Gilles Simon: 'You never 'should' win anything. You just try'

In a freewheeling chat with Sportstar, Gilles Simon talks about the Tata Open, changes in his game, and what keeps him motivated.

Gilles Simon: "Being 15 in the world is great but if you achieve it like five-six years in a row, you are not changing and you have no chance of going higher."   -  AP

For most things tennis, Frenchman Gilles Simon's is a sobering perspective. It is perhaps the reason why he was elected by his peers to serve on the ATP Player Council. Here in Pune for the inaugural Tata Open Maharasthra, the 33-year-old former World No.6 spoke to Sportstar.
 

Excerpts:

You generally start in Australia. Why Pune?

I am getting older so I want to see new places. I have never been to India and that's too bad! So I am happy to be here.

Last season was tough. You slid to 90 in the world, your lowest in a decade. How did you motivate yourself?

It was tough because I tried to do a few things differently and wasn't successful at it. I almost quit at one point. But now I see the light [at the end]. I was feeling much better at the end of the last season and I am fresh now and hope to have a good start.

What were the changes?

You play a lot of tennis, work hard every day but play the same way and end up with the same ranking! Being 15 in the world is great but if you achieve it like five-six years in a row, you are not changing and you have no chance of going higher. So you have to take risks. I know it's hard to be as successful as before and harder to take risks when you are older. Let's see how it goes.

You were part of great generation of French players [Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga] but there was no success at the Majors. A Frenchman should have won something?

You never 'should' win anything. You just try. It has been very hard for us all. In the first few years only four players won slams, or may be five. Personally I never played as I wanted to in the slams. Other French players did better than me; like Tsonga played a final. In the end we always lost to Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal] and Novak [Djokovic]. Tsonga was more likely to win in my opinion. I think he tried his best but unfortunately even when he was able to beat two of the top guys, he lost to the third!

Is Lucas Pouille, who clinched the Davis Cup for France, the next big hope?

Pouille is already a very good player. He has done well to be in the Top-15. I hope the Davis Cup win helps him further. But there are so many good players. Even in that Davis Cup final, the best player on court was [Belgium's] David Goffin. So it's hard work but Pouille has the time and the tennis to achieve more.

So finally, what are your expectations from this tournament?

There are very good players here and it's difficult to win. But I also know that if I am able to play my best tennis, I can beat most players in the draw.