“Five years after your first experience at the Masters in Singapore, you are back. What do you feel ?
It’s been a long time ! A lot has happened since then, some positive, some less so, not so obvious experiences, injuries. It was a long process. I would have liked to come back sooner but I’m already happy to be here and to relive this experience. It’s a gift at the end of a very intense and very successful season. I am very proud of the work accomplished. Singapore is getting old. I had qualified at the last moment, it was totally unexpected. Well, there, I’m not going to say that it was planned either (smile). It’s pretty much the same thing. I want to make the most of it.
“I was in the race for the Masters. I thought it would still be nice to go there. The ranking was very tight, it stressed me out a bit and I put too much pressure on myself
After your glorious American summer (title in Cincinnati and semi-final at the US Open), you have only won one match in three tournaments. How do you explain this backlash?
After New York, a lot happened. Of course, I was in the running for the Masters. I thought it would still be nice to go there. The ranking was very tight, it stressed me out a bit and I put too much pressure on myself. I’m happy that I finally qualified because it wasn’t great what I was doing on the court. It is a process, an experience. I had a very dense summer, I played a lot of tournaments, a lot of matches with long trips. It wasn’t easy. I felt really tired. Over the past few days, I’ve taken time to rest and prepare for the tournament.
Your trainer Bertrand Perret announced the end of your collaboration a few days ago. How did you experience this separation?
I would like to thank Bertrand for all the work we have done together this year. It was a great investment, personal and professional. We started from very far and we reached the top at the end of the year. He decided to leave the team after Mexico and I respected his decision. Now, I have to concentrate on the present, on the action, to prepare myself as well as possible for this tournament which is important. I have to keep my mind clear and focus on the moment.
“I am very grateful for the work we have done together. Of course it’s weird but we try to deal with it”
The timing may surprise, just before such an important tournament at the end of the season…
Yes, it was a surprise. It wasn’t something expected but it was his decision. We have done a very good job since we started together in November, a lot of very good personal and professional memories. It was a nice progression. I am very grateful for the work we did together. Of course it’s weird, but we try to deal with it.
In Fort Worth, you are accompanied by your physio, Laura Legoupil and your parents, but also trainer Juan Pablo Guzman. Is he expected to continue with you during the off-season and the 2023 season?
No, here we are really on a hard short term. Following Bertrand’s decision, we decided to call someone who helped me last year. We had worked together during the second half of the 2021 season. He already knew me. He came to help me with the organization, to give me advice, to help me in the preparation for the matches. I needed someone. And since he already knows me, it’s easier to join the team.
You will start your tournament in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday (from 1am, French time) against Coco Gauff. What do you think of the American?
She is a player and also a very impressive woman. She exploded very young and she was already very mature to handle the situation. Here she plays singles and doubles, I don’t know how they do with Jessica (Pegula), it’s incredible. She is very impressive, she is progressing enormously. She doesn’t look like she’s 18, she looks like she’s been on the circuit for five years. I wish I was like her at 18! She’s great for tennis and women’s tennis. »