Here's the "summary" of the article of May 2007 I just posted: "The reserve Musketeers" (= Gilles, Flo Serra and Marc Gicquel)
It's easy to write an article about the 3 of them since they're always together on tournaments and sometimes even share an hotel room (I don't think it's true anymore they spend much time together...) 3 pure products of the French Tennis Federation (vs. Lagardère Team), who all had a hard time in the juniors competitions and also all passed the "bac" (French high school diploma). Other common point: none of them has gone far in a Grand Slam yet.
Gilles Simon: The tactician
Better than his actual ranking (he was #54 at that time), he has the intelligence/the sense of the game, but isn't the born hardworker.
He's pulling a long face when they meet him after a training session with Serra and Gicquel. The official reason: a severe gastro-enteritis due to an allergic reaction to cheese which will bother him during the entire clay season 2007. The other reason is that the French Davis Cup team is playing at the same time in Moscow and he isn't on the team, although he was the French number 2 when Forget made his team. And that doesn't go down (even more than the cheese). His agent is monitoring the interview carefully, obviously afraid he might say anything too controversial.
Gilles: "No no, I'm not hurt... But being number 2 in both rankings, for a tie on clay, which is a surface I like... it won't be easy to have so favourable conditions again for a first selection."
Tulasne, who is a big friend of Forget, tries to calm him down: "I told him Forget does follow what he is doing. But to be on the team, he needs to win big matches in big tournaments, like a quarter of final in Roland or Wimbledon."
He has good results, but not in Grand Slams yet. "When I think of the players who are in the top 10, I'm not really afraid of them on a particular match", he says though.
This 'I'm not afraid of anybody' attitude has deep roots: "I have a growth retardation of 3 years. When I was 15 years old, I was 1,53 m tall. My father and my brother had the same problem. I went to endocrinologists who told me there wasn't anything wrong, that I was going to grow up." But his opponents already were 1,80 m tall. "They were almost adults. I was still a kid, I could hardly beat them. In fact, I didn't beat them. It's a little bit frustrating to lose to a player when you know you're a better player, just because he serves at 180/190 km/h while my serves looked like underarm serves."
Other guys might have already given up at that stage, he didn't, hung on, between the piano lessons and the school, learned how to read the game of the opponent, to move better, to become a better tactician. "The short players often have a better sense of the game. It's rare to see players who are 2 m tall do great things."
Gicquel confirms that when Gilles started on the tour 2 years ago, he looked like a kid, he was so skinny, nobody knew him, the other players were not careful enough. Serra: "He has an unpleasant game. Most players hate playing against him."
Tulasne: "He has a wide range of talents. His flaws: he tends to spread himself too thin, to have lapses of concentration. He needs to be more professional in every detail."
First thing to improve: his stamina. Even his friend Serra says: "He could work harder." Quétin (his physical trainer): "When we try to make him do a little bit more with Tulasne, he answers: 'I already give my best on the court'. But it's not enough to enter the top 30."
And Tulasne's conclusion: "He hasn't got much facial hair yet, I think he'll reach his physical maturity at the age of 25-26". At 22 years, Gilles Simon is still looking like a Junior.