Gilles Simon is a person who thinks a lot, be it on court, where his game and strategy are known to be a real poison even to the best players, or outside of it. There, the Frenchman is a man of opinions. And he is not afraid to express them!

In Melbourne, BATennis World had the chance to talk with the former world number six.

BATennis World: Could you tell us what your preseason was like? What are your expectations for this year?

Gilles Simon: I went on holidays for 6 weeks… I decided to change my preparation this year. No, no, I’m joking. Even if I wanted as my kids are in school, I could not have gone on holidays.I stayed home to spend time with them.

I did 15 days at home, 15 days in Germany, and then one more week at home. I did a good preparation, although it is always difficult if you choose to play Brisbane. There, as usual, I lost the first match of the season.

But it is not easy because you cannot choose to do everything, do the preseason, play tournaments, and see the family at the same time. That’s why the preparation was shorter to be with the family and I took Brisbane as part of the preparation plus one more week prior to the Australian Open. Brisbane always helps beyond the result to acclimatize to the Australia’s weather before the Australian Open.

My expectations are to play well, I hope. Last year was not very good for me. It was very long, very demanding, because I never felt very good on the court. It improved after the US Open, when I managed to get my head and my hand in the right direction, and for this year I hope to continue in that direction. Every year I have the feeling that I will play better and achieve something more than the previous year, but I have to avoid the low moments of last year. If I’m on the right track, goals can be achieved.

BATW: You’ve been on the tour for many years. What do you think you need to achieve? Is there anything that you have pending?

GS: I have nothing to regret. I am happy with everything I did. It’s not that I’m sad or proud of what I did, but it’s what I did and I can be happy with it. I’ve always tried to give my best. I’m still active. But you always want to be better and achieve more things, that’s how tennis players are. When you are 100 in the world you want to be 50; when you are 50 you want to be top 20; when you win some tournament you want to win a Grand Slam, and so on. But you cannot stop there and only think like that, because you would regret it in the future. It’s not healthy for your head. My only goal is to improve week by week, day after day. Give the best in every opportunity.

BATW: You, Gasquet, Tsonga have been on tour for many years. How do you see the next generation of French tennis players?

GS: The French or the others? Because unfortunately I think that the next generation of tennis will not come from France. I see many young Australians, many Americans, some Canadians doing very well, but no French.

BATW: Why do you think this is happening?

GS: I think we’re seeing tennis a bit different from the rest of the world. We have a very strong vision of tennis, a unique vision, but I don’t think it’s the best one. In fact, I’m sure it’s not the right one. I think this vision has reached its limit and it would be good to explore other options.

BATW: Would you be a coach in the future?

GS: I’m not sure. It’s a very difficult decision because I have to spend time with my family. I’ve been playing for a long time and I’ve left them alone a little. It’s very difficult for them, especially for my wife. In principle, I want to be at home as much as I can and give them back some of the time I’ve taken away. But, of course, I love tennis and I would like to help French tennis in the best way and as much as I can. I want to see French tennis being better than the rest. We have a fantastic tour in France. I’m sure we can achieve fantastic things.

(Photo: Getty Images)