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Old 01-06-2012, 07:20 PM   #811
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lalaland View Post
Thanks Soulage, for the article.

_____________________________________

The translated title makes me laugh. Simon is very high , as if the writer is saying he is *high* to set such tough goals, but I'm sure things are usually lost in translation. I think at this point of his career, this is really what he should be aiming at. So I agree on his assessment of his own situation. Go for it, Gilles.
Thanks Soulage and thanks Lala for your version.

Yeah, that title is
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:02 AM   #812
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Do you know that interview Simon-Gasquet made before the start of the season http://www.fft.fr/sites/default/file...60_pagesbd.pdf
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:50 PM   #813
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¿Could you post it? When i try to open it, it puts error.

Edit: I can open it know
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Benoît Paire, Edouard Roger-Vasselin,Nicolas Mahut, Jeremy Chardy, Aljaz Bedene, Florian Mayer, Tommy Robredo, Evgeny Korolev, Albert Ramos, Guillaume Rufin

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Old 03-06-2012, 06:07 PM   #814
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Yes there is a problem in the adress take the magazine from december-january http://www.fft.fr/actualites/tennis-info/2011
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:56 PM   #815
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http://www.onthegotennis.com/home/qu...les-simon.html

OnTheGoTennis
Thursday, April 19
Quick Q & A With Gilles Simon



What is your passion outside of tennis?

I would say video games.

What kind of video games?

I play all the video games. I’ve played since I was very young, so I play too much!

Do you ever play the football games against Rafa?
No, that’s the thing, I would say the sports games are not my favorite games.

What is something that annoys you?
Too many things! I will say the planes. Too much time in the airport.

What are you most afraid of?

I’m not afraid of many things, so I will say if something would happen to my little boy.

What is your favorite movie?
That question is never easy to answer. I’ll say Troy.

What is your favorite food?
Italian food! Of course! [Laughter] But French food is good also. wow, is it possible that Gilles' taste actually matures?

What is your favorite city?
Paris.

What is the last thing that you read?

Wow, the last thing that I read? I read about about the Presidents in 2010 in France, because I read about politics sometimes.

What is your most embarrassing moment that you are willing to share?
Well, I’ve had some, as everybody.... Once on the court in Cincinnati, I got upset during the match and I just throw my racket on the ground, but [it went] outside the court and I couldn’t have my racket back because it was in the parking lot, and we couldn’t go [there] and so I had no racket and I was alone on the court without my racket.

So what did you do?
I had to pick up one more and [it took] 10 minutes to go and 10 minutes to come back, and then the crowd [clapped].

If you had one superhero ability, what would it be?
To be invisible.

If there was a fire and you could only save one thing, not a person, what would you save?
My PS3! (His Playstation.)
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:22 AM   #816
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Love reading quick little Q & A's like this that aren't really related to tennis and reveal more about the person behind the player. It just further cements why I like...scratch that...adore him. It's really cool finding out that we genuinely have a lot in common outside of tennis.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:45 PM   #817
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http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/DEU...les-Simon.aspx

Frenchman Gilles Simon is on the verge of the Top 10 again, determined to develop a big game to ensure he achieves success on the sport’s grandest stages.

You’ll know where to find Gilles Simon at Roland Garros, shortly before his match is called onto court. He’ll be one of the players sleeping on the sumptuous burgundy-coloured leather sofas in the locker room. Relaxed, saving his energy, he’ll be topping up the 10 hours of sleep he needs per day. He will have eaten his favoured “original” meal of meat, rice and pasta hours before, while the Head racquets in his bag will have been re-gripped and the frames strung at his desired 24.5 kilograms (54lbs) tension. Thierry Tulasne, his full-time coach since 2007, will have not left anything to chance, discussing Plans A, B & C. Physical trainer Paul Quetin’s job will be complete.


“It is very rare to find a player as relaxed as Gilles before matches - in the locker room or at lunch,” Tulasne told DEUCE at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. “As a player, I tried to be nice and relaxed before I played, but I felt butterflies in my stomach. Sometimes Gilles’ mind isn’t on the match early enough. He should feel the pressure. An hour before the match, I sometimes ask him to ‘feel the pressure’, to be ready the minute he steps on the court.” There is no doubt, with Tulasne by his side, Simon has the right man. “There was an enormous amount of pressure on every French player when I played,” explained the former World No. 10. “That is why, I feel, we work well together. Everything he feels, I felt. I can help him deal with those pressures. Yannick Noah found the right way to play in Paris. He is one of my best friends and I use his experience for Gilles.”

In the 30 minutes until Simon strides out on the court all French players love, Court Philippe Chatrier, he will be nervous. He’ll be happy with his preparations, but anxious he may not perform as he will hope. “I am nervous when I play at Roland Garros,” Simon told DEUCE, in the players’ lounge, at the Foro Italico. “It is a very important tournament to me and I care about how I perform there. When the tournament is important, you want to do something good. That is why it is difficult, because sometimes you don’t perform well.”

That fear, has distracted him - and every French player down the years - the most. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be in the locker room, having spent time on the physio’s table; his great friend from juniors, Gael Monfils, will be stretching with resistance ropes, bouncing around or applying strapping up his knees, while Richard Gasquet will be getting loose and mentally preparing. Simon’s wife, Carine, and their son, Timothé, will be in the stands and the World No. 12 will have none of his beloved PlayStation computer games to let his mind drift. Just himself and the vision of player activity as he counts down the minutes to the Referees’ call to action.

Simon handled the pressure admirably 12 months ago, in victories over Jeremy Chardy and Mardy Fish on Roland Garros’ main show court, en route to the fourth round. Over the past seven years, the patriotic Frenchman has gotten used to the attention he has received. “I have gotten used to the pressure and the attention surrounding it,” said Simon. “I feel much more confident and stronger on the court. I am improving every year. Last season, I had a great feeling on the court reaching the fourth round.” But the start of each Roland Garros is different. As each year passes, the shadow cast by the emotional scenes surrounding Noah’s triumph in 1983, grows. Ten Frenchman are listed in the Top 100 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Each player hopes to shine in late May on their grandest stage.

Among his compatriots, Simon is ‘Mr Consistent’. He has won 10 ATP World Tour singles titles - the most among active Frenchmen - which includes a run of trophy-winning success over six straight seasons (2007-2012). But Simon doesn’t have the personality of Tsonga or Monfils, whose power and athletic games ignite galleries worldwide, nor does he possess the elegance of Gasquet, whose classic technique pleases the sport’s purists. As a result, Simon is happy with the attention he receives. “With their personalities they attract crowds,” he said. “I am okay with it.”

Edouard Roger-Vasselin told DEUCE, at the Estoril Open, “He doesn’t get the headlines like Jo, Gael or Richard, but he remains at the top of the game. He plays from the baseline. He doesn’t have spectacular shots like Jo’s serve, Richard’s serve or Gael’s flare. But whenever you play against Gilles, you know it’s going to be a tough match.” Tulasne confirmed to DEUCE, “Gilles doesn’t suffer from the attention Jo, Gael and Richard receive. He knows why. Jo and Gael are black, tall, big, strong and are charismatic. Gilles knows, for him, it is about his results. If he has a big result and portrays the right image, he will get the attention. He wants to be himself, he doesn’t want to be someone else.”

Simon has never hidden behind a mask. For Gasquet, Tsonga and Roger-Vasselin their abiding memory of “Gilou” as a junior is of a battler, prepared to endure any hardship to earn a win. Gasquet, who first met Simon when he was nine years old at a tournament in Bretagne, told DEUCE, “We played for three hours and I was destroyed. I had to pull out before my next match the following day.” Tsonga recalls, “I first met Gilles when I was 14 or 15 in Brest. We played a very long match!” Roger-Vasselin said, “I didn’t know him and he came over to me and started to say, ‘We’re playing our match over there.’ I thought he was a ball kid or something. He came back again and told me to go play.”

Yet, his talent wasn’t recognised by the French Tennis Federation until he was 19 years old. Gasquet remembers their first meetings, saying, “He always had the loopy forehand backswing and the same strengths as he has today. He never missed a ball. Gilles was quiet, friendly and very clever guy - even then.” Roger-Vasselin adds, “He was very small. I also won the next match against him, but his game was improving all the time. His game has always been based on his mental approach and the fact he can run for five hours without tiring.”

Of his junior career, Simon honestly admits, “I wasn’t good enough. I always played players far stronger than me. But I managed to improve my game and maintained the progression, despite being very skinny and small compared to other players. I always had my ability to anticipate; my feel for the game and see what was going on. As I wasn’t powerful, I was very aggressive when I was young. I played close to the baseline to control the point. But if my opponent was dominating, then I found it very tough and it was too difficult. I couldn’t do what I do right now, playing two to three metres behind the baseline, but I still hit powerful strokes.”

In 2004, when the French Tennis Federation recognised Simon’s talent aged 19, Tulasne was charged with coaching a small group of players. He remembers his first impression, saying, “I was very surprised. He had a strange game. But he had one strength: he was an unbelievable runner. He was very fast and could maintain his on-court fitness for a long time. When I asked him what was his strength, he said, ‘I can run a lot, very fast.’ He was looking very confident. His physique and his confidence made me feel he could become a very good player.”

But it’s funny. Simon doesn’t like running too much off the court. “I just play my matches,” he confessed. “My game asks of me a lot. I have to run and cover the court. I don’t like running outside of the court.” Simon concedes that he may run for 45 minutes per day during a rare training block, but most of the time Quetin gets him to undertake 20-second interval training at different paces. Cycling is also favoured, but he isn’t a regular in tournament gyms. “I don’t like lifting weights too much [although he can lift 100 kilograms]. As tennis players you must work to your strengths and weaknesses, if a player is quick or powerful. My strength is I am able to cover the court unlike many players are unable to do. My body frame is slight and I know I will never be as naturally powerful as [Juan Martin] del Potro, for example.”

Today, one thing is certain, Simon makes the most of his 70-kilogram frame. Only Kei Nishikori, at No. 18 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, is the same weight among the Top 50. Simon can absorb pressure and dictate play with his flat backhand, while he has the ability to apply tremendous spin on his forehand wing. His net game is also an asset now. “One of his strengths is that he wants to improve his technique,” explains Tulasne. “He can do it, because he is talented. Because he doesn’t have the power, he has to win matches tactically. He may have to play for one hour, but once he gets the tactics right, he’ll win. He plays good first sets and the third sets, when his superior fitness counts.”

It comes as a surprise to Simon, a player so tactically adept and confident in debating a variety of subjects, that he does not know he possesses an exceptional record in winning first sets. According to the FedEx ATP Reliability Index, Simon has compiled a 23-1 record after winning first sets during the 2012 ATP World Tour season (as of 22 May) and is 193-27 (.877) lifetime. He insists, “Most of the time, I don’t get off to a good start. When my opponent is taller and stronger, hitting harder than me, I do find it tricky and complicated. When their levels drop, I am able to turn the matches around. That’s when, even when I win the first set, I know that if my opponent does come back, I will be ready to play long matches.”

Simon is certainly ready to make his move back into the Top 10. Currently at World No. 12, six spots off his career-high South African Airways ATP Rankings of No. 6 on 5 January 2009, the 27 year old has already lifted his third BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest last month. To play his best tennis, Simon confessed, “The conditions have to be good. For example, I need to be fit physically, so then I know I can run everywhere. As soon as I don’t have that feeling, then I know I can’t play my best tennis because my ability to cover the court is the key to my game. I am not two metres tall, so unlike most players, not hitting my serve well doesn’t affect my confidence. It doesn’t matter what court I play on, or who the opponent is, I know if I can run then I have a good shot at winning. If my opponent starts to hit winners, then I have to run and find solutions: to be more aggressive, if I am defending too much.”

And there is the rub. How do you transform a natural defender into an attacker overnight? You can’t, but after the US Open in September 2011, Simon started experimenting, explaining to Tulasne, ‘If I want to get better than No. 5 and I don’t try things, then I won’t become better than I was before.’ Tulasne, who previously coached Sebastien Grosjean and Paul-Henri Mathieu, confirmed this plan to DEUCE. “He tried to attack and be more relaxed during the match. He still feels the Top 4 are a level above the rest and that is why he is working hard to get to No. 5. He says, ‘If I only do what I know, I will never become a better player.’ So he is trying more things on the court, both tactically, technically and mentally. He wants to be more confident. Now, he has developed greater strengths and I do feel he will get to a higher level.”

Tsonga confesses, “Gilles’ greatest strength is getting to every ball. Even balls that are impossible. He makes his opponents play one extra shot, which maybe they don’t want to play.” Mikhail Youzhny told DEUCE, “He is a very good player and is always close to the Top 10. The level of his game is very high and it is admirable he has returned to near the Top 10 after his injuries. It shows the calibre of the player, just like del Potro. He has very good hands and he is quick and athletic enough to counteract the big servers.”

Simon has always liked to make it difficult for his opponent’s to beat him, but now, “I just think my level is high, between a ranking of No. 8 and No. 15. I have to work hard on my game to be in the group between No. 5 and No. 8. At the moment, No. 12 is my level, but if I am able to play a full season, without any injuries, I know I can make the second group in the Top 10. Some weeks will be harder than others. I think the Rankings are very good in tennis, because you have the points you’ve won for one year. I feel like you have the ranking you deserve, as it shows the level you’re game is at. You can’t be a World No. 1 or No. 20 through luck, it is because of your consistency. You can’t be No. 10 because of three good weeks in one year. The ATP World Tour, now, is very difficult, but I like the challenge.”

For Simon, the goal is not to take media attention from Tsonga, Monfils and Gasquet, but to harness his on-court energy and fulfil his desire to regain “the capacity to win every match that I felt in 2008”. Only then, can dreams of major championship glory, performing well for France at the Olympics and Davis Cup, or qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, be potentially realised. “I need to find it again,” he said. “If I can, I know I will do even better and improve my career-high No. 6 ranking.”
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:53 AM   #818
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Man what a great article and read that was. Without a doubt the best, of the too few, articles on Gilles Simon the ATP has ever had. This pretty much exemplifies why I am a Gilles Simon fan. Yeah, he's hot as hell too and all that jazz, but that only goes so far. He's so much more than just a pretty face. Gilles for me is a flat out inspiring individual.

I think it's really important, for me anyway, to be able to know that the person you like, respect and admire actually turns out to be worthy of such adornment and high praise you give them unconditionally as a fan. Far too often celebrities of all walks and fields of life, from actors to athletes etc., turn out to be letdowns in terms of who they truly are personally, from who they portray themselves to be professionally. I love and take great comfort in knowing that it's just not an issue with Gilles. He is who he is on and off the court. And who he is, is one fantastic tennis player, father, spouse and human being. Allez Gilou!♥♥♥

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Old 05-25-2012, 04:52 PM   #819
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Really good read! Allez!
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:34 PM   #820
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Hello ! I found this in Le Parisien on Friday June 1th

http://www.leparisien.fr/espace-prem...12-2026768.php

Tutu explains how he works with Gilles

At the end, there is a phrase I don't understand very well, even in french ! "par rapport aux moyens qu'il se donne" ; it might mean that Gilles doesn't work as hard as he should if he wants to be better

French speaking members can say also how they understand this


Simon-Tulasne, les dessous d’une collaboration



En quête aujourd’hui face à Wawrinka d’un billet pour un huitième de finale, Gilles Simon, 27 ans, no 12 mondial, fait équipe depuis cinq ans et demi avec Thierry Tulasne, 48 ans, ancien no 10 mondial. Ce dernier a accepté de dévoiler quelques-uns des rouages.
Leur relation joueur-coach. « J’ai la chance d’être entraîneur national, explique Tulasne. Par conséquent, je ne dépends pas directement de Gilles financièrement. C’est très compliqué d’avoir un employeur de 25 ans, aussi mature soit-il. S’il était mon employeur, il serait le patron et j’ai envie d’une relation d’égal à égal. On a partagé beaucoup de bons moments : ses dix titres, de grandes victoires, le Masters 2008, etc. Et des moments difficiles : blessures, doutes, enthousiasme moindre. On a réussi à s’appuyer sur notre relation sans puiser dans l’affectif. C’est à moi de surveiller la distance, étant donné que c’est moi qui ai l’expérience. Enfin, il est capital d’être en phase avec la sphère privée du joueur, sa femme, ses parents. Nous bâtissons ensemble un projet pour qu’ils soient tous contents. Une grande partie de mon travail peut être sapée par un coup de fil de trois minutes… »

Leur fonctionnement. « Il n’y a pas de notion de hiérarchie. C’est vraiment un échange sur les objectifs. Parfois, son point de vue l’emporte. Parfois, c’est le mien. Par moments, je dois lui faire confiance et réciproquement, que ce soit sur la programmation des tournois ou sur un point tactique. Par exemple, en fin de saison, il a souhaité lâcher un peu prise et m’a demandé de lui faire confiance. J’ai dit OK. J’ai vu des choses intéressantes, on a fait le bilan et on est repartis. Il me fait une grande confiance, car c’est moi qui vais voir ses adversaires. Pour le plan A et le plan B, il fait grand cas de ce que je lui dis. Il faut être capable de tout dire, mais attendre le bon moment et y mettre les formes. Dès la deuxième saison, je lui ai demandé d’exécuter sa volée de revers à une seule main. Gilles a énormément de talent pour les matchs. Par rapport aux moyens qu’il se donne, il a beaucoup de progrès à faire : en qualité et en volume de travail, dans les détails, dans l’organisation des journées. J’essaie d’être le plus pointu possible. Ça doit venir de moi. Pour lui, le gros du travail est de gagner les matchs. »
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:53 PM   #821
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ib4mtf View Post
Hello ! I found this in Le Parisien on Friday June 1th

http://www.leparisien.fr/espace-prem...12-2026768.php

Tutu explains how he works with Gilles

At the end, there is a phrase I don't understand very well, even in french ! "par rapport aux moyens qu'il se donne" ; it might mean that Gilles doesn't work as hard as he should if he wants to be better

French speaking members can say also how they understand this
Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting it.
And if Tutu said Gilles could work harder, I won't be surprised. Didn't Gilles say he doesn't like training? I think there's a reason he plays so many tournaments... so he doesn't have time left for training.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:04 PM   #822
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Saw this on L'Equipe the paper before RG, but it's not in the form that I can cut and paste, the image is the best I can do but I doubt you can read that. But long story short, I finally got a translation out of it, can't guarantee the accuracy, but hey, it's good enough that they are all in complete sentences .

The format is that Journalist asked a question, he gave an answer. And then he corrected the answer with his thoughts in red. I'll bold the questions, the answer in normal mode and the red is his thoughts.


SIMON CORRECTED SIMON
"The guy sucks, this is the strongest"

GILLES SIMON believes he is not the player the more painful to face. The five best in the world are much more.

On the eve of the France Open, Gilles Simon dipped his pen in red ink to correct which we have written in interview questions and answers.

Can we ask you for short answers?
-Yes
-Yes, when you want short, I can do short. But often I feel that you want it to be long. So here I go.

Oh well, do not take offense ...

-Do you mind that I elaborate?
-But you know, some are very surprised by my reputation as talkative. There are afternoon at home I do not say a word. But when I go, I go.

No, but sometimes it's long ...

-But it is exciting to dissect the matches, the game I think I never stop thinking about what I could or should do. Whether in training, in the offseason, on break point, facing a lefty, etc.. The reflexation is infinite in tennis. I love this sport where a big man can wallow against a skinny guy running around ...
-But in fact the only reason this is long, as you say, is that I want to make sure that you understand the meaning of what I mean. There's nothing worse than feeling as not to find the accuracy of his thoughts in newspapers.

How do we stay skinny when we love McDonalds and Magnum ice cream?
-All the girls would dream of cashing calories like me.
-What is amazing to me is that even if I eat much, or not much, I play or stopped when being injured, my weight does not vary. Sixty-nine kilos, period. The goal is seventy, but I can not do it.

Being in the top 5 players the most painful to face, it's ...
-A compliment, thank you. Since young, I was already like that.
-It's a compliment, but it is not true. For the five most painful are the top five. The guy sucks, they are the strongest. Roger, sucks to play. Even if it's beautiful ...

Your little Timothee already handle a racket on tournaments where he accompanies you with his mom. You think it will be strong in tennis?
-Anyway, he already building incredibly with his Duplo. He is brainy and he has a great pace when he throws the ball. I think I'll coach. Chess in the morning, tennis in the afternoon. And McDonalds at noon ...
-There is one thing I hate, it's talk about my privacy.

If you did not play tennis, you would like the marathon?
-Of course! This introspection and self-rating, because we have the time to think about many things for 42 km, it would please me well.
-Never, never, I will never do a marathon. This is the biggest misconception that people have of me. Often I am told: "Look, there's the Paris marathon, you should do it." But I hate jogging. It's not fun. There, I just ran forty minutes this morning and I still remember it. That said, I ran a lot when I was young. I had to take an overdose.

Xavier Malisse had said that if you can be in the top 10, everyone could be there. He is a friend?
-He isn’t entirely wrong.
-At that time (in 2008), I had stuck him two straight sets in Hamburg ... he had to change his mind, by force of circumstance. When people see that I keep coming back after my injuries not far from the top 10, they have to accept that I have a little something. But I must admit that my example, it's been Robredo, who did not give an impression of having to move mountains, which proved to me that with perseverance and devotion, we could go high.

You can spend an Entire game without saying a word?
-That's what I say, but actually, no, never. But I have never spoken ill of Tutu on the court.
-Tutu, I have no bad thing to say, but sometimes we do not agree in full match. The last time was against Fognini in Madrid. He told me to move forward in the court, but I did not!

It's true that you are better than in Interclub than Davis Cup?
-Oh-la, la, you are wicked. You touch the black point of my career. It's true, I tremble like a leaf in Davis Cup ...
-But who has put a damper on my defeats in Davis Cup by talking about the quality of my adversaries? Nobody. In Davis Cup final, when I lose against Djokovic, it is I who am wrong. But when he beat Monfils is that he’s (Nole) flying! My balance was probably better if, say, I had played Monaco in Lyon, for example.

This is the day when you would like to be more muscular?
-Like Tony Parker, I had built a gym at home. Weights, treadmill, I all got. And I took 100 g of muscle since then?
-I would have especially wanted to be bigger. There is no longer a guy of my physique, in the next generation, will happen in the top 10. It's obvious to me.

You will always coach after your career?
-Of course, what a question! I can not help but talk about tennis. And my player, I will speak to him until five minutes before his match. Strongly that ATP to allow the coach back on the court as in girls.
-I will never coach. For I will not travel.

You said one day not to have Journalists. Do you regret?
-This is the biggest mistake I said. For it must be incredibly brave like them to watch all my matches that last longer than two hours.
-The Journalists are less important than others in my functioning, because if they do not talk to me it’s just fine!

Okay, now you can say Troicki in the fifth game of the Davis Cup final, you would have humiliated?
-Of course.
-I would have loved playing that game.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:51 PM   #823
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Good interview!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lalaland View Post

Okay, now you can say Troicki in the fifth game of the Davis Cup final, you would have humiliated?
-Of course.
-I would have loved playing that game.
He would've thrashed Troicki
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:26 AM   #824
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I love that interview! It sucks he keeps getting bad matchups in Davis Cup. You know if he had played people like Harrison or Troicki he would have won.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:01 PM   #825
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Found another treat for you guys, but that's if you like reading poorly google translated interview . But seriously though, this one is good, very candid and with his usual humor, it's in 2009 before French Open. It's him and Roland Garros, and clay...

Avant même d’oser songer à gagner Roland-Garros, Gilles Simon rêve d’y défier Rafael Nadal, invaincu à Paris et quadruple tenant du titre.

Vous souvenez-vous de la première fois que vous êtes venu à Roland-Garros ?
C’est vague. Je sais que je venais avec mes parents quand j’étais élève au pôle de Poitiers. C’était le voyage annuel, le truc que tous les licenciés connaissent. J’ai des matchs en tête. Je me rappelle d’un Agassi-Muster où Agassi avait pris un point de pénalité dans un tie-break puis perdu le match (en 1994, ndlr). Attendez, je me demande si le premier match, ça ne serait pas Ronald Agenor en qualifs… Euh, attendez, je me rappelle aussi avoir vu Henri Leconte. Il avait reçu une wild-card. C’était contre Paul Haaruis. C’est peut-être celui-là le tout premier.

Si on vous dit Roland-Garros, à quel joueur pensez-vous ?
Ah, dur. Est-ce que Moya m’a plus marqué que Bruguera qui m’a plus marqué que Kuerten ? Pff… Bruguera, quand j’étais jeune, c’est lui que j’allais voir tout le temps. Je n’aimais pas particulièrement son jeu mais ça m’intriguait quand il devait affronter Sampras d’entendre tout le monde dire : « Mais non, Pete va paumer, c’est sûr. » Pour moi Pete, c’était le numéro 1, je ne comprenais pas. Mais bon, je crois que Guga, la première année, en 1997, celle où il avait sa tenue jaune pas possible, c’est ça qui m’a le plus touché. Quand j’étais jeune, je regardais le tennis pour les personnalités, les histoires et pas trop pour le jeu pur.

Et qui était votre chouchou ?

Gamin, j’étais surtout un fan de Chang. J’étais trop jeune pour voir ses exploits de 1989 (il avait 4 ans et demi) mais c’était lui mon héros. Parce qu’il était petit et que j’étais petit. Je m’identifiais à fond. J’adorais quand il se décalait vers le couloir pour servir son kick. Il était petit mais vachement malin. Il défendait tous les petits (rires). Grâce à lui, je me disais que c’était possible.

Roland-Garros, pour vous, c’est aussi les années centre national d’entraînement (CNE). Les années d’apprentissage…

Oui et là, c’est des tonnes de souvenirs. J’y ai passé trois ans. La première avec Clément Morel, Mathieu Montcourt et Jo (Tsonga). Les deux autres avec Jo, Gaël (Monfils) et Joss (Ouanna). Comme tous les mômes, on se faisait notre cinoche. Combien de soirs on a passé assis dans les gradins du central à taper la discute avec Gaël, Jo et Josselin ? C’était des discussions à deux balles. Je disais : « Putain, ça doit envoyer de jouer sur le central. » Et là, tu avais Gaël qui me calmait de suite : « Enfin, ouais, tu dois quand même bien flipper quand t’entres sur le central. » En même temps, comme on joue à Roland-Garros depuis tout gamin, l’endroit est un peu désacralisé. Tu joues ton Roland à toi en minime, en cadet puis en junior… C’est marrant parce que tu commences par fantasmer du court 7 quand t’es môme et puis tu finis par rêver du central…

Entre les deux, il y a l’étape du premier match dans le grand tableau de Roland-Garros. Ça s’était passé comment ?
Ben mal, super mal. En fait, entre « Roland » et moi, ça s’est très souvent mal passé. La première fois en qualifs, la première fois dans le grand tableau, le tournoi minime, le tournoi junior, ça s’est toujours mal passé. Sauf que quand j’étais jeune, j’avais horreur de la terre battue. Je ne jouais jamais dessus. J’étais petit, je prenais la balle tôt, je frappais tout à plat, bref j’étais l’anti-terre battue. Du coup, j’arrivais à Roland sans savoir glisser, j’étais complètement nul.

Vous souvenez-vous du match où vous vous êtes dit :« Ca y est, je peux être bon sur terre » ?
Oui je sais exactement quel match c’était. J’avais battu Emile Petit, un mec qui était en sports-études avec moi à Poitiers. On avait 15 ans. Lui, c’était un super joueur de terre, très physique. Et j’avais réussi à le battre. Dans ce tournoi, près de Poitiers, je me souviens que la finale devait se jouer sur dur en salle parce qu’il pleuvait. Et j’avais dit : « Non ! Je veux la jouer sur terre. » J’étais guéri.

Ensuite, en pro, vous aviez d’assez bons resultants pendant la saison de terre, on se disait qu’il fallait surveiller ce Simon. Et ploc !, à Roland-Garros, le râteau…
Oui, ça a duré comme ça jusqu’il y a deux ans. En plus, je ne peux pas dire que j’avais des tableaux pourris. La première année (*), je suis wildcard, je tombe contre une autre wild-card : Olivier Patience. Et je prends quatre petits sets. L’année d’après, je jouais super bien sur terre et bam, je me fais découper par Oscar Hernandez (6-4, 6-2, 6-3 au premier tour). Je passe complètement à travers. L’année d’encore après, c’est très bon contre Spadea au premier tour et pas si mal malgré la défaite contre Paulo (Mathieu). Et l’an dernier, j’arrive dans la foulée de mon titre à Casablanca et je paume d’entrée contre Stepanek. OK, Stepanek, c’est pas un cadeau, OK, il m’avait sorti un sacré match mais le plus pénible c’est que je ne savais pas si j’avais bien ou mal joué. C’est là que je vois que c’est un tournoi spécial pour moi : je perds ma lucidité sur mon propre niveau de jeu. Je n’arrive plus trop à me juger.

Vous l’avez toujours reconnu. Vous avez cent fois dit : « Il y a un endroit où j’ai le trac, où je ne suis pas moi même, c’est Roland-Garros. »
Oui. Mais c’est moins vrai maintenant. Avant, quel que soit le tournoi, je m’en foutais parce que, dans un sens, je pouvais me refaire le tournoi d’après. Que je gagne mes points pour le classement ici plutôt que là, je m’en fichais. Je n’avais aucun endroit où me dire : « Là, faut que je gagne ! » Sauf Roland, parce que c’était Roland, en France et tout et tout. Depuis deux ans, ça a changé. Comme je suis assez haut classé, y’a plein de tournois où j’ai de gros objectifs : les autres tournois du Grand Chelem et les Masters 1000 principalement. Et ça m’aide pour mieux aborder Roland. Avant, comme je n’avais aucune pression dingue ailleurs qu’à Roland, je ne la tenais pas à Paris.

Concrètement, que se passait-il ?
Ben, j’avais peur. Et je paniquais. Je me disais : « Mais merde, et pourquoi il tremble mon bras ? Et pourquoi je flippe ? » Maintenant, je sais que je vais avoir peur à Roland, comme j’ai peur en attaquant un gros tournoi. La différence, c’est que maintenant j’ai les outils pour y faire face. T’as peur et bien tu bouges tes jambes, tu fais un max de frappes, tu sers des premières secondes…

Ça ne devait pas être très marrant d’être avec vous les jours avant Roland-Garros…
Ah non, détrompez-vous. La peur, c’était juste en arrivant sur le terrain. Avant le match, je dormais bien, je mangeais bien ; mais je jouais mal. C’était la décomposition.

Le côté affectif, les années CNE, la famille, les copains, tout ça a pu peser dans ce blocage…
Non, c’est juste moi. C’est moi qui voulais bien faire et n’y arrivais pas. Que les gens m’attendent, moi je m’en fous. C’est moi qui m’attends le premier. Ce qui compte, c’est ce que j’attends de moi.

Vous deviez être mortifié de perdre si tôt à Roland et de devoir attendre un an de plus avant d’avoir une autre chance…
Quand j’étais plus jeune, j’étais quelque part content de perdre. Je m’étais débarrassé de ce poids. Moi, dès que je perds, je ne peux plus entendre parler du tournoi. Je ne peux plus le voir le tournoi ! Je me souviens d’une année où j’avais paumé d’entrée à Roland-Garros (en 2005) alors que j’habitais encore au CNE (juste derrière le court 7). Le matin, je sortais de ma piaule et je voyais le mec qui m’avait battu en train de jouer. ÇÒa me tuait. Du coup, alors que je n’avais même pas envie de jouer, je m’étais inscrit au Challenger de Prostejov en République tchèque pour fuir ça le plus vite possible.

Si le jour où vous arrêtez votre carrière vous n’avez rien réussi de spécial à Roland-Garros, le vivrez-vous très mal ?

Sans doute. J’adorerais bien jouer ici. Ouais, vraiment.

Est-ce que le fait d’être né en plein dans l’époque Nadal vous empêche de rêver de gagner ici ?
Je n’ai jamais rêvé de gagner Roland. Le rêve où j’ai la coupe sur le central, je l’ai jamais fait. Faut dire que, Nadal ou pas Nadal, c’est chaud de rêver à ça quand tu n’as jamais passé deux tours dans le tournoi (rires).

Le titre de L’Équipe « 70 millions de Simon », vous ne l’avez jamais rêvé non plus…
Non (rires)… Mon rêve, c’est de défier Nadal sur le central. Ne pas avoir eu droit à ce match, ça, ça me manquerait terriblement.

Ah d’accord, alors vous êtes maso…
Mais non ! Moi, je ne me dis pas : « Oh purée, faites que je ne sois pas dans le tableau de Nadal à Roland-Garros. » J’adorerais le jouer sur le central. Pour moi, défier Nadal sur le central de Roland-Garros, c’est ce qu’il y a de plus haut en tennis. C’est le défi ultime. Même Federer à Wimbledon, je ne place pas cela aussi haut. Imaginez : vous avez la possibilité de vous confronter au défi le plus dingue dans votre métier, c’est génial. Le mec n’a jamais perdu ici, personne ne l’a poussé au cinquième set, vous n’auriez pas envie d’essayer ? Vous vous faites déchirer et après ? C’est arrivé à d’autres. Pour moi, Nadal sur terre battue, c’est le joueur de tennis le plus fort qu’on peut trouver. C’est le match le plus difficile que tu peux trouver… C’est marrant d’essayer.

Essayer, c’est marrant. Et gagner, c’est possible ?

Il est clairement plus fort que nous tous. Je ne vois pas trop qui ou quoi pourrait le priver d’un cinquième titre à Paris. Là où je trouve qu’il est fort, ’est qu’en finale contre Djokovic à Monaco, je n’ai pas eu l’impression qu’il avait super bien joué et pourtant, j’ai tout le temps su qu’il allait gagner. C’est fou le truc qu’il dégage sur terre ; cette impression de ne pas pouvoir perdre. Pourtant, il jouait court, pas très agressif, mais rien à faire… Il joue là-dessus Nadal. Il sait qu’on ne croit pas qu’il peut perdre. A une époque, quand il était presque imbattable, Federer aussi gagnait les matchs qu’il aurait pu perdre…

Voilà, nous sommes le mercredi 3 juin. C’est l’anniversaire de Nadal et il affronte Simon en quart de finale. Combien y a-til de chances pour que Nadal passe un sale anniversaire et perde ?
Hum… S’il n’est pas blessé, s’il joue bien, disons aucune. Si je suis bouillant et qu’il joue bien, eh ben, j’ai quasiment zéro chance quand même… Parce que sur un format de cinq sets, c’est trop dur. Même s’il a un niveau pas fabuleux, sur terre en cinq sets, c’est ingagnable. L’an dernier, il colle 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 à Almagro qui était « en rut » à cette époque. Y’a personne qui peut faire ça. Sauf Nadal ! La seule chance, c’est qu’il y a des jours où il joue moins bien ; mais il faut que ça se combine avec une faiblesse physique chez lui, et ça, on n’a jamais vu…

Et si vous vous y mettiez à plusieurs. Disons que Juan Monaco le fatigue au deuxième tour, qu’un Paul-Henri Mathieu le bouscule ensuite et qu’ensuite vous portez l’estocade…
Ouais, ouais mais non. Le truc, c’est que Nadal gagne souvent super facilement après un match dur. Il a le chic pour mettre des taules à Roland-Garros et donc il ne puise jamais vraiment. C’est ça aussi sa force… Après un gros combat, il met une branlée et quatre jours après, il est frais comme un gardon. La seule fois où il a dû enchaîner deux fois cinq sets, c’était à Melbourne cette année (Verdasco en demi-finale, Federer en finale). Il n’était pas fringant à la fin mais il a battu Federer…

Revenons à vous. Cette année, vous allez être attendu comme jamais.
Franchement, le mec qui écrit cette année : « Simon, et si c’était lui… », il est grillé dans son boulot. Faut se calmer. J’ai fait un quart de finale à Melbourne cette année, point. Moi, mon objectif de base, c’est la seconde semaine. La pression de Roland-Garros, je l’aurai toujours. Même si je perds neuf fois de suite au premier tour, la dixième fois, j’aurais envie de bien faire ici.

Vous avez gagné des tournois sur terre (Bucarest deux fois et Casablanca), vous avez battu d’excellents joueurs sur cette surface (Moya, Tsonga, Andreev, Davydenko, Murray, Cañas, Gaudio, Verdasco…) mais jamais vous n’avez réussi un coup dans un Masters Series sur terre ou à Roland-Garros. Pourquoi ça coince ?
On a peut-être l’impression que je devrais jouer souvent des demi-finales en Masters Series (merci, c’est super gentil) mais je n’en ai joué que deux et ce n’est pas si vieux (Toronto et Madrid l’an dernier). Mais je suis d’accord : il me manque ce gros résultat dans les grands tournois sur terre. Disons au moins un quart de finale…

Et vos amis Mousquetaires, peuvent-ils tout casser à Roland-Garros ?
Je ne sais pas. De toute façon, aucun de nous quatre (Tsonga, Monfils, Gasquet et lui) n’est au niveau pour faire des finales ou des demi-finales à chaque gros tournoi. De nous quatre, je dirais que Gaël est le mieux armé parce qu’il a déjà connu une demi-finale à Paris. C’est toujours plus facile de refaire que de faire. Il a un temps d’avance sur nous. Mais je vois plutôt un scénario classique avec Nadal, Federer et Djokovic dans le dernier carré. Après, qui peut se faufiler parmi eux ? Del Potro, Murray, Verdasco ou un de nous quatre… Ou alors mon super joker : Karlovic ! S’il passe deux premières balles par jeu, s’il tient quatre ou cinq sets, il peut battre tout le monde.

Nadal dit souvent que c’est sur terre battue qu’on voit vraiment qui est le plus fort. Parce que le service y a moins d’impact, parce qu’on peut y exprimer plusieurs types de jeu. Êtes-vous d’accord avec lui ?
Oui. Parce que sur terre, on a tous le temps de construire un point ou d’essayer plusieurs tactiques. Il y a plus de possibilités de faire du jeu. C’est là qu’on voit le plus complet, en fait. Sur dur, si t’as un revers pourri, tu peux renvoyer des chips et t’en sortir. Sur terre, impossible. Le mec en face touchera ton revers et tu vas morfler. Il faut savoir défendre, pas qu’attaquer. Il y a beaucoup plus de schémas tactiques que sur les surfaces rapides ; c’est ça qui est amusant. C’est : « Je vais jouer là, après je jouerai plus haut ici et après je ferai ceci. » Sur dur, c’est essentiellement de l’exécution technique hyper rapide. Et je trouve que le service a trop d’importance ailleurs que sur terre.

Vous dites ça parce que vous n’avez pas le service de Tsonga ou Roddick…
Mais non ! Arrêtez de dire que mon service est nul ! Il est pas mal mon service! Je sers mieux que des mecs qui ont fait des meilleures carrières que moi, à commencer par Hewitt. Je dis juste que j’adore la terre parce que le service n’y fait pas tout. Sur terre, souvent, il faut faire plusieurs coups très bons de suite pour gagner un point. Je trouve ça plus rigolo que quatre services gagnants d’affilée. Et sur terre, au moins, quand tu perds un point, tu te sens le perdre. »

(*) Il dispute son premier match dans le grand tableau en 2005 après avoir perdu d’entrée en qualifs l’année d’avant contre Nicolas Renavand.

Last edited by lalaland : 06-13-2012 at 10:13 PM.
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