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post #34 of (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: News & articles

Here is the first part, it's very long, I need a break - of course, feel free to translate the rest if you're bored (it's not an exact translation, as usual, don't take it too literally!):

You've been injured a lot in the past. How did you go through this new injury break which must have reminded you of other ones?
- Actually, quite well. I was able to take some time off from tennis and it wasn't a bad thing. It gave me back the desire to play.

Had you lost the desire? Does too much tennis kill tennis?
- Exactly. It was getting too much and I was growing tired of it. Now I'm 'starving' again and I can't wait to be back on the court. All the buzz around me off the court wore me out, of course, but tennis itself also was tiring me out at a time.

One thing you said in Miami sounded like a warning sign: 'If that's what a tennis career means and it's going to last ten more years like that, wow!'
- I was starting to realize that all this was wearing me out. You have to understand what I was going through since the final in Melbourne too, it was inhuman.

Was it that bad?
- I had no time for myself anymore. Nothing. During the tournaments, the ATP was trying to make the most out of the 4-5 hours we owe to them every week. I was giving interviews, afterwards I went practicing, then the recuperation phase, then again signing sessions, then I had to visit the sponsors... It was a rotten life!

More than three months have passed since the AO final. We can now judge better what happened to you with the benefit of hindsight. What have you learned from it?
- That it's a strong feeling to get all this love. On the street, in Congo, everywhere. But it's hell at the same time. It's extremely destabilizing when it happens to one over night.

Were you afraid to get out of your game?
- If things had gone on that way, I would have gotten lost for sure. I didn't know anymore if I was playing well or not, if I was training well or not. So I needed to stop. That's what I did.

Do you think the injury occured to say 'Stop!' somehow?
- Absolutely. I knew I was exhausted when I arrived in Miami. I told Eric: 'Listen, I don't feel like playing anymore.' It had already happened to me in the past, but never so badly. And what happened? I played shitty matches because the positive energy I need for my game wasn't there anymore. I was totally negative, I was moaning, I was tight. I shouldn't have played there, but that's not easy when everybody wants you to play. So I've learned to say 'No'. Even if people don't understand, even if people are disappointed. The most important thing for me is myself!

Are you feeling yourself again now?
- Yes, and it feels so good. Just the fact to have some peace and quiet at home. It might sound silly, but I was missing it so much... To be able to say: 'What am I going to do tonight? Oh, nothing, I'll just stay at home and watch TV.' I went back to Le Mans, I even went fishing. I didn't catch anything, but I was there. And the 3 cows around don't ask for autographs at least.
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