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Gilles Simon Q&A: The Patient PlayStationer

Player Q&A

Simon© Raed KrishanSimon is aiming to win his first tournament title hat-trick in Bucharest.

World No. 12 Gilles Simon has the opportunity to win the same ATP World Tour event on three occasions for the first time in his career, after the top Bucharest seed defeated Matthias Bachinger 7-5, 6-2 in the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy semi-finals Saturday.

As part of ATPWorldTour.com’s new Q&A series, Simon talks about his decision to return to the tournament after a four-year hiatus, his greatest strength on court and why he prefers PlayStation 3 to other video game consoles.

You’ve won 14 of the 15 matches you’ve played here. Where does this tournament rank on your list of favourite ATP World Tour stops?
It’s a very important tournament for me. It was my second title. It was also the first time I was able to defend a title. And maybe it will be the first tournament I win three times if I win the final tomorrow. I like the conditions here. It suits well with my game.

After winning back-to-back titles in 2007-2008, you took a four year break before returning to Bucharest. What made you decide to come back to the event?
Bucharest was in September before and was the only tournament on clay at this moment in the season. In 2007, I played because my best results at the time were on clay. And in 2008, I came because I wanted to defend my title. After that, it was easier for me to play on hard courts. And unfortunately, I couldn’t come here because there were two nice tournaments in the same week. One was in Bangkok, which I won and one was in Metz, which I also won. It was difficult to make the choice.

The past nine months, you’ve been within striking distance of the Top 10. How important is it for you to break back into this group?
The ranking depends on your results. I just try to focus on each tournament and win as many matches as possible. Then the ranking comes. As I was already in the Top 10, to be back there would be nice, but it won’t change my life. What I aim for is to be in the Top 5, as I was No. 6 in the world. I know that I have a lot of work to do to reach that ranking.

Nearly half of your titles have come on clay. What do you like about playing on the surface and on the contrary, what challenges does it present you?
On the clay, I think I can play my best tennis when I’m in good shape. I feel when I’m physically strong, it will be very hard for my opponent to hit a winner against me. The serve is less important, so it’s really perfect for my game. But unfortunately on clay, as soon as you are physically a little bit down or have an injury, then your level drops very fast and you can lose to anybody. That’s the hardest part of clay, being fit and ready.

Would you consider your tennis mind your greatest strength, given your ability to stay patient and then pull the trigger at the right time?
I don’t like to miss. That’s why sometimes I play too slowly. I feel like my strength is the ability to do everything on the court. Sometimes I am patient, but if I play a player who is more patient than me, I am also able to be aggressive. I often find the solution to the problem the opponent asks me. Sometimes, they are too good and I lose the match. But every time, I know I can play a different type of game. Even if I am patient in the first part of the match, I show my opponent it will be hard to get past me.

Why is PlayStation 3 better than its competition, such as the Xbox 360 and the Wii?
I always played the PlayStation because my favourite game is Final Fantasy. The license was first on PS1, then PS2 and now PS3. So that’s why it’s better than the others.

If someone was to stay in Paris for just one day, where would you recommend he/she visit?
Is there good weather?

Yes, let’s say that.
I think it’s not a good idea to come for just one day as you will miss everything. My main advice is to come for at least one week.

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