Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Very high quality match, wasn’t it?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah. I think I stepped strong in the match. This first game was key because I knew he’s a player who play with a lot of confidence. You know if you can get early in his mind, it’s always a good thing. It was a tough first game for him. Shanked two forehands, missed a volley. I had straightaway my plan set. Was just a matter of me to keep doing it whole match. I was a little bit, a fraction, too defensive on this breakpoint in the second set. Shanked my forehand. I think I should have step maybe two, three shots on my backhand to get closer from the baseline. Then I think I play the only poor service game in this match. I think I was focused, but I just played poor this game. Then credit to him because I push him to get back into the second set. He made incredible shots to close the set. It was just a matter of me to step strong in the third set. I had this momentum going on on his service game. For me, was just put pressure, pressure. Obviously it works.
Q. You’ve beaten him every time you’ve played him. Is there something about his game that you like?
GAEL MONFILS: Just luck. I mean, when it’s luck… You know, I play him tomorrow, I can lose. It’s not every time. Today I was a bit better than him today. I don’t particularly like his game. I think today what I see was one more time very, very good on the game plan set with my coach, like very good. This work. Is nothing with him.
Q. There were quite a few people looking for you at the start of the match. I think you showed up a little bit late. Is there any reason for that?
GAEL MONFILS: No, they told me 7:00. Apparently I arrive at 7:03. My clock, which is very good normally, was a little bit delayed by three minutes. No, I was there. Three minutes he tell me. Sorry. I was in the locker room, so I don’t know.
Q. Now that you are in a relationship with Elina, do you motivate each other in a different way? She’s obviously doing very well, very focused. Is there in a way something that you get inspired from her?
GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, for sure. I admire what she’s doing, how she work, the mentality she has. It’s incredible. But I always say but not for me, not for me. She’s too serious for me. It’s her way. It’s her way to be where she is. Even to become better, you know. Me, the only motivation that I will say that we have is to make the other proud. I love when she win. I’m very proud of her. I think same for her. For myself, I’m serious on my way, which is normal way. It’s not different. I put a lot of work with my coach, a lot of work with myself to be back. Definitely is a bit different than her. At the end we try to be at the top with different way, different culture. That’s the beauty of the relationship.
Q. Has Elina given you any tips on how to win here? She obviously has a very good record here.
GAEL MONFILS: She told me the ball was flying a lot here, so don’t focus too much on that. That’s what she told me.
Q. Maybe copy her routine?
GAEL MONFILS: Her routine? If I do her routine, I won’t be able to do it. That’s the beauty of everybody. It’s her or other player. I think what I’m doing, how I practice, I’m not sure like many players will be able to do what I’m doing. In a way, it’s different. I won’t be able to practice how some players do because it’s way different. Even I think easier for me to adapt me to practice like them than them to practice like me.
Q. Do you feel or think in your mind that you’ve changed or you’re changing?
GAEL MONFILS: Definitely. New goals, new team, new routine. Obviously wins under my belt. Everything is going fine. I just try to keep doing what I’m doing. Every day a little more, a little more to improve, definitely try to reach my goal this year.
Q. You won in Rotterdam. What did title mean to you?
GAEL MONFILS: No, a lot. A lot. It’s my second 500 in my whole career. It’s big for me. It’s big. It’s big for my coach also because he’s new working with me. He knows is never easy to start a new relationship without wins. It’s only win, so you know for my coach, I think he feel good for him. I think is getting more confidence about what he telling me, what actually I’m doing. I think we’re doing fine. Nothing going to replace a win. So we both happy. As I say, I try to keep on this track.