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An Interview With: Benoit Paire

Monday, August 31, 2015

Q. You played him twice before. Came out on the other end. What was difference about this match?

BENOIT PAIRE: I think today I served very well. I lost in Grand Slam against Kei in Roland Garros. It was a tough match. I lost in four sets. So when I enter into the court I know I can do something. The thing was just my serve. Because when I was practicing last few days I was not feeling so confident with my serve, and today it was working. So I think it's helping me during the important moment.

Q. Obviously a difficult five-setter, but to get by Kei, finalist last year, how great a start is this for you going into this tournament to be able to get a tough one behind you from a very good opponent?

BENOIT PAIRE: Yeah, because when I saw the draw against Kei I said, Bad luck. I feel good at this time. I won title one month ago. So I said, You play Kei first round; he made final last year. The thing is you have to have pleasure on this match. You have to feel good on court, to have fun, you know. You're going to play on big court, on big stadium. My coach told me the most important thing is when you go out of the court, you win, you lose, you don't care, just have fun. That's why when I start the match I try to hit fast all the ball and I was feeling good. So for me, for the confidence, I think it's good. But against Kei, he made final last year. Maybe he was a little bit nervous because of this. Because when you have a lot of points to defend it's not easy. But I think I start the match with a good way, and after, when I was losing two sets to one, it was not easy for me because physically I don't feel so good. But to be honest, I think I'm lucky. At 6-4 in the tiebreak for him he has two match points. Some good shots. He could win, he could lose. So today for me it's a good day, and I'm very happy to win.

Q. In terms of the confidence level, talk about expectations coming in. Then now with a match like this under your belt, has that raised the expectation levels a bit? The expectation levels of yourself, having beaten Kei today.

BENOIT PAIRE: Yeah, today for me, when I come on court I know I can beat Nishikori. I place twice time; I lost two time, but very tough match. So when I come on the court, I say, come on. You can beat Kei. He has a game -- it's not like if I play against Roger Federer. For me it's different because he has good serve. Against Kei I know I can play, and for sure some volleys. For me it's important because I know I don't put a lot of pressure on myself. I say, Okay, for sure you can break him. So the most important thing is to feel good and to have fun. I think today that's the most important thing. When you win one tournament, for sure my first tournament during the year to Bastad. For sure I feel confidence against Kei, and with this confidence I win. But I'm really happy.

Q. You saved two match points in the fourth set. Could you talk about your mindset going into the fifth set?

BENOIT PAIRE: Yes, just lucky. Missed three shots in a row at 6-4. So for me, I didn't save the match point. He give me a little bit the set because he could hit good forehand on the match point. At 6-4 he serve good, and then he made a mistake with his forehand. At 6-5 I serve good. At 6-All he made mistake on the return, so I think he was a little bit nervous. What can I say? For me I'm really happy to win. I serve two match points, but sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Q. You have a very interesting record at the US Open. You always play in five-setter in the first round.

BENOIT PAIRE: Exactly. But I lost two times in a 7-6 in the fifth.

Q. Something change in the last couple of years after the Kohlschreiber...

BENOIT PAIRE: Yes. Kohlschreiber, Bogomolov...

Q. So close. And last year Benneteau, Verdasco...

BENOIT PAIRE: Yes, I won.

Q. So what is the change? The preparation? And I think the toughest part is coming now. The second round, the following round after the five-setter, you mostly lost.

BENOIT PAIRE: Yes, of course. But when you win against Kei, for sure the confidence is here. For sure the next one will be tough. I don't say it will be easy. But when you play Kei Nishikori, for sure you have some good feeling when you're in tournament. And, yes, I lost two times 7-6 in the fifth, but last year I beat Benneteau 7-5 in the fifth. I won a tournament this year. So for the confidence, I think I win 6-4 in the fifth and it's really good for me. Yes, most difficult match will be maybe against Ilhan. But when you beat Kei, for sure you want to beat Marsel Ilhan.

Q. You beat Kyrgios.

BENOIT PAIRE: Yes, in five sets. I was losing two sets to love. Yes, I feel confident on hard court. I love to play on hard court. I already play good here, so we will see what happen in the next one. But I'm very happy to win today, so for the moment I will stay on this.

Q. Today you beat fourth seeded player in a Grand Slam. How big is your victory?

BENOIT PAIRE: Yeah, it's big victory. What can I say more? To beat Kei, he made final last year, so for me, yes, it's my best victory during my career. But I don't want to stop now. I want to beat the next one and then -- I don't want to stop after Kei, after this match. I want to -- I don't know how you say in English, but I want to go (Demonstrating upward) up.

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