Re: Australian Open series 2009
- So you've decided to change your game, the game which brought you to the Masters Cup and the 6th spot in the rankings, which allowed you to beat Federer and Nadal last year...
- Yes. I'm convinced I need to serve harder. I already gained about ten km/h on my first and second serve during the winter. But I need to be able to serve like that during a longer period. I lost too many matches because the other guy was serving better than me at the end of the match. The other priority is the attacking FH. It's essential for me to feel confident in this weapon. I know how to use it in training, I need to be take advantage of the high balls on that side in matches too.
- You'll enter the AO without a win under your belt. It has to bug you...
- Sorry, but no. There's no panic. The Hopman Cup might not be an official event, but the matches there aren't complete jokes either. I also know I can hold out physically. I spent two hours training with Hewitt in the blazing sun the other day just after a work-out session in the gym.
- Are you planning on developping your "new" risky game in Melbourne?
- Melbourne is different. I've been waiting for that damn tournament for 3 months. I'm very careful because everytime I've been dying to play a big event in the past, I failed (in Roland-Garros). Melbourne is too important. If I'm in danger in the 1st round, I'll have no scruples about going back to a more defensive game. But I'll still think that my chances to improve depend on my ability to dare more in the next months. I'd like that winning a match like a "crook", struggling four hours on the court, becomes my last resort in the future.
- You make no secret of your big ambitions in Melbourne. How big are they?
- I've never reached the 4th round of a Slam. But to be honest, I aim higher. Like, a semi-final. I want to beat a top player in a Slam. I beat Nadal and Federer in other events. I'd like to do it again in a Slam.
- Would you take a semi-final in a Slam over a spot in the top 10?
- Yes, hundred times! I hear sometimes people wonder if X or Y is going to stay in the top 10 this year. Wow, huge deal there! I couldn't care less. I want to win a Masters Series or to do a huge thing in a Slam. In my mind, at the end of the season, I'll be ranked either #5 because I'll have achieved one of these goals or I'll be #30. To do the same as last year is "undermotivating" for me. I want to progress. To go higher. And I know it will be very tough. But if I reach the final in Melbourne and I don't do anything for the rest of the year, I'll be happy.
- Were you hurt to hear some players say that if Simon is top 10, everybody, including themselves, can do it too?
- I had a good laugh. Those guys are not going to enter the top 10 in a while. It's so easy to say that. It's funny, they're not making it past the 2nd round in tournaments [he might be discreetly hinting at Benneteau here...] While they're at it, why not say: "Federer's 13 GS are no big deal, I can do it too". The very same guys also have been saying for years that Nadal is going to go down. And Nadal is world number 1.