I hadn't even seen that part, I just skimmed through all the articles this morning before posting them. I agree, she seems nice. So you are from the North of France, Manu?
Didn't you say last time your family lives in Metz?
Here's the summary of the main article about Gilles and Jo in Saint-Cyprien ("Inseparable"):
Gilles takes part in all the activities with the rest of the group, but Jo has a personalized program. He arrived on Thursday evening, skipped the cycling which required the "fiercest" effort from everybody according to Quétin (the physical trainer of the FFT who takes care of Gilles in particular) and also the night in a mountain hut. Yesterday too, Jo had his own program, with special exercises in the morning and tennis in the afternoon. He joined the others for lunch, like every day, and Gilles and Jo meet the journalists after the lunch.
Piano or turbo?
Jo isn't really in shape yet compared to the others, but that's OK, he says he's just coming back from his holiday and not worried about his game atm, he just tries to add every day new things which will help him to improve. Which things? "It's my business", he answers very softly.
Gilles needed to reassure himself: "About my shape, my staying power, to show I'm still able to string together 10 days of intense effort." Tulasne is filled with admiration [as usual!] and stresses Gilles went from a 5 stars hotel in Mauritius to a night in a refuge with just a rough blanket. "If he keeps this simplicity, this confidence, this state of mind, it will be awesome".
Hidden or together?
Jo is feeling well in the group, but stresses the importance of working alone: "I was lucky to be in contact with the best French players when I was young and it's only natural to do the same now. If I can show to some young players with my way to be and to practice what one needs to do to achieve great things, it's a pleasure. But I make out my own time slots because it's an individual sport and I want to do 'my' stuff." Etc. He wants to have a great season in 2009, so he keeps to himself for the preparation.
Gilles, on the other hand, is glad not to be alone and says it's more fun to be with a group than alone with his ipod for things like the cycling, the trekking, etc. "We're on an equal footing here. The only thing I can serve as an example for is the attitude. When I'm on a bike, I'm not the one who helps the others up, they help me." [I don't know how to translate "tirer les autres vers le haut", but I hope you get the idea.] He came in a long way behind the others at the Ouillat pass. He did so poorly (he arrived one hour after the first one) that it could have hurt his ego, but no, he's laughing about it: "I took my bike, I gave my all, I'm beyond reproach, no matter how bad I was. No need to be Lance Armstrong to be good at tennis."
Number one and nothing else?
Jo sounds almost surprised when he's asked about his great run in Australia: "I don't think: 'people are now waiting for me'. It's assimilated now. The only limit in a ranking is the number one spot. It's always been my goal in order to be as good as possible. As long as I won't be it, I will have the desire to become the number one."
Gilles' appetite is less "pantagruelian": "The top 10 is one of the last steps. There aren't many players left ahead of one. One always needs new ambitions. But number one, no, it's too early. I realized I can beat the best players in the world. But one thing is absolutely sure, I can't compete with them on a season as a whole. When you see the physical 'density' it means, mentally too, I don't feel able to play at that level yet. My goals will be more 'simple': a big thing in a Slam. Because a goal on one week or two weeks is more attainable for me". (In the article about Jo I posted in his forum, he also adds the Davis Cup.)
Open or close?
Jo accepts to answer the questions of the journalists, but only during the time slot dedicated to the media, like Pioline used to. It annoys him when he has things to do and journalists arrive and want to take a pic, he feels like telling them: "But let me do my job". "I enjoy putting 1-2 journalists in their place from time to time."
Does Gilles find the media wearing too? "Yes! It encroaches a bit upon my peace, but I try to handle it as well as possible." He took an agent, the former player Sarah Pitkowski. Tulasne says it will force him to make some choices. "It's important he appears the way he is and not like a guy who tries to protect himself."