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An Interview With: Gael Monfils

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Q. The obvious question: People always talk about your showmanship and say if the guy buckled down and played the way he can, he'd do even better. Seemed like you were really down to business today.

GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, I think I played good. I'm in better position today. It's easy to say, but, you know, I think every time I'm the same. So I will say I'm a bit more lucky than I was maybe sometime in the past. I think I haven't changed a lot, to be honest. I haven't changed a lot. I just play maybe solid today, but I'm still the same.

Q. What does this victory mean to you?

GAEL MONFILS: For me, it's mean I'm happy to be back in quarterfinal in a slam. That's it.

Q. You mentioned that you're doing some of the same things, maybe doing them a little bit better. How have you lifted your game, do you think?

GAEL MONFILS: Well, to put me in quarterfinal, I guess. I think I always play good, always played solid. You know, sometime just didn't happen, you know. I remember here played a good fourth round against Rafa, but he just was better than me. You know, I always have tough battle here or at the French. For me, I'm just happy because today I was a bit lucky. It's one point, it's two points, and today I think I was able to have more luck than him.

Q. Going back to the quarterfinals, first time since 2010. How good does it feel going back? Can you draw on that experience? You haven't lost a set. Just talk about your confidence going into the quarterfinal.

GAEL MONFILS: Well, I'm happy I think because I played good. I think I played solid. I think I hit better the ball day after day; served better. I keep like simple thing in my head, so obviously is working. Then it's luck. To be honest, look at set point. I hit one of the worst dropshots I ever hit and he hit a frame (smiling). It's pure luck, you know, to haven't drop a set. So you need to have it sometime, and I hope I will have more.

Q. Everybody is making such a big deal out of the fact you don't have a coach. Is it easier for you to focus without having someone else talking to you?

GAEL MONFILS: You know, it's been a year and a half, so I just manage to don't have anyone. For sure it's better to have a coach. I won't lie to you. It's better to have someone to help you. I need it, you know. But as I say all the time, it's not easy to feel someone. That person has to be -- has to be, for me, like good, first of all, but has to be hard and also understand my personality. Because I don't think I'm easy, but I think I'm quite a good worker. So, you know, most of people that I know is good, so I sent like some message to maybe somebody here. I want to work with people, but they are not ready to travel that much. That's always trouble, you know. I think is few good coaches that I really want to work with, but they're able to travel and just part time, and I don't think I need that.

Q. You have said you love playing at the US Open. What are some things that you love about playing in New York, and how did you spend your birthday yesterday?

GAEL MONFILS: Well, I love the city, first. For me, it's the first time, you know, I travel overseas with my mom it was here, so for me it means a lot. First time I see my dad overseas was here, too. Then here it's simple. You know, my dad when I have been with him and my previous physio, you know, he passed away like a few years ago, and he bring me, you know, to the Bronx and, you know, had a family and bring me, you know, to some friend he had. Then he show me that, you know, the community, the black community was behind me. I was not aware about that also, here. You know, and then they start to come to the stadium, bring me that energy, and then they just teach me that here that I can feel so like at home and I have a second family also, as I say as even in the French Open. So when I feel good, the crowd is behind me, have a great spirit, I think I can be very tough to beat.

Q. Your next match is likely going to be against Federer. Do you expect to still have that support of the crowd?

GAEL MONFILS: First I think he need to win. Then if it's against Federer, why not? I played Rafa one time here and I think it was pretty much even, so why not?

Q. You're very mentally focused today. On the days when you're struggling for focus, what kind of crazy things get through your mind?

GAEL MONFILS: Well, I don't know. Just sometime -- I don't know how to explain it. Like straightaway it's -- for me tennis is a sport, you know. It's not a job, you know, it's a sport. Sometime if I'm fed up with that, you know, just leave it. For me, I don't know if it's bad to say it and for sure I will use like bad words in English, but it's like, you know, don't give a shit. You know, it's like okay, next one. It sounds bad in English, but what I mean is I care about the match. I don't care about, you know, other things. It's like if I'm not happy, it's okay. I want just to be happy, you know. If I'm not happy, fine. Have it, you know.

Q. Is that what you mean by calm your mind when you were talking before about keeping your mind calm out there?

GAEL MONFILS: Yeah. You know, I just try to be relax, because I'm always been a relaxed person. I try my best for everything. If I don't feel happy, I don't do it.

Q. Your flexibility on the court is unbelievable. Do you do yoga? Do you use that?

GAEL MONFILS: Just every day thanks for my mom and my dad. Seriously just it's because of them.

Q. What was going on late in the first set and sort of the second set?

GAEL MONFILS: Second set, yeah, I just get a bit pissed. I finish. Then I was sorry for Grigor, because I was in front, and he was like, Just serve. Because obviously I give you the game, so it's okay. Move it.

Q. What were you upset about?

GAEL MONFILS: Myself. Sometimes when I get frustrated, you know, as I told you, when I don't like, I don't do it. It's nothing against anyone. I was upset. Come on. We need to move on, you know.

Q. Forgive me. I may not know your past enough. I don't think I have ever seen a player drink Coke during a match. Is that your thing normally?

GAEL MONFILS: (Smiling) well, sometime, you know, I just feel like I want a Coke, you know, and I drink a Coke, you know. (Smiling.)

Q. You toasted the crowd.

GAEL MONFILS: My agent, because every time it make him smile, my coach.

Q. You mentioned a moment ago it's a little bit about what it's like to face Roger Federer. What would you describe what Roger Federer's career has meant to you and what an opportunity to play him on this stage would mean to you?

GAEL MONFILS: Well, he's definitely the legend of the tennis, you know. I think right now he's the greatest tennis player we ever had, and for me it's always challenging to play against him. It's always great, because no matter what, you know, I will say to my children, you know, I played against him. Even I kill him, you know. And this is cool. And when you have this chance, you know, it's why, you know, I think I play tennis for, to against a big legend, big court, short time. That's what I train for. That's why every day I wake up and I wish I could play those matches, you know. It's like, for me it's the best thing can happen is to play against that guy on that stage, you know.

Q. Can you explain how important music is in your buildup to the match? Do you use music after the match to bring yourself back down?

GAEL MONFILS: After, all the time. I think music for me, it's part of my life. I like music. I think I'm very emotional, so, you know, I just try to take all the emotion, you know, that music bring it to me, you know, some make -- I mean, help me to calm down some, for sure motivate me more. You know, there's always music. I think just make me smooth before the match, you know.

Q. What's on your iPhone?

GAEL MONFILS: Yeah, right at the time he ask me, the guy, was Beyonce, Partition; and then sometimes is Dancehall. Before the match I love Dancehall music. You know, Vasque, like heavy from Caribbean. And then after I'm like Lana Del Rey. What else? Some friends who sings song also. I listen to everything.