“What feelings do you have after your victory at the US Openthe third Grand Slam of your career?
I’m really proud of myself because it wasn’t an easy match, even though I was dominant at the start. I knew it would be tight and Ons (Jaber) would profit from each of my mistakes. I didn’t want to back down. The second set was very engaged, I’m happy to have managed to put a little more intensity and energy to conclude and be really precise in the key moments. It was a very good match.
How did you feel when you collapsed on the ground after match point? And you who said dislike the balls used during the North American tourdo you appreciate them a little more now?
It’s a tricky question (smile). I feel like I can adapt to anything today. I need a little more time (with these balls)that’s probably why it didn’t work in Toronto and Cincinnati.
And when I was lying down, after the match point, I was relieved that we weren’t embarking on a third set. I knew that physically, with the stress too, it would have become complicated. I had played a lot of intense matches the previous days… It’s so emotional that you are a little forced to collapse. I’m glad I didn’t cry so much, it makes me look like something now. It’s not perfect, but…
“I used the experience of my first two finals. I wasn’t that tense.”
90% of first serves, 100% of returns in the court: you have achieved an excellent first set. How do you rate it?
It was really good. It’s the only game here where I started so well. A bit like at the start of the season, during my series of victories, where I often started very strong. But that had somewhat disappeared in the second half of the year. Starting off so well gave me confidence, of course.
I felt that during the Roland-Garros final (6-1, 6-3 win against Coco Gauff) : if you start well, it’s much easier to continue at the same pace and not feel too much pressure of a final. I used the experience of my first two finals. I wasn’t that tense. I think I was more against Coco in Paris.
You have spoken several times about the importance of winning elsewhere than at Roland-Garros. What does this title represent?
At the beginning of the year, I understood that I could have good results on the circuit (on hard). I also made the semi-final at the Australian Open. But I didn’t know if I already had the level to win a Grand Slam (other than on earth), especially at the US Open where the surface is very fast. I did not expect that. It confirms to me that there are no limits. I’m proud and also a little surprised (smile).
Was it more difficult to win this US Open than Roland-Garros in June?
It’s hard to compare. It is certain that at Roland-Garros, I feel that I always have more control and I have the impression of being a little at home on the Philippe-Chatrier. Here on the Ashe, I still have to get used to the atmosphere. I was not sure, before the game, that I was here at home. I stayed focused, I didn’t indulge in those kinds of thoughts.
The pressure was very strong for my second Roland-Garros, everyone more or less expected me to win. Here, I was able to lower my expectations. And people expected me less on hard. So mentally, I would say Roland-Garros was tougher. But tennis and physically, it was more complicated here.
“I am especially proud of not collapsing mentally in important moments and of having many more options on the court, from a tennis point of view but also mentally”
During the ceremony, on the court, you mentioned the “distractions” of New York. What were you talking about?
I’ve met so many amazing people like Lindsey Vonn. Seal, too. After meeting him, I said to myself:Even if I lose now, I already won the tournament because I had a picture with him.” It’s probably something that can only happen here because it’s New York. tomorrow (sunday), I’m going to attend a musical, but I won’t say which one. I want to be a little quiet (smile).
At 21, what are you most proud of?
I am especially proud of not collapsing mentally in the important moments. I have no regrets even if I lose, I know that I give 100%. I am also proud to have many more options on the court, from a tennis point of view but also mentally. I use my qualities well.
I’m really proud of it because I know what it’s like to have the feeling of having no solution on the pitch, not knowing how to change the situation of a match. It’s been a long time since that happened to me, that’s great. It shows that I am progressing. I know I still have a lot of progress to make on the court. It’s quite exciting because it will become easier to play these kinds of matches. »