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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Articles & interviews

And one of his few interviews in English, the article on after his win in Marseille:
How does it feel to win your first ATP title without dropping a set? Did you ever think you would do that having to beat Top 20 players Hewitt and Baghdatis along the way?
Winning the tournament without dropping a set is a little extra. It was great to be players like Hewitt and Baghdatis. I didn't really expect to win five matches in a row.

After you won the last point in the tie-break what was going through your mind?
I wasn't really aware of what I just did. You focus on the match and then suddenly everything is over. That's very nice. All of a sudden the match is over and that's a very special feeling.

You are the first Frenchman to win an ATP title this year and there is so much depth in French tennis with 12 or 13 players in the Top 100. What do you think about the state of French tennis?
I think that the French tennis has been improving during the last two years. Five years ago we only had one player in the top 50 and everybody was a bit worried. Now we are many, but I think that there should be more French players in the Top 20. Right now we have more than ten players in the top 50 and I hope that some of us will move to the top level.

You lost your first ATP final last year in Valencia and did you do anything different going into the Marseille final?
Not really. I was just having more fun on the court because it was in Marseille. Almagro was playing very well in Valencia. It was impressive. He deserved the victory more than I did. This time I played well, I felt good on the court and told myself to keep on playing like that. There was no reason why I couldn't win and I finally did it.

You play well on several surfaces and what do you consider your favorite one?
My game changes a lot depending on my confidence. Last year I did my best results on clay. This time I played well on indoor hardcourt, which I already did before. In 2006 I played well in Australia. So far only grass is missing. But I still did a quarterfinal at one event, which shows that I can play everywhere when I'm playing well.

Do you have any ranking goals or other personal goals in 2007?
I would like to get closer to the Top 20. I would like to maintain that level during the whole year.

What do you consider the best part (strength) of your game?
I think it's my game from the baseline. I play well on both sides. Usually I try to be solid and cover the court well. I want to show the opponent that it will be hard to beat me, my game is very physical.

Growing up did you look up to any player(s) and who were your favorite ones?
When I was a child my favourite player was Marat Safin. I've always liked him and I wanted to play like him. I loved his game, his technique and his coolness on the court. But besides him I never really had an idol.

If you weren't playing pro tennis what would be the thing you would like to be doing? And why?
I like music a lot. If I had to chose I would try to do that.

Like Yannick Noah?
Not really. I wouldn't sing, but I like to play instruments like the piano or the guitar. I've been playing the piano for ten years. But I had to stop when I was 17 years old because I started practicing a lot more. I also like the guitar and I'll try to play again later.

Who helped you get your start in tennis and when you were younger did you ever think about winning an ATP title one day in your home country?
Until the age of 14 I was playing in small club near Paris, US Fontenay. I had a female coach during seven years, her name is Celine Duveree. Later I joined the French team and started practicing at the Federation.
The family helped me a lot, first of all my parents. Also several people at the Federation such as Dominique Poey helped me a lot, since they believed in from the beginning. Also Louis Borfiga was important for me as well as my coaches Alois Beust and Jerome Potier and now Thierry Tulasne.
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