14 April 2018: Lucas Pouille
Sunday, 15 April 2018
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.
Q. How do you feel before this tournament in Monte-Carlo? It’s rare that you have some matches on clay before, but you had this year with the Davis Cup.
LUCAS POUILLE: Yes, I was able to practice the way I wanted. Because of the Davis Cup, I played two matches on clay. It was the ideal preparation. I feel very good going into this tournament.
Q. What do you think about this tournament in Monte-Carlo?
LUCAS POUILLE: It’s one of the most beautiful tournaments in the world by the level of play and also the environment. It’s beautiful. It’s always a pleasure to come and play here.
It’s also the beginning of the clay court season. I like this part of the season. I’m always happy to come and play here.
Q. How do you feel on clay?
LUCAS POUILLE: It usually doesn’t take too much time for me to adapt because I played a lot on clay when I was a little boy. I like this type of game.
Q. Of course, you are able to play well on all surfaces, but do you have to change something in your game on clay?
LUCAS POUILLE: No, it’s the same. Of course, some details need to be changed. For example, you don’t have the same position on your return games.
Anyway, the pattern is always the same.
Q. Is Nadal the man to beat here in this tournament?
LUCAS POUILLE: Well, if you want to beat him, first you have to play him. If I have to play him, I will need to be in the final. I would need to beat other players before him.
If I want to play him, I need to go far in this tournament, so first I’m going to focus on my first rounds.
Q. You’re the No. 1 French player here in Monte-Carlo. Is that more pressure and more motivation for this tournament?
LUCAS POUILLE: My motivation is the same as last year. Last year I was not the No. 1 French player, so this doesn’t change. I don’t have more pressure either. I feel good. I have confidence. I’ve prepared the best I could, as I’ve said. Now what is left is the truth on the court. I feel good and I feel no particular pressure.
Q. You said you had ambitions for this clay court season. How are you looking forward to the French Open for you?
LUCAS POUILLE: Well, I tried to change a little bit my preparation from last year. As I said, the important thing is to build up confidence as much as possible in the previous tournaments, starting here, and then Budapest, then Rome.
Of course, I am thinking about the French Open, but this starts this week here already.
Q. Are there any mistakes you made maybe last year that you want to avoid this year?
LUCAS POUILLE: Well, I believe I have grown up a bit since last year. I was able to analyze what happened. I am able to better manage all the moments and the days before the tournaments and the matches. I’m managing this a lot better. This can only help me.
Q. So you believe Davis Cup was a good preparation for you?
LUCAS POUILLE: Yes, as I said. I prepared the way I wanted to. I was able to practice two weeks before I went to Genoa. I played one week in Genoa, playing two good matches on clay.
As a whole, it’s four weeks on clay before coming here. It’s a good preparation. I played two long matches, so I was able to have some competition under my belt. The preparation was good.
Q. How can you get this type of preparation for other tournaments during the year? Could you have some weeks dedicated to practice?
LUCAS POUILLE: Well, this is the kind of decision that you have to make. In summer it might be possible. Maybe before Cincy. Between Wimbledon and the U.S. tour there’s some time. You can do that during that period, but after you can’t anymore.
Here for the Davis Cup I did it because I thought it was important to get rest and to practice.
Q. You are able to come back to competition pretty quickly after an injury or a period off?
LUCAS POUILLE: It’s complicated for me to give you an answer because if I tell you it’s easy and I lose first round…
Well, it’s complicated. What I can tell you is that I’m not coming here without having played any matches. I will begin play in the tournament on Tuesday or Wednesday now. There’s not a big gap between my last competition as was the case before.
Q. Without giving away any secrets, can you tell us what you worked on in particular? Did you focus on your fitness, for example?
LUCAS POUILLE: Well, I spent as much time as I could on the court working, a lot on my fitness. Having a good physical condition is essential for clay because the games are longer. You need to prepare specifically for that. Also you need to work on your serve and on your forehand. I continued also the type of work I usually do.
Q. When you talk about managing your calendar, you were able to practice with Roger in Dubai. You saw Paganini who was helping Roger with his calendar. Did you speak with him, take some advice from them?
LUCAS POUILLE: Well, I can’t play only 14 tournaments in the year and be No. 1 as Roger. But there are things I can do. You know that you can’t play 28 tournaments a year, 28 weeks a year. It’s too much if you want to be able to play for a long time in your career. It’s always interesting to speak with these people.
Q. Is your mailbox getting drowned with emails after your suggestion to meet with the players?
LUCAS POUILLE: We are talking about it. But it takes time. We need to find the right moment to meet. We spoke with the other players, and we are trying to find a date for a meeting.
Q. Do you remember anything from last year’s tournament? It was a good tournament for you.
LUCAS POUILLE: Yes, it was a good tournament. It was a positive start to the clay court season. I did well in Budapest also after that. I would like to try to do the same and get some good matches under my belt, as many wins as I can.
Q. How do you assess your level of game this year compared with last year during the same period? Are there things you do better now?
LUCAS POUILLE: I think and I hope I’m a better player than last year. But it’s difficult to say. I only played two matches on clay. I believe we will be able to talk about it at the end of the clay court season when I will have played more matches.