Henri Leconte interview from BBC website [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Henri Leconte interview from BBC website

02-26-2005, 02:00 PM
I found a recent interview with Henri Leconte on the BBC website, and thought I would post it here.


Q&A: Henri Leconte

How did you first get involved in tennis?
Darren Ewen, England

It was a long time ago! My family was involved in tennis - my mother was teaching tennis. I had two sisters, one brother, I was the youngest and everyone was playing tennis. I started when I was six-years-old.

Who inspired you the most when growing up and why?
Jacob Pollak, Birmingham, England

Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase and Bjorn Borg. Later it was John McEnroe, but at first it was Jimmy. He was always fighting on the court, he had a real fighting spirit and I was very impressed when I watched him.

Who were the players you most and least enjoyed playing against and why?
Paul, USA

I used to love to play against Ivan Lendl. I won a lot of times against him. He had a game that suited me very well. I always found it difficult to play against John McEnroe because his game wasn't typical and I didn't really know where he was going to serve. It was always complicated against John!

Bonjour Henri, in my opinion your great career deserved at least one grand slam title. In the French Final in 1988, was your defeat a case of nerves, pressure to win in front of the Parisian crowd, Wilander was too good, or a combination of all three?
Matt Leslie, Scotland

I had chances in the first set because I was serving for it, but I think the pressure in France was too big. I didn't handle it, but I made up for it in the Davis Cup final against the United States. I had reached a Grand Slam final and lost and I remember thinking that it wouldn't happen again twice and that's why I played so well against Pete Sampras in that Davis Cup final.

You have had an illustrious career and have entertained me for years. What would you say has been your proudest moment?
Minesh Unadkat, Harrow, UK

The Davis Cup final in Lyon in 1991. We played against a team of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi and we hadn't won the Davis Cup for 59 years! It was my biggest moment for sure, but I had some great wins at Wimbledon and the French Open as well - particularly when I beat Yannick Noah in Paris in 1985, and Pat Cash at Wimbledon in 1986.

Who is your favourite tennis player at the moment?

Roger Federer, for sure. He has a game that can play on all different surfaces. I think he has to learn how to play on clay, to slide - it's a really different technique. I do think that he can win the French Open. It's the only one that he hasn't won yet.

I think he has the game and also the mentality to win that Grand Slam title and then to beat the record of Pete Sampras. Sampras won 14 Grand Slam titles, which was amazing, but the best player for me was Bjorn Borg. Six times he won the French Open in a row, and five times in a row he won Wimbledon. Nobody will do that ever again.

Do you believe that Tim Henman has the talent and mindset to win at Wimbledon?
Alf, England

Every single year we have this question! Will he make it or not!? Whatever happens I think it is a great achievement to reach the semi-finals so many times. He was so close in 2001 against Goran (Ivanisevic) when it rained. Of course he still has an opportunity to win it, but it depends what happens with the draw. He needs to be lucky as well.

I was just wondering if you believed Monfils had the ability to become a true champion?
Adrien, US

He has a lot of talent, he is part of the Davis Cup team for next week, he plays very well and he has good humour. He has the capability to be a good tennis player. Already he has made some good results and beaten some good guys.

He needs to keep gaining confidence and I think he has the opportunity. But he needs to work hard physically because he is so tall and he needs to work on his legs. Tennis is not the same now as it was in the 80's when you could play for 12 or 14 years. The way the guys play now you are more likely to be on top only for six or seven years and if you aren't in shape physically you are going to break.

Out of all the players on the mens tour, who would you consider to be most like you in terms of playing style, and character?
Darryl Bonsor, United Kingdom

It was a different story with me because I had a different mentality to the other players - I really loved to play the game of tennis. For me it's still a game. Ok, if you do well and win matches you make money, but you shouldn't forget that it's a game.

I hope they still enjoy playing tennis because it's great. At the Delta Tour of Champions event in Frankfurt that I am playing at now, I play for a couple of hours, and it's a great job.

We are very lucky to be able to do it. As long as you have passion for it, it's great. I think (Marat) Safin has humour - he does some crazy things like pulling his shorts down at the French Open! Goran (Ivanisevic) was great as well. We need players like that.

I came to see you at The Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall last Year. You were brilliant! I was wondering whether you ever considered changing from being a tennis player to anything else?
Levent Harris, England

There's a lot of things I wanted to be! I would still want to be in sports - maybe I would have been a Formula One racing driver if I had not been in tennis. I would also have loved to be in a movie - to be an actor. I would play the bad guy! I really love movies.

I also like doing my charitable work to help people who aren't as fortunate as us. All of the players on the Champions Tour are doing it and I think it's great. So many people need help in life and we are so lucky that we are healthy. I love to play tennis, to make some jokes and be happy.

03-06-2005, 12:22 PM
Good old Henri, hard to believe he's never won a GS. Had all the shots in the game. That's entertainment.

05-26-2005, 11:40 AM
Thanks for the interview! BTW, I wish Henri's autobiography was available in English as well as French, would be fun to read it!

02-06-2006, 10:34 PM
brilliant as always! gotta love Henri :worship:

03-04-2006, 05:43 AM
Does anyone remember his French Open match against Nicolas Kulti back in '92? That was a crazy match, the crowd was loving him.