Thierry Tulasne, former coach of Gilles Simon: “A champion in his head”

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Thierry Tulasne, former coach of Gilles Simon: “A champion in his head”

“How did you find it in Bercy ?
We found everything that was his strength, with his ability to play the points thoroughly. With his game plan that gives no solution to his opponents. Murray and Fritz looked for tactical solutions and each time the same points were repeated. Gilles did not miss. He played long enough, he managed to place counterattacks and that was his strength.

To return to his career, he had gradually started to do what many players do when they get older, namely to manage matches, to no longer play hard all the time. And there, on this last tournament, he had to tell himself that his only solution was to play all the way with the doubts about his level of play… It made him find his back in the game, to annoy an 11th in the world ( Fritz), even though he was missing his prime service. And that the match sequences ended up being difficult.

What made him special?
He was special in the sense that he adapted his game to the opponent. He didn’t give her the possibility of having a hold on him really, in fact. Gilles had solutions in many situations. He was able to do that thanks to his legs. He was running so fast and long… In a five-meter sprint, he was really fast. And he was a champion in his head. But that’s what he lost, I think, when we broke up. We stopped because he said to me: “Thierry, I’m exhausted, I don’t feel capable of doing more years like this playing all the points, playing in reaction and never letting go. I’m mentally exploding, I can’t keep doing this anymore…”

And so he started to let his shots go, to play more relaxed and for me that made him lose a lot of strength. If he had done another year or two like that in the top ten, I think the slack, he would have found it with confidence. He only did two years in the very best, in 2008-2009, and when he started to be less ”dog” on a court, that’s when he lost the 5 or 10%. ..

What do you remember from him?
One of the highlights is that he beat all the best in the world, winning a lot of the finals he played (14 out of 22). And on a human level, he has a lot of respect. The exchanges were very rich. Failure ? On nutrition, he always ate the same thing and it’s not necessarily the best, with the Chocapic in the morning, two croissants and his hot chocolate (smile). What I have tried to bring to him is enthusiasm to maintain motivation. Because he played a lot of matches, a lot of tournaments. He liked to chain to keep the confidence… “

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