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Old 06-04-2006, 12:56 PM   #75
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Default Re: Articles & Interviews

Day 7 - An interview with Paul Henri Mathieu
Saturday, June 3, 2006
Player Overview


Q. You feel like you let fly this one, that you can win at the end?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Yeah, I mean, I think I had my chances. I think he play good few games each time at the end of the sets. He deserved to win today.

Q. Your game plan was basically to attack his backhand?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: I think he have a better forehand than backhand, so I try to go to his backhand more, just try to make him miss, go to the net to his backhand.

Q. Can you think of any other player that you have played in your time on the tour who physically can do what Nadal can do over four or five hours each match?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: No. I play many, almost everyone. That the only one.

Q. For you, what do you learn about yourself? What can you learn about yourself from a match like this where you obviously gave everything you had to give?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: What can I learn? I don't know. If I had win this match, maybe I could win the tournament one day. That's a positive thing.

Q. How do you think the fans influenced your performance today? Do you leave the court disappointed after this game?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Yeah, I mean, the first thing I think, yeah, I want to win more than anything. I think I play a great match. We play for a long time.

Tomorrow I will be more positive, for sure.

Q. And about the fans?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Yeah, I mean, is great to play on the center court here, especially when you're French. Was great, yeah.

Q. If you play that kind of match against Federer, do you think you may beat Federer? With this kind of match, you can beat any player in the world except Nadal?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: I think Nadal is No. 1 on clay court. If I beat him today, I think I can beat anyone, yeah.

Q. What did you think happened in the third set when Nadal called for the doctor?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: I don't know, this is very strange. We call a trainer at 5‑4, 15‑All. Strange thing. I don't know what happens.

Q. How did that affect you?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: I mean, is difficult to talk about the rules. For my part, I think you have to wait at least the end of the games to receive your treatment, not during the game at 15‑All, 5‑4 in the third set. I mean, this is tough.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

Q. Do you think maybe you are helping the players that are going to play against Nadal because you probably have taken a lot of his energy?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Well, I think he's used to playing for long matches. I remember in Monte‑Carlo he had played four hours. I remember in Barcelona. He was just training twice on the Monday. I don't think he's going to be tired. I don't think it's going to make any difference.

Q. Do you have the feeling that you gave your best tennis today, at least during the first set and during the match in general?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: No. If it had been my best tennis, I would have won. During the first set, the end of the first set was good. I had good shots. He always played well at the beginning of this set. It was very intense. It was difficult to hold the rhythm physically and mentally.

It's difficult to keep the same level and the same rhythm for nearly five hours. I think I played well, but I have played better.

Q. How did you manage to save so many breakpoints? I think it's eight. They are important points. Each time you saved them. Where do you find the energy for that?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Well, I was trying to control the game. I was trying to forget that they were breakpoints. You're trying to play each point, and you even sometimes forget the score. I was so focused that I knew I had no possibility of letting go of anything.

Q. Do you have the feeling your tactics were good? Did you use your game plan against him?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: I had played against him a number of times. Each time I played with the same tactic. It gave me good possibilities. It was never an easy victory for him.

It's very difficult because he plays cross‑court on his forehand. I knew all that, so it helped.

Q. You were trying early in the rallies. Was that the tactic?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Yes. Sometimes you are going to want to finish very quickly. This is where you fail. This was my problem in the previous matches. In a way, it was my problem today as well. I tried to be more patient.

Q. How were you as far as physical resistance was concerned? You looked still fine in the fourth set.

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Yes, I was still okay and quite fit.

Q. What would you say to a player asking you what has to be done to beat Nadal on clay, which would give an indication for your own game for the future?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: First of all, not to be overimpressed by him. You have to show him that you are there on the court to beat him. That's No. 1. He's very, very good on clay, but I don't think it's impossible to beat him. It's difficult, but it's not impossible.

For a middle range player, it seems that his level is so high that it's impossible, but he can be beaten.

Q. Can you already have a sense of that sort of level before?

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Yes. Against him in Dubai, the first set in Dubai against him. The intensity of the game was the same. It was much shorter, but I was aware of the fact that I had to be there all the time at the beginning of the second set. He's always there with the same rhythm, the same intensity.

Q. You had a number of breakpoints that you had to save.

PAUL HENRI MATHIEU: Well, he's always returning and very often with a lift on the ball. It was not a main problem to return on his serve, that was not the main problem I had today.
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