number one, but for that I have to be physically fit.” You said that at the start of this year?
My main ambitions are the same. I want to become number one. And I think about it more now because last year I wasn’t as rested (because of DC) like I will be before starting next year. This year, I was in the best conditions to reach that goald, and to try to have a good season. It was my priority. But no one can become number one if three months of the year is ruined. In 2003, I didn’t do well at Roland Garros and Us Open and 5 TMS tournaments. So that’s four years that I haven’t had a great *winter* period. But spending time at home really did me a lot of good.
”I’ve already beaten Ferrero, Federer and Roddick this year, so their successes give me strength »
why have you chosen to play Doha for the first time?
- Doha is bigger than Adelaide, more points. I’ll be the only frenchie there. If I get to the final, I’ll arrive in Melbourne on Monday night (12th) to play Kooyong the week before the Open. That would be perfect, I wouldn’t want to spend more time than that in Australia.
WHAT WHY?!!!!!!!!!! *heart broken*
What inspired your wins over Ferrero, Federer and Roddick this year?
I’ve already beaten them and their successes give me strength so think that I have the ability to maybe win a Grand Slam as well. They’ve all accomplished the hardest (to win a GS) and that’s why I work: to maintain a constant level all year.
So are you going to play Davis cup in 2003?
If we qualify for the second round and if I play the final of Key Biscayne, then I’ll come but then we’ll see what happens. But if everything is normal and goes to plan then I’ll be playing Davis Cup, yes. We talked to Guy about it during Bercy. The second round isn’t at a great time. For the past two years I haven’t been able to play on clay normally because of Davis Cup first and second rounds and having to change continents 3 times and playing practically every week. I was injured two times during this period, but I hope that this year, thanks to the quality of my preparation, it won’t happen again. I hope I will be right for RG and in my eyes, will be the tournament to win to become number one.
Note: Thierry Tulasne hopes that France will play the DC second round on clay. So, that will mean that it will help Seb’s preparation for Roland Garros.
What do you think of problems inside french DC team?
I think it was always headed in that direction. Some people expressed their opinions to the press…I mean if it was me, I would just tell the person I had a problem with. Except for me, they are all in Geneva, they would have to talk to each other. When people don’t talk face to face, some kind of *small crisis* is bound to happen. Before Bercy, everyone was talking about what they really felt. Maybe they were happier with the captain? Or the coaches? Or the staff? But apparently no, they just wanted to talk about what they really thought. Personally, I think my aim would be to win again but also maybe to stop everyone talking about other people in the team. Until that started, we’ve always been a very solid group.
Why is this so hard to do, stay such a solid group, even though you are all very good friends?
In Dc, it’s always like that. There are difficult periods. In 1999, start of 2000 it wasn’t easy then either. Then in 2003 there were a whole new set of problems. When we won in 2001, everyone said yeah everything’s good. But we weren’t paying attention to the small details. Consequently, it all built up and everything came out when we lost. It always takes something drastic like this to uncover stuff like this.
- It’s nearly Christmas. What present would a guy like you like?
(hesitates). The best present I could get would be to see my kids open their presents on Christmas morning. *AWWWW!*