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Old 04-19-2008, 09:12 AM   #1
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Default Articles & interviews

Here's the translation of what we were talking about with Brego in the pics thread. There are bits of post-match interviews during the Australian Open 2006 here - it was pretty much his first "coup" on the tour when he beat Massu and Berdych, people didn't know him yet, so he was asked to describe his game in interviews, that's why I find it funny to read a few years later:
Quote:
Gilles Simon (à propos de son jeu) : "Mon jeu est bizarre"
"- Qui est Gilles Simon?
- Ça, j'en sais rien! (Rire) Personne n'a jamais trouvé. Même pas moi!
Je pense être un joueur un peu atypique. Je suis capable, comme tout le monde, mais un peu plus dans les extrêmes, de faire le meilleur et le pire sur un terrain de tennis.
- Guy Forget dit de vous que vous êtes un génie.
- (Rire) C'est gentil, ça me touche! Maintenant, j'en suis pas sûr! C'est quand même le premier tournoi où il me voit jouer. Si c'est ce qu'il pense, tant mieux, mais je suis pas sûr quand même.
J'aime bien faire des changements de rythme. J'ai un bon timing quand je frappe la balle, ce qui me permet de frapper assez fort sans dépenser trop d'énergie. Maintenant, c'est vrai que j'ai un jeu un peu bizarre, pour les adversaires qui ne me connaissent pas, parce que je joue très doucement la plupart du temps et quand je décide d'en accélérer une, ça va assez vite. C'est dedans ou dehors, mais souvent ça termine le point. Donc je comprends ce que vivent les adversaires. Moi, j'ai horreur de ça quand je joue quelqu'un comme moi, qui joue sans timing, sans forcer – c'est peut-être pour ça que je joue comme ça, d'ailleurs."
- Who is Gilles Simon?
- I have no idea! (laughes) Nobody has found out yet. Not even me! I think I'm a bit atypical. I'm capable of the worst as well as the best on a tennis court, like everybody else, but it's more extreme with me.
- Guy Forget said you're a genious. [That part still cracks me up!]
- (laughes) It's nice from him, I'm touched! Now, I'm not sure about that! It must be the first time he watches me play in a tournament. If he thinks so, that's great, but I'm not so sure.
I like varying the pace. I have a good timing in striking the ball, that's why I can get so much force on the ball without expanding too much energy. Now, it's true my game is a bit strange for players who don't know me because I play very softly most of the time and when I decide to speed up the ball, it goes pretty fast. It's in or out, but most of the time, it's deciding. So I understand what my opponents go through. I hate playing guys who play like I do, without much pace, without hitting hard - maybe that's the reason why I play like that.

And Potier (his coach at the time) says he's very talented with fundamental qualities - able to hold out very long, very fast, great returner, amazing backhand and a real competitor. He is very stubborn, which has disavantadges, but the advantage is that he doesn't give up in matches. (The journalist says his game reminds of Santoro's - I don't see it ): It's different from Santoro. Gilles' shots are not heavy because he weighs 60 kg, but the ball goes very fast. "He didn't really amaze me against Berdych because the other guy was playing like an idiot, so I was sure Gilles was going to hammer him. It was hilarious."

Last edited by Truc : 04-23-2008 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:25 AM   #2
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And one of his few interviews in English, the article on atptennis.com after his win in Marseille:
Quote:
How does it feel to win your first ATP title without dropping a set? Did you ever think you would do that having to beat Top 20 players Hewitt and Baghdatis along the way?
Winning the tournament without dropping a set is a little extra. It was great to be players like Hewitt and Baghdatis. I didn't really expect to win five matches in a row.

After you won the last point in the tie-break what was going through your mind?
I wasn't really aware of what I just did. You focus on the match and then suddenly everything is over. That's very nice. All of a sudden the match is over and that's a very special feeling.

You are the first Frenchman to win an ATP title this year and there is so much depth in French tennis with 12 or 13 players in the Top 100. What do you think about the state of French tennis?
I think that the French tennis has been improving during the last two years. Five years ago we only had one player in the top 50 and everybody was a bit worried. Now we are many, but I think that there should be more French players in the Top 20. Right now we have more than ten players in the top 50 and I hope that some of us will move to the top level.

You lost your first ATP final last year in Valencia and did you do anything different going into the Marseille final?
Not really. I was just having more fun on the court because it was in Marseille. Almagro was playing very well in Valencia. It was impressive. He deserved the victory more than I did. This time I played well, I felt good on the court and told myself to keep on playing like that. There was no reason why I couldn't win and I finally did it.

You play well on several surfaces and what do you consider your favorite one?
My game changes a lot depending on my confidence. Last year I did my best results on clay. This time I played well on indoor hardcourt, which I already did before. In 2006 I played well in Australia. So far only grass is missing. But I still did a quarterfinal at one event, which shows that I can play everywhere when I'm playing well.

Do you have any ranking goals or other personal goals in 2007?
I would like to get closer to the Top 20. I would like to maintain that level during the whole year.

What do you consider the best part (strength) of your game?
I think it's my game from the baseline. I play well on both sides. Usually I try to be solid and cover the court well. I want to show the opponent that it will be hard to beat me, my game is very physical.

Growing up did you look up to any player(s) and who were your favorite ones?
When I was a child my favourite player was Marat Safin. I've always liked him and I wanted to play like him. I loved his game, his technique and his coolness on the court. But besides him I never really had an idol.

If you weren't playing pro tennis what would be the thing you would like to be doing? And why?
I like music a lot. If I had to chose I would try to do that.

Like Yannick Noah?
Not really. I wouldn't sing, but I like to play instruments like the piano or the guitar. I've been playing the piano for ten years. But I had to stop when I was 17 years old because I started practicing a lot more. I also like the guitar and I'll try to play again later.

Who helped you get your start in tennis and when you were younger did you ever think about winning an ATP title one day in your home country?
Until the age of 14 I was playing in small club near Paris, US Fontenay. I had a female coach during seven years, her name is Celine Duveree. Later I joined the French team and started practicing at the Federation.
The family helped me a lot, first of all my parents. Also several people at the Federation such as Dominique Poey helped me a lot, since they believed in from the beginning. Also Louis Borfiga was important for me as well as my coaches Alois Beust and Jerome Potier and now Thierry Tulasne.
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truc View Post
[The journalist says his game reminds of Santoro's - I don't see it ):"
I don't see it either except that Gilles thinks out there like Santoro he doesn't just bash the ball.

Santoro, however, has great net play which alas we can't say about Gilles.

Thanks for the interviews.
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:46 AM   #4
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Here's the "translation/summary" of the interview he gave to "Nice Premium" before his first round match in Monte-Carlo. It's not so interesting, it's just a local newspaper, but never mind. It's most of all a review of the first part of the season in his perspective.
(He already gave a long interview to the same newspaper in Monte-Carlo last year, btw: Gilles Simon : "J'ose plus aller vers l'avant")

http://www.nice-premium.com/article/...-%BB.3129.html
Gilles Simon: "I'm eager to play against Federer"

"2007 was a good year. It was encouraging because I also played well in some important matches, even though I lost them. So my goals for 2008 were clear, I wanted to keep going. But my start in the new season is not good. The Australian tournaments were tough, despite of a good Australian Open. After that, I made a quarter of final in Marseille, a semi-final in Rotterdam, I thought it would be enough to be seeded in IW and Miami. But in both tournaments I just missed a seeding (33rd). I also had some bad luck for the Challenger of Sunrise between Indian Wells and Miami. I needed to confirm my entry until 18:00. My match against Youzhny finished at 18:03 and I had to wait one more week without playing matches.

The match against Nadal in Australia:
I was tense and nervous. In the first round, I had beaten Reynolds in 4 hours, I'm very happy about that match. [] In the 2nd round I beat Schüttler, but I was not playing very well and wasn't feeling my shots at all. Then the 3rd round against Nadal. I have no pressure, I find back to my game. I get a 5-2 lead in the first set and I get tight. I can't take my chances. 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, I end up losing this first set 7-5 after two games which feel extremely long. In no time, he's leading 4-0 in the 2nd set. I get myself back into the match, I lose that set 6-2, and then, at 3-3 in the 3rd set, I collapse and lose 6-3. It was close, a good match and a great experience.

Marseille and Rotterdam:
The first tournament was a plus. I finished the match against Djokovic with a terrible abdominal spasm (he smiles). The next round against Paulo was very tough. In Holland I played two very good matches against Lopez and Tipsarevic and won without too many problems against Gabashvili. The problem is that I collided with a bus in the semi-final! (he laughes) I played against an ultra-powerful Söderling. I've rarely felt dominated that way (6-2 6-1). I felt like he was only playing aces and winners during the entire match. It's the kind of matches I have no regrets about because the other guy is just too strong.

Indian Wells and Miami:
I was starting to feel well. I was ranked 29th before IW, but other players made some good results so I wasn't seeded. It was also due to a poor performance in Zagreb, I should have rather played Dubai. I lose in the 2nd round of IW, which means I can prepare properly for Miami. unfortunately I get a tough draw there and lose to Ancic in the first round.

Estoril:
This time, I had an open draw, but I got injured against Cipolla. It's annoying, all the more since the pain reappeared on Sunday in training with Marat.

About Monte-Carlo:
Playing a qualifier always is annoying, especially in a Masters Series. They all have a good ranking, between 50 and 70 [not exactly!] and can play tennis. It's not a walk-over. But it's very motivating to know I can play against Federer. I hope I'll be able to play at full capacity against him like I did against Nadal in Australia.
He's the only top 10 player (with Blake) I've never played against. It's all the more motivating that he's the actual number 1. I'm eager to play against him. I've never played against Agassi, there were a few occasions, but everytime either he or I lost in the round just before. It's one of my regrets, like not having played Hewitt, Safin or Henman in tournaments [when they were at the top, I guess]. I played Gaudio or former number 1 like Moya or Ferrero, that's great."

Then some general stuff:
It was a good experience to be on the DC team in Romania, to see how it works. It was nice, the atmosphere was good. He doesn't know what happened in the States and doesn't want to comment on it.
The French Open remains a big goal for him and he hopes he won't be injured. If he's seeded, great. If he's not, it's not that important.
His goal is to go to the Olympics. It will depend on the clay season since the 4 best French players after RG will qualify, so he hopes his back won't bother him too much. So far, he's in.

The goals for 2008:
"I want to climb in the rankings. If I'm #30 at the end of the year like I am now, it will be decent, but I'm supposed to be in an ascending phase and the real goal is to reach the top 20 and to win one title."

Last edited by Truc : 04-23-2008 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truc View Post

The goals for 2008:
"I want to climb in the rankings. If I'm #30 at the end of the year like I am now, it will be decent, but I'm supposed to be in an ascending phase and the real goal is to reach the top 20 and to win one title."
Amen to that
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:40 AM   #6
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Well Truc I wanted to Good Rep you for translating this and most of the other articles here but I have to spread my reputation around more before giving it to you again.

Thanks.

Edit: I tried to Good Rep you too Scott but the same thing. I don't know how much reputation I have to spread around but I've done about 10 good reps in the past couple days.

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Old 04-24-2008, 09:48 PM   #7
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I love you Fran

You have to spread the reps around a lot, Brego. This board likes you to be a whore.
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:20 PM   #8
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De rien, Scott.
Lee explained last time that we have to rep 20 different posters before we can rep the same poster again, Brego! I find 20 a bit much.

It's not so interesting for you because it's all in French, but I added a few older articles to the "blog" where I used to put my Gillou articles, interviews and videos (Marseille 2005, Australia 2006, Valencia 2006...):
http://gilles-simon.over-blog.com/
Of course, it's a bit repetitive since every article mentions the late growth issue, etc. But some parts are funny to read now - well, especially for me since I'm a new fan and I wasn't following him yet at that time, maybe you already know all that stuff.
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:26 PM   #9
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I can summarize at least a few bits.

The article about Marseille 2005 says he got an ovation from the crowd for his victory over Tojo, but hardly celebrated his win on the court. "It's not my style", he says in his first press conference ever. But he also says that he has always dreamed as a kid of playing one day in a beautiful stadium in front of a big crowd.
He says about himself he knows "he isn't much to look at" ("il ne paie pas de mine", I don't know the exact translation). He looks at first "out of line" on the tour with his legs which look more like the legs of an old woman.
But the players of the Challenger tour have learned at their expense that he's tireless and a formidable opponent (he is the player who played the most on the circuit in 2004 - 107 matches).
He's already working with Tulasne at that time who is quite laudatory: "He's a brilliant guy in real life [the article stresses he passed his "baccalauréat S", which is pretty good compared to the others] and perfectly knows how to adjust on the court, he proved it again against Tojo. He has a big potential." Gilles: "I know that my wait-and-see game won't be enough anymore at one point. But until I get 'real beatdowns', I'm sticking to my beliefs."

Last edited by Truc : 09-04-2009 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:31 PM   #10
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A few bits from the first AO 2006 articles:

The journalist describes him as "a 21-year-old 'lightweight' who looks like a sitcom actor and whose both thighs together are slimmer than one leg of Serena". ^^
After his first round, he called his coach Potier from the infirmary and told him to come because he wasn't feeling well at all. When Potier arrives, he laughes because Gilles is sleeping like a baby. "Gilles isn't a nutritional genius. His natural stamina is exceptional, but he doesn't really keep himself fit. And since he isn't used to play 5 sets matches, it leads to odd situations... Luckily, he's a great competitor. And when he doesn't whine on the court, he can do really great things."
After the Massu match, Forget was explaining to Clément with great enthusiasm: "This guy is a genius! I wish you would have seen how he bluffed his way through against Massu!"
His "off-beat" game reminds a little bit of Mecir or Mutis, with faster shots than Mecir and more doggedness than Mutis beneath his nonchalant attitude.
Gilles: "Everything is based on the physical aspect and it's obvious there's still a lot to do for me in that regard. I mean I have a good natural endurance, but 5 sets matches are another story. I'll need to develop my lower body. The problem is that I have to start from the scratch... It will be long, it will be hard, but I'll have to do it."

Last edited by Truc : 07-28-2008 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 04-26-2008, 05:11 PM   #11
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And the last one about the Berdych match in Australia (An unindentified tennistic object):

Berdych was completely mad after the match because it's impossible to find one's rhythm against Gilles. "He's a bit like those Frenchies who look ... [he makes a nonchalant gesture, with arms dangling]. He serves big three times in a row and then he serves as if he was throwing the ball with the hand. He looks like he's exhausted and then hits winners out of the blue..."
But this time, it wasn't just bluff. Gilles' tactics was to play without any intensity and to drive Berdych crazy.
Gilles isn't easy to coach with his mix of casualness off the court, stubborness and tenacity during the matches. "I know Jérôme (Potier) thinks I behave 'amateurishly' when it comes to the physical part of the training. It's not totally normal not to be able to walk after a first round match, that's true. He'd want me to work more. But I go through phases and sometimes it annoys me! I don't manage to keep the same intensity in training and in matches. If I miss a backhand in training, no big deal, I have 30 more tries."
Potier: "He has so many natural qualities that he isn't used to work. It's too bad because he has a better weight-power ratio than Ascione (whose nickname is "the Beef")! He's talented, clever and tenacious. And most of all, he doesn't whine anymore. He's much better since he has stopped telling his life story on the court during the matches." [I didn't know Gilles used to be a kind of Gaudio on the court! He's pretty impassive now.]
And the conclusion:
"Priceless in his devastating outspokenness, Gilles Simon can look forward to a radiant future: 'If I'm setting limits to myself? Right now, I would say no.'"

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Old 04-26-2008, 10:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
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"If I miss a backhand in training, no big deal, I have 30 more tries."


Merci Fran
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Old 04-27-2008, 06:52 AM   #13
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That quote made me laugh too!

I found the articles quite interesting because he was already 21 years old at that time and they're really talking of him as if he had to start everything from the scratch (start working properly on his stamina, etc.) He really is a latebloomer.
I'm sure Potier exaggerates too, he's like that a lot, judging by his interviews, but still, there must be elements of truth in what he says.
I prefer the Tulasne style, though.

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Old 04-27-2008, 06:57 AM   #14
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The summary of the Valencia 2006 articles ("Simon is asserting himself"):

He's still ranked out of the top 80 and strung a couple of good wins together to reach his first ATP final (over Sanguinetti (52), Seppi (54) and Verdasco in the semi (34)).
He still means at that time that hardcourt is his best surface, but says he hasn't any mental block on clay either [now he says clay is his best surface in interviews].
He's a bit disappointed since he wanted to play Safin in the final [he often says in interviews Safin was his favourite player when he was young], but will play Almagro.
Against Verdasco, he took the advantage in the tiebreak by playing serve & volley out of the blue. Potier: "He's as sly as a fox! Now he just needs to add the power of the bison."
Of course, the journalist takes up again this fox & bison metapher to comment on his loss to Almagro in the final. Gilles describes it himself as a "slaughter". "At the beginning, I was just trying to play the ball back in order to find my marks. I should have realized sooner that it was no use to try to slow down the pace."
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:28 PM   #15
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Default Re: Articles & interviews

Thanks so much Truc for translating those early articles.

I love how Gilles is never afraid to speak his mind.

Some interesting insights about him in your translations.
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