Media Day musings: Monfils hopeful, Rafa grateful

 - Chris Oddo

Find out what Monfils, Azarenka, Nadal, Halep and others had to say on the eve of their campaigns.

Roland-Garros 2018,  Gael Monfils, entraînement, practice©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Gratitude was a prevailing theme as the top players addressed the media in Paris on Friday, while the weather and conditions also took centre stage.

So did hope, which always springs eternal a few days before a major. Here's a rundown of our top quotes from Friday's media day.

“The situation is not easy, but not hopeless. I think I have a day or two of training, I'll just deal with it, hoping to get better and better.”

– Disappointed after losing his first two matches since tennis restarted, Gael Monfils says he will keep working to find his game in Paris. 

“I'm not too concerned about the weather. I know it's going to be tricky. But I'm excited to be here. I look at it in a positive way, the fact that they can still make another Grand Slam happen. I don't really care about the weather or the month. I'm just happy to be here competing.” 

– 2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza is all about the gratitude this year in Paris. 

“It's a big difference between Rome and here, that's for sure – 15 degrees less.” 

– 2018 champion Simona Halep may need to bring a jacket. 

“I feel like especially from last year, I felt that I finally started finding my rhythm, actually enjoying myself playing on clay, sliding, instead of cussing the clay out every single time I play on it.” 

Victoria Azarenka says for the first time in a long time she’s enjoying playing on the clay. 

“You need time. At the same time what you need is the right energy to accept every single thing, no? That's what I am doing. Just stay positive knowing that the conditions are not perfect for me, maybe not perfect for others either, and accept that I am going to need my best version to have chances.” 

– 12-time champion Rafael Nadal says 2020 is all about adapting. 

"I think it’s a really nice collaboration between the two of us, the Jan van Haasteren puzzles. My parents, they have all of them ... [Blokker] came up to me and said if I wanted to make my own puzzle, I said 'of course'. It launched last week so I’m really happy about that."

Kiki Bertens lets us in on a Dutch cartoon puzzle created in her honour during the Covid-19 tour hiatus.

“Maybe it can help me that it's a bit colder, so the balls don't fly as much, don't go as spinny ... I think it can be an opportunity for me actually, an advantage.” 

Daniil Medvedev is hoping to pick up his first main draw win at Roland-Garros.

“To play Roland-Garros in September, end of September, it's a little bit weird. But it's nice that we have the chance to play at this tournament. We should actually thank everyone for fighting so hard to [make] it possible. Let's see now who is going to be ready for it.”

– Pre-tournament favourite Simona Halep is grateful to play in Paris, on clay, no matter the month. 

“The whole approach is different because, luckily I have to say, 'I won the title'. I was for a long time in New York. The preparation on clay was not ideal. I had two practice days in Austria, arrived two days ago here. I'm going to have four practice days here in Roland-Garros. In total, six days practice on clay, which is not a lot.”

– Newest Grand Slam champion Dominic Thiem hopes to continue his winning ways from New York.

“I think right now I just feel like against many, many players, many good players, I lose my level on clay courts. What I'm saying is that many guys who have the natural spin, I have to change my game, adapt my game, which makes me more vulnerable, which is completely normal.” 

Daniil Medvedev talks about the difficult process of facing the top clay-court players in the world. 

"The only thing that we can say is thanks to the US Open, to Roland-Garros, to Rome, because they are trying hard to organise events, even probably knowing they're going to lose money. That's the beautiful things that our tour have. Is a moment to stay together, I think, to fight for the comeback of our tour."

Rafael Nadal tips his cap to tournament organisers.