Great match during three sets, but in the end you are in the wrong side. A loss is a loss.
A loss is a loss. And I'm going to go now and practice on my fitness. Simple. I was getting tired with my legs in the fourth set, but I also think if I would win the third set, it would be the other way around, because Gaël was also tired. And it was more mental than physical.
But still, I cannot allow myself to feel like this in the fourth or fifth set. So I still need to work on my fitness, and then, yeah.
Do you think that Gaël managed to get into your head when he talked to you and said that you still had at least one hour and a half to play?
I didn't hear him saying that.
What did he say?
Between the third and the fourth set.
No, no, I came back, and I joked with him. I told him, Please, this set without a net roll, like he did in the set point. He laughed. I didn't hear what he said. Really, I didn't hear.
No, he didn't get in my head. I really like Gaël. And there is no getting into nobody's head.
You said you need to work on your fitness. Do you think that's something you haven't done enough in the past?
No, I have done it in the past. I just need to do more.
How much fun was it to be out there, even though you didn't come out on the winning side?
It wasn't fun.
What would you rather have been doing?
I would rather win in three sets, 6‑1, 6‑2, 6‑2, and that's it. No, no, no good match, nothing. Ugly match but easy win for me, I would be more happy. No fun.
Court 2000. Whatever. Just to win. (Laughter.)
I think also between the third and fourth sets he took out his phone and was photographing. Did you see him taking pictures of the crowd doing the wave?
I didn't see him, but I really don't care what he was doing with his phone or with the crowd. What can I do? I played a beautiful point, I have 22 people applauding for me. (Laughter.)
But ‑‑ okay.
22 is not enough?
Yeah, if half of this is your team, you gave tickets before the match, that's not enough. French crowd is French crowd. It's good. It's good for them; bad for us.
You have been around for a few years now, so have you had any effect on tennis in your country in terms of maybe kids coming up?
No, of course. This is rhetorical question. Of course. I was ‑‑ I'm the only player from Latvia who ever made it to top 100, top 50, top 30. Of course I made impact. It's just normal.
It's a lot of small kids are looking up to me in Latvia. They're trying to find the right ways to practice without staying too much in Latvia because we don't have a good system and good coaches in Latvia yet.
But what can we do? We have maybe ‑‑ we have a very short history of tennis in our country comparing to other big countries, so there is no chance to produce any more players.
There can be maybe in the future one or two players from Latvia, but it cannot be possibly constantly players come from there because of the system. Maybe slowly it can change maybe with me getting involved there, but not yet. I'm concentrating on my career. For now I'm not really interested in that too much.
You said you stopped drinking for months. Will you have maybe a drink tonight to recover from that loss?
No. This is an old topic already. I don't drink beer. Don't ask me about it anymore.
Coming back to the match, you were up a break in the second set, up a break in the third set, and you cannot keep it. Was it mental or was it physical?
No, I think for sure in second set and third set it was more mental. I'm telling you, if I would win the third set, if I would win the tiebreak, it could go the other way around. It could go that I win the fourth set easier.
It was, you know, a balance between ‑‑ it was a physical match. We had to do a lot of running, but it's also mental. If you're two sets to one down, of course you will break down. That's what happened. That's what I'm a little bit disappointed about. That's the only thing.
The rest you can you play worse, you can play better. Of course there is always a question there, but in general I need to last much longer in this high level if I want to win these five‑set matches.
Grass is next, and how much are you looking forward to it and what exactly will you be playing?
I will play Halle this year. I always played Queen's. Never did well there, so I changed it up a little bit. Halle, then I'm going to go London to play one week, and Wimbledon.
Of course I look forward to it, because I think I have a very good chance playing on grass. I'm not going ‑‑ I enjoy playing on grass. And we will see what happens.
What, if anything, do you remember of your first match here against him Henman?
Tim Henman. First match. I remember I won, so ‑‑ I don't remember the score.
Yeah, but ‑‑ yeah, I remember...
As an introduction to Grand Slam tennis.
I remember that I was happy about the draw, because Tim was already on his a little bit, on the ending side of his career and I was upcoming, you know. And of course I was nervous, but as I won the first set, that's it. It was not really a tough match. But not any particular memories, no.
I didn't pay too much attention what I was doing when I was 17, 18. You know, I thought everything was going to come to me, just keep on coming and that's it. I didn't really pay any attention when I was in quarterfinals here. Okay, I was in quarterfinals, and that's it, you know. Next day basically I forgot about it because I thought it was going to happen all the time and it's gonna be easy.
It's wrong, you know. You cannot sit on your, let's say, laurels. You know, you can't sit on the past. You have to move on, and that's what I didn't do.
Do you think you should have won today's match?
I lost. I don't know. What can I think? I already said I should have won against Nadal and I got some bad press, but, no, no, he played great. He played good. What can I say?
You have also had some quite rough draws in Grand Slams over the last few years. Do you think if you were offered a little bit of luck, if you get an opportunity, do you feel like you can go quite deep in a Grand Slam?
No, I want to be the player who can go deep no matter who he plays. I don't care about draw. I want to win, you know. I want to win. I'm not interested past two, three, four rounds. And then what? It's not my goal in life.
I will be happy to do it, of course I need to do it, I need to prove it, not just talk all the time. But not my goal.
You spoke about things ‑‑ you thought things would come easy when you were starting out. On the physical side of things, you say you need to work on maintaining your stamina or staying in the match like today. What is it that you're going to have to do to get to the level where you think it will come easy to you, you can stand around for five hours, run around for five hours?
You know, I need to stand for two‑and‑a‑half hours. If I play my top tennis, you know, there is not going to be many guys who can compete with me when I'm playing the best.
I just need to maintain my best in order to put much more pressure to the other guys. Because I'm playing attacking tennis. I'm going to be usually the one dictating the points against most of the guys, except a few, of course.
But I need to maintain my own top level for two, three hours, and it's going to be enough in most of the times.
And then we see, of course. Every match is something to learn on, and just to make some adjustments, to work more on that, work more on fitness or stamina, whatever.
It's just you go step by step.
Is there anything you're thinking of at the moment? Is it running up mountains or ‑‑ I say that lightheartedly, but is there anything specific where you say, I'm not doing that at the moment; that's what I need to do?
Not yet. Honestly, not yet.
Who of the top few players do you find most difficult to play?
Well, I never won against Nadal. Definitely him. But I like to play against him. His game style suits me well. Yeah, probably him. Because the rest I won ‑‑ okay, I won ‑‑ Murray I won in exhibition match, which doesn't really count, but still, for me it counts. Novak I won once. Roger I won once.
Yeah, probably Rafa.
But you feel comfortable against all of them or more comfortable against one than another?
I feel pretty comfortable against all of them, yeah. If I play good.