Paris – “Too many things become difficult”: it is with these words that Gilles Simon, 37, explained to AFP on Monday the reasons why he had decided to end his career at the end of the year, wanting to take advantage of these last few months to play “one last time on the grass”.
Q: What factor triggered your decision?
A: “It comes gradually and there comes the moment when you say to yourself + there it is, there is nothing more to do, too many things become difficult +. Each year, I take three years in my body. When I I was young, I left on Sunday morning, I trained on Sunday afternoon and I could play on Monday. Today, the day of the flight I no longer play and the day after the flight, I play an hour maximum even if it’s not a long flight. The body no longer moves, no longer reacts, I can’t afford to go all the way because of the risk of injury. Which means that we stop, often, c is when you are no longer able to play the Grand Slam tables. In my ranking (160th), getting back into the top 100 means winning 5 or 6 Challengers (2nd division) in the season. can my body do it? No. In the last tournaments, in each match I just want to be able to give something to the guy opposite. I have played several matches this year in Challengers 2 h30, 3am, where I know that the next day I can’t play, but when I’m on the field and I’m playing, there’s a match. The concern that is happening more and more is that there is not even a match. Before, I said to myself + I’m going to eat you all physically, I don’t care it can last as long as you want, yeah I’m in pain but if I’m in pain you’re in even more pain than me, so it’s fine + . Now it’s the opposite, it’s me who hurts before the others. I arrive in a trick where I feel that it is not possible to reverse this machine, so I prefer to tell myself that there are tournaments that I want to play… until the end of the year.”
Q: Which tournaments?
A: “There are plenty of Challengers that I’m happy to do because people are happy to see me. A tournament like Metz, I want to play it because I’ve won it three times, twice ahead my children. If I can qualify for the US Open, I’ll be really happy. I want to play one last time on grass, my favorite surface, and that’s also why I don’t stop not at Roland-Garros.”
Q: Do you have any regrets?
A: “No. Obviously, in the semis in Toronto (2008) I lost 7-6 in the 3rd set on Kiefer, it was a match that was won. Obviously the final in Shanghai (2014) against Roger (Federer) was won, I lost 7-6, 7-6, I served for the match, I had set points in the first and second, it’s a match that I can win a thousand times Obviously the half of the Masters (2008) against Novak she was definitely winnable.”
Q: Did you suffer from a lack of notoriety compared to your French contemporaries Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gaël Monfils and Richard Gasquet?
A: “No. Jo, Gaël and Richard were abnormally charismatic. Jo, even when he is not Top5 or Top10, he has the image of it. Gaël, even when he is 50th in the world, he plays on the center court at the US Open. Richard, he’s already famous because of his results when he was little. You don’t fight against these things. And me, somewhere I don’t care and that suits me. There’s also the way you arrive… Richard he has always been very well known, Jo he makes the final directly in Australia, he explodes Rafa… Me, I arrive and we say + what is he doing, how does he look at the Masters ?+ But I think over time, people see that you’re still there, and you gain some respect after a while.”
Q: Between Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, who is the best player of all time?
A: “The one I found the strongest because the most complete was Novak. But they are three monsters, three absolute geniuses. To put one above it is almost to disrespect the other two. J I would have liked all three of them to finish at 20 Grand Slam titles.”
Q: What are you going to do next year?
A: “I want to take care of my children. They will be 9 and 12 at the end of the year, it’s time for them to discover their father. And once I get them drunk, I’ll do something else. Tennis is my passion so I will try to do something, but what I don’t know.”
Interview by Igor GEDILAGHINE