Fabrice Santoro Interview May 2016

Fabrice Santoro the French Magician gave an incredibly open interview

Asked who"s the best player he"s ever faced, Santoro said unhesitatingly, "Federer without a doubt. He makes even the toughest things look easy. That's the most impressive thing. His best quality is his freshness. It"s abnormal to me. It"s not normal to be like he is, laughing in the dressing room like a 15-year old kid. It"s inexplicable. He lives the profession. Some like the tennis, others the travelling, the competition, the training, the interviews, and signing autographs. He lives for all that 100%. It"s like he was measured for a suit and they created a sport for that guy."

The thing that upset him the most on the court: "Against Berdych at Wimbledon in 2006. It was the biggest injustice I"d ever endured on a court. I played one of the best matches of my career on grass, I had two match points and he calls the physio saying he was injured. The match was interrupted for almost a quarter of an hour (Santoro lost the match 6-4, 6-7, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4). When he was asked how his knee was, he said it was nothing, it was just to break my rhythm. That"s the only time in my career that I didn"t shake a player"s hand. I didn"t say hello to him for three-four years. Now, we"ve become friends."

The dirtiest player: "Coria. He was a dirty sort. With Hawk-eye, he would have won fewer matches. He was a cheater and a trickster. He had no problems circling a the wrong mark on clay. He tried to confuse. There was some sort of justice in the Roland final (in the 2004 French Open final, Coria lost to Gaudio after having been up 2-0). It would have pissed me off that someone like him would win a Slam. Weird guy."

The biggest party guy: "Safin. At the Moscow tournament, he wasn"t affected by jet lag. He knew he"d be playing every evening at 8 PM, so he could go to bed at 5 AM and get up at 2-3 PM. He went out every night. You could also call him the nicest person. He"s really a sweet guy."

Santoro then revealed a wish that he has, one that could become a regret if it doesn"t get fulfilled. "I would have loved to coach Gael Monfils. He"s a guy who has no limits apart from those he imposes on himself. Rightly or wrongly, I have the feeling I could have helped him. Today at almost 30, he has a structure that suits him, and I hope he keeps it to the end. That"s why I"m saying it now," confessed Santoro.

Finally, he spoke about a player, who"s been forgotten but one he"d most like to see again? "Rios. He had a bad temper but I loved watching him play. I recently watched a long bit of his Miami final when he became world no.1 and crushed Agassi (7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in 1998). It was pure genius. The first time he played Roland Garros (in 1994), he was 18. He lost in three to Sampras, who was number one (7-6, 7-6, 6-4). I congratulated him after the match and he answered: "I though the world no. 1 would play a lot better than that. I"m not impressed at all. One day I"ll be world no. 1." There"s saying it and doing it. He said it and did it."

What do you think about his confessions?