“It’s the beginning of a rebirth” for reigning champion Lucas Pouille

I come back with great pleasure. It is true that three years ago I spent a great week winning the tournament. Everything is done to make you feel good there, the organization is great, all the volunteers are great and very attentive and then the city is magnificent. I am very happy to be playing this tournament again.

This is also the last title you won. Since then, you have spent two difficult years with …

I come back with great pleasure. It is true that three years ago I spent a great week winning the tournament. Everything is done to make you feel good there, the organization is great, all the volunteers are great and very attentive and then the city is magnificent. I am very happy to be playing this tournament again.

This is also the last title you won. Since then, you’ve had two complicated years with a major elbow injury, how are you feeling?

I feel better. This week I got a good victory in Madrid against Karen Khachanov (26th in the world), a good match against Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th, defeat 6-3, 6-4 in the second round). I think the level is coming back. Now, tennis is not only up to us, but it is true that I feel good, I am in good health. So I hope this is the beginning of the renaissance.

Does it feel good to get good performances after several difficult months?

Mentally, it is very good to see that the work is bearing fruit and “feel” where you were before the injury. It certainly gives confidence. It also helps to keep believing and working hard to get back to the level you were at and try to climb even higher. Now we have to move on. All matches are hard to win. And here at Primrose the table is extremely tough, so every game will be tough.

Precisely three years ago, you saved a game point during your first round. What memory do you keep?

It’s a bit of a tennis craze, it’s the magic of this sport. One day it can be tricky and the next day you can feel much better. I also think the player he played (Pedro Cachin) was around the 260th place in the world at the time (while he was 32nd). I finally win the tournament behind. He had not let me go and had managed to turn the situation around.

Will you also play in the doubles tournament, is it for fun or does it help you find the rhythm?

Jonathan Eysseric asked me if I wanted to participate in the doubles. Playing matches today is the priority. Each doubles match is also part of training with challenges, of serving under pressure, of coming back, of trying to progress in many areas. It’s important for me to play as many games as possible and doubles is one of them.

After two years in the vacuum, you will find the public, which is more in France. What are you waiting for?

It changes everything. It changes the sport, our view of matches. The public, the warm environments, this is the very essence of the sport. It’s fun for me to find an audience and even more so in France. Feeling supported, supported, that gives us all the energy to overcome. It’s always been a plus, I remember playing in Lille in front of over 27,000 spectators (at the Davis Cup final in 2017), it’s an energy and an adrenaline rush that you can’t find anywhere to go anywhere.

Gilles Simon will retire at the end of the season. After Tsonga, he is the second member of the “four musketeers” (with Gasquet and Monfils) to retire.

I think people will realize how lucky they were to have four outstanding players for so many years at the top. I saw them when I was little, I had the opportunity to meet them on the circuit, play with them, spend time with them. Gilles (Simon) had an outstanding career with incredible victories. Having had all four at the same time in the top ten is something we won’t see again so soon. You have to savor, enjoy watching them still play. I hope he finishes with good results this year and I hope Jo (Tsonga) finishes with a good Roland-Garros. It will be a little painful to see them leave.

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