In fact, i appreciate what he can do on the court/his interviews sometimes but i wouldn't say i'm a "fan" and i also think he could/should play more aggressively as he's capable to especially against players who gives him time to do so; particularly at his peak it was the case indeed.
I love reading what he thinks but I don't always agree with his thinkings. And I also think sometimes he's telling himself something that is not really the case. But I don't think it's problematic. I think there's a lot of ways to get to Rome. If a little denial or other ways of interpret things that will lead to the same result... ultimately the important thing is whatever mean that leads to the same end, a desirable outcome.
As for what he can do during his peak, the thing is, he can still do those things now even when he's not peak anymore. It's just that it comes far too infrequently (once in awhile, there's a Del Po win). In his peak, he's confident, a lot more healthier, and have no expectation. All these have changed. A lot cannot be reversed, like he probably cannot be any more healthier than he was at 23, nor can he have less expectation than he was in 2008. But less not think about 2008 anymore, let's all move on and stop regretting that he's not the 2008 Gilles Simon anymore. Doesn't mean he won't be any good anymore, at least I don't really see it that way. Gilles shouldn't look bad either, cos there's really no point thinking that he can never be as good anymore, that will be so counter-productive. So I hope Gilles is only looking forward and believing that the best is still to come.
I've also noticed he makes more unforced errors on easy balls and is generally relatively slower, not a good thing...
Ah, that's the part that his game deteriorate the most. Nowadays he has a lot of UEs in his game, I don't know if it's because he's a step slower or if he's just not focus enough, or it's just technical since he also mentioned his game regressing. But he used to be able to rely on outmanoeuvring the opponents, and his own UEs is making it hard to do now.
Otherwise, as you said, it's a problem of mindset, natural instincts and confidence with him, but for instance when he has a better serving day like against Del Potro in Marseille, he feels more confident and he's way more proactive in rallies and at return of serve (by coincidence, i've even read on twitter few people saying it was one of the few Simon's entertaining matches
Well, tennis is a sport where mental toughness and confidence are really important to get results anyway, more so than playing style and talent.
Confidence comes from so many sources, one is feeling that you can rely on your body, this source has significantly diminished these days. Plus, he said he's been spending so much time on the physio part than on court (a ration of 4:1). That helps him to not get injured as frequently but also hurt his game. He did mention before he needs to balance out these 2 parts. Let's hope that his scheme of fixing his body will come to fruition as he has planned, by RG. His physical issue is really the source of a lot of his problems now. So there is always hope that once he is healthy again, the confident and the ability to train will be restored too.
Unfortunately, i doubt anything will change drastically with a new coach, in my opinion it's too late to win something worth mentioning: he's 28, struggles with injuries, has passed his prime and the ATP level is high.
I remain hopeful but I'm also cautious to not think once a new coach onboard that his game will be fixed, that the result will be fixed. It's far too easy to think a change will guarantee good, but there's no guarantee. But in his desperation, as in now, a change will hopefully sparks some inspiration. In team sports, like hockey which I follow closely, a new coach can always get a few wins upon arrival. There's a big psychological factor that inject optimism when there's a change. He needs a coach to fix his deficits, that at least is one solution that can easy be resolved (getting the coach part, not sure about fixing his deficits). And not rushing into one is good, he doesn't just need a coach, because he's so opinionated, he needs someone that can really convince him.
As for his mental toughness, it's still there. He won more matches playing badly these past few months than ever, which is helpful since he can barely play well anymore these days. But I think mental toughness helps him to not lose, doesn't help him to win. He needs confidence, he needs to believe that he can beat anyone. And ppl say Tsonga is much more mentally tough than Gilles. I disagree. Tsonga has much more belief than Gilles, that's why he almost always beat the guys lower than him and can give the big guys challenge. There is a different. But anyway, I think Gilles' mental is pretty much the only strength of him that's still working. And lets see Gasquet these days, he's getting very consistent now beating most that's below them, that to me is the belief working, that he's believing now that he's better than those below him. But he's still not be considered a mentally tough player. I don't know if my theory is right, but that's how I feel anyway.
I guess he will continue to have good and shaky days in terms of confidence, play etc with solid results but nothing more, apart from one of two good performances in MS 1000 per year so a pattern of his whole career.
Well, one or 2 good performance in MS1000 per year is not bad. It is what differentiate a Top 16 from the players below them. If a player is consistently QFinalist in MS1000, he'll be Top 10. A consistent QFinalist also in all Slams is probalby a Top 6. I know he's not capable of consistently good at big events, so I can only hope for occasionally good. And like you said, that's his pattern anyway, he was good in 2 MS1000 in 2008, that consequently get him to a TMS SF. And remember how excited everyone was at him then? It really doesn't take much and I'm not asking for more either.
I compare last year since he became coachless, to the previous year. From Beijing 2011 to Mia 2012 compare to Tokyo 2012 to Mia 2013, the points are 595 and 1215 respectively. I don't know what it means except the fact that he's doing something right. That 595 pts was during a period that he was in bad form plus lots of physically issues. Now, if you think about after Bangkok last year, he was in bad form too, then out of the blue Bercy happened. Really, not much seemingly has changed this year. He played with injuries, he played horribly, but he wins. I don't know what is the element that's causing these, maybe it's his attitude like he said. Maybe his physical is really improving despite it appears to not be so. All I know is, he's doing something right whether we know it or not. Yes, it's hellish to have to watch him struggled physically and gamewise every match, on the other hand, tremendous satisfaction to see him win despite all his difficulties. Gilles is really something special. So we may think he's stupid to go coachless, that he's not training right... but funny enough, the result said it's not a bad decision. Having no coach probably won't work long term, but this coachless period somehow did benefit him. We all want him to play fantastic and win matches that we can feel proud of, like that one against DelPo. But on the other hand, I also want him to win first and foremost. It sometimes marvels me more that someone wins by merely refusing to lose (that reminds me of Nole 2010 and his DFs. Every game I watched him he was struggling everywhere, yet he won. And I think that's why he eventually becomes Nole 2.0. That attitude of refusing to lose, perhaps is really part of the progress to become a great champion. I'm not expecting Gilles to become Nole, I just want to point out that Gilles also possess an important strength that can help him to be more success in the coming days. As of now, Gilles has too many issues and the clock is clicking. But against all odds seem to be his specialty. It is not hopeless.