“How did you experience this game? What could you have done better?
I did everything I could to put on a good game. My team worked exceptionally to try to give me the keys to approach this match in the best possible way. There is nothing I could have done better today (Sunday). I struggled to hold my serve early in the game. I don’t think I was nervous, I was more excited to be on the court and have another opportunity to fight for the world number one spot.
There are definitely things I can improve on, but I shouldn’t be particularly affected by the defeat today. It’s another step in my career. I look forward to continuing to score points this season, to do more good results, to fight for trophies. Today I’m happy with the way I played, my attitude on the court, my mental stability and my level of concentration.
Novak Djokovic was simply better today?
You know, Novak is a player who pushes your limits. I don’t see it as a curse, I don’t see it as something annoying. It’s very good for the sport, to have competitors like him and to have champions like that. It represents something very important for us, who want to reach the same level one day. Getting beaten by him and in this way is always a good lesson. He made me a better player, he allowed me to increase my level of play and concentration. When you play against Novak Djokovic, you really have to be very involved in his game.
“(Novak) earned it, with all the effort and professionalism he put into his day-to-day life. It’s kind of like a reminder for me, I can only learn from that. »
It was your second Grand Slam final (although you lost to Novak Djokovic, after Roland-Garros 2021), how do you feel?
Honestly, I don’t really think about the game anymore. I’m just happy to have played another Grand Slam final. Of course, I dreamed of the trophy and lifting it. I even dreamed about it last night in my sleep. The desire is there, I really wanted it! But dreaming about it is not enough. We must act. You have to do something on the court. You have to be present and do better each time. Today, I have the feeling that I was not far at certain times, but it was not felt in the tie-breaks. I started them badly. So I’ll just try to forget and move on. It’s going to be a long, trying season. I have to be physically ready for the tough matches I’m going to have to play against the best players in the world.
I just try to think about that, think about the future and not the past. Of course, it is difficult to digest lost finals, it is sometimes even more difficult than a semi-final, because there is less attention around us in the semi-finals. But it’s much better to play finals! I still have to progress a little to be able to lift trophies on a regular basis, win tournaments and Masters 1000.
Your words about Novak after the game were touching. Was it spontaneous or planned?
I meant every word I said on the court. He deserved it, with all the effort and all the professionalism he put into his everyday life. It’s kind of like a reminder for me, I can only learn from that. I can only use it to my advantage. I did not invent anything, the figures speak for themselves. 22 is that it? We have other great champions, like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. He is one of the greatest champions our sport has had and not just ours, all sports in general. I think we are incredibly lucky to have three great champions like that. They’re the reason I’m here too. I watched them play when I was a kid. I always liked the way Novak behaved on the court.
“I don’t see why I should lower my ambitions. I was born champion. I feel it, I feel it, it’s in me. I already felt it when I was a child. »
How do you compare this defeat with the one in Paris (6-7 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 against Djokovic) ?
The defeat in Paris broke my heart. I was leading two sets to nothing. I didn’t think about it too much, I was aware of it but I tried not to focus too much on it. But let’s say that I made tactical decisions at that time which were the wrong ones. At least I’m pretty sure I’ll never replicate them in my career. But I don’t feel the same things as in Paris. It was a different final, in what happened off the court as well. I lost my grandmother on the day of the final, I didn’t know it and I found out after the fact, but there was something in the air that made me feel weird. I still remember it. I don’t want to think about it again because it was not a good memory. It’s a mix of emotions because I played my first Grand Slam final and, at the same time, I lost my grandmother. So I just did everything to move forward.
What is your goal now? Are you focused on becoming world number 1?
I always want to do my best in what I do, so of course being number 1 is on my mind. It’s not easy, I know that. I have to work even harder to make that happen.
Today was my chance, but I had a stronger opponent than me on the other side of the net who played much better than me. He deserves this position right now. But I will continue to aim for this objective, I do not see why I should lower my ambitions. I was born champion. I feel it, I feel it, it’s in me. I already felt it when I was a child. I want to get there, progress, I will continue to work hard to achieve this goal. »
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