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Roland Garros: Paul-Henri Mathieu, May 25, 2008

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Roland Garros
Sunday, May 25, 2008

Interview with Paul-Henri Mathieu

Q. How did you experience this match that was so special for your opponent?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: It was a very special match in the career. For him, it was his last match, so I'm happy with a match to play a few good points, and I think he had great pleasure on the court for the last time.

Q. Were you a bit troubled by the context?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: Well, it's not the ideal situation. When I get on the court I know that I am going to win, and afterwards it's a bit difficult to maintain your concentration. So of course, of course, it's difficult.

Q. Do you feel you played a good match?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: Yes. Given the context we had a few good points. But to me, it wasn't like a real fast round. It's difficult to regard it as a first round of a Grand Slam tournament, but it was a good match. We played, an hour and forty‑five minutes, so it was good.

Q. What did he tell you when he came to see you sitting on the chair?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: What did he tell me? I can't remember. Oh, at 5‑2?

Can't remember. At 5‑2 we switched ends on the court and the crowd started the, Hola, so it was a bit difficult. I was thinking about the end of the match and how it would be. It was a bit strange.

Q. You had lots of emotions. We could see that. But you were smiling and being relaxed.

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: Well, I had to. I wanted him to have pleasure on the court as well, so I tried to play my best tennis. I hoped he had great pleasure playing in the last match today.

Q. Were you surprised by his level as compared to Monte‑Carlo?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: I had not seen him in Monte‑Carlo. I had seen him in Miami against Grosjean. He lost 6‑1, 7‑6. From the baseline he's very restricted in his movements, so he can serve very well.

On a hard surface he would have been dangerous, but he cannot move very well anymore.

Q. Normally the crowd should have been supporting you because we're in Paris. We heard a few, Paul, Paul, but even the French were shouting name of Guga. How did you experience this?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: Oh, fine. Even I would have shouted Guga if I had been able to do that. (laughter.) He's a legend of tennis. He is part of the history of Roland Garros. He won three times, and it's quite normal.

Q. Would you say that this was one of the most emotional matches in your career?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: Yes. It was very special. At one stage I felt I was playing a final game ‑‑ a match in a final, because the crowd was there and there was a beautiful atmosphere and everybody was shouting, Guga.

It's true that a game like this, a match like this, you play it once in your career and that's it.

Q. Did you at one stage think about not hitting him too hard and not making things too difficult for him?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: No, no. At the beginning I was happy to score the first games. But it's difficult before the match to imagine what the outcome is going to be, how much he would score, how much games he would score, if I was going to win or not. We were close at the beginning. It was good.

THE MODERATOR: Any other French questions?

Q. Do you have a feeling that your tournament is going to start now?

PAUL‑HENRI MATHIEU: Yes, yes. Well, unfortunately ‑‑ well, unfortunately I'm playing on Wednesday, so I have two days' break between two matches. That's not very good, but this is when things really start.

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