I saw the last 2 sets of his match today, he was great, very impressed by his composure too!
Here's the translation of yesterday's article:
NADAL, MURRAY, LJUBICIC, Djokovic, Federer, Hewitt, Murray, Roger-Vasselin. This is the list of the players who have beaten JMDP in the last 6 months. There's no typo. Roger-Vasselin, "189th wheel of the coach", does belong to the list. You might find that weird, funny, deceptive or trivial. But don't forget to add: well-deserved.
The Argentine, 5th player in the world, didn't tank or mention any injury yesterday. He was slow, standing too close to the ball, couldn't find his rhythm on the FH side, he simply wasn't at his best. "I played poorly. I called the doc because I was feeling nauseous. He told me it was just the jetlag. But that's not an excuse. Having won a Slam doesn't make any difference: if I'm not playing my best tennis, I will lose to a guy who takes his chance and knows how to play tennis."
Édouard does know how to play tennis. Édouard also is a good boy. We've heard all that so many times already. "Pretty game, great guy, nice, clever, but no guts/not the mentality of a winner." The "great guy" admits it. "When I was training with Mathieu and Gasquet, I was trying to make them play well. Not to win the point."
It's true he has a pretty game, by the way. He served better than Del Potro yesterday (hence the 6 BP saved out of 6). He even dominated the rallies very often. And he believed he could do it. "I said to myself: 'Either you take it as a nice match, Del Potro, a Center Court with 10 000 seats... Or you take it as a nice match you want to win.' I thought a lot of Jérôme Haehnel beating Agassi in Roland-Garros in 2005 (when he was ranked 271st in the world, Agassi was 6th)."
The 25-year-old Parisian was shaky twice. The first time in the first game of the match, on his serve. "The tension. I was impressed." The 2nd time when he served for the first set at 5-4. "I calmed down, hit two FH volleys mid-court on 2 BP and got things going again. It probably made him doubt when I won the first set and held at the beginning of the 2nd set, while he was starting to hit the ball harder. I can imagine how he was feeling: he was playing a small guy he didn't know, it was tough..."
Tough wouldn't be strong enough to describe Roger-Vasselin's summer. The sudden death of his friend Mathieu Montcourt shattered him. "My girlfriend was with Mathieu on that night, she was telling me on the phone what was happening. It was more than brutal. I couldn't play for the next 3 weeks." At that time he was also about to leave the Team Lagardère. "I left them or maybe they made me leave them, I don't remember, he smiles. I spent 3 years there and I reached my best ranking with them in July 2007 after making it to the 3rd round in Roland-Garros and Wimbledon. But the end of the story wasn't so nice."
Édouard now is training at the Paris Lagardère. (It sounds similar, but it has nothing to do with the other thing.) A simple tennis club, with Grégory Carraz (#54 in 2004) as a coach. "We practiced 2 days together with Grégory just before I left to play the qualies in Bangkok and here. Pretty good, this Carraz, isn't he?"
And his dad? Is he good too? "My father told me one thing on the phone: 'Try some short slice on Delpo's FH, he might miss then.'" Édouard listened to his father and it worked very well. You have to know that the slice BH was the speciality of Christophe Roger-Vasselin, who lost to Noah in the French Open semi-final in 1983. How many times has Édouard been asked questions about his father? Even the Japanese journalists did yesterday. "All this talk was annoying me when I was young. Then people started to say: 'Hmmm, he's not as good as the father'. In a silly reaction to all this, I didn't take enough advantage of the advice my father was giving to me. I want things to be different now." Hey, dad, do you have a trick to beat Jürgen Melzer too?
And his father also comments a little bit on the match, he says he isn't surprised and it's well-deserved since Édouard decided to leave alone for Asia to play the qualies there. He asked him lately about the difference he feels in his game compared with his level of 2007 and Édouard answered he doesn't notice any difference - just a matter of confidence.
He can't give him any piece of advice for the match against Melzer, though, because he only knows the players he often sees on TV. He thinks Édouard can crack the top 50, why not.