“You delivered very solid tennis today…
It’s true that the first two sets were better than I expected. Everything went in my favor, I hit all the areas, with all the right shots and Matteo (Berrettini) perhaps did not show the level that he can be. I believe that the conditions, with the humidity and the closed roof, also played in my favour. The court got a little slower. I felt like I had a bit more time than before when I played against him. Honestly, I’m a little surprised to find myself in the semis here. I’ve developed my hard court game a lot over the past two years and I think Miami this year (final lost against Carlos Alcaraz) showed me that I could beat great players and go far on this surface too. It was a confidence boost for me.
“I have matured and learned to play better matches in five sets than last year”
You were in the final at Roland-Garros, here you are in the semi-finals in New York. The priority this season was to perform in the Grand Slam?
The start of the year was a bit unfortunate with my ankle injury in training two days before my match in Australia. It was hard not to make the tournament, not to play a game in Melbourne. But I knew that when Paris arrived, I would start to feel better on clay. I said to myself “there are three Grand Slams left, try to take the chances you can”. In Paris, something clicked. I had the feeling to better apprehend the matches in five sets. I realized that sometimes you can let go of a set, to save energy for other sets. I think I’ve matured and learned to play five-set matches better than I did last year.
If you find Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final, we will inevitably evoke your first meeting in Rome in 2019, where the Australian, after taking a penalty game, had left the court at the change of ends by throwing a chair on the field. How do you judge the player and the man today?
First, he has taken big steps in his game this year. He was already a big talent when he was 18, 19, but this year he proved he could do that over several matches in a row, several weeks in a row. It looks like he’s really focused this year. If he had scored the points in his Wimbledon final, he would be Top 15 again and probably very close to the Top 10, with his results here. We all know he’s dangerous. On a personal level, there are not so many relationships. We haven’t said hello in the locker room for a while, but we do now, so it’s better. There was a time when it was probably a little tense, but he came to see me at the Laver Cup last year and congratulated me when I won my match, which was good. It’s easier now. Things have been said and forgotten. There is no need to dwell on the past. »