Gilles Simon was for a long time one of the most interesting players on the men’s circuit, also for his out-of-the-field comments. The French veteran also expressed counter-current views when he found himself talking about Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
On October 28, the first book will be released, in which ‘Gillou’ documents his life on the tour and his thoughts on sensitive topics. In particular, the WeLoveTennis.fr site published an extract from the book a few days after Nadal’s 13th success at Roland Garros.
Referring to the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Simon has harshly criticized the work of the French Federation in recent decades. The last transalpine to win in Paris was Yannick Noah in 1983. Since then, only Henri Leconte has reached the final in the French capital 32 years ago.
Simon on Rafael Nadal
“To the time of this writing, Rafael Nadal won 12 Roland Garros by returning eight meters behind the baseline and with rounded trajectories,” Gilles Simon wrote. “If he had gone through the French federal structure, we would probably have changed him everywhere”.
Gilles Simon sounded grateful that Rafael Nadal’s career turned out the way it did, calling it ‘phenomenal’. “Certainly, one could retort to me that it would have changed for the better, nobody can know that,” Simon continued.
“But let’s say that as it stands, the least we can say is that his career is phenomenal, right?” During a recent interview, the former World number 1 talked about his record: “The numbers should be analysed by people who have good knowledge of the history of tennis.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me much. I’m happy with my career. At the moment, it’s clear that I’m one of the two. We’ll see what happens in the next few years: what Djokovic does, what Federer does when he returns and what I keep doing.
If all goes well, we’ll have time to analyse it when our careers are over. Federer and I have had a very good relationship for many years. We have great admiration for one another. We’ve shared many of the most important moments of our careers competing against one another to the point of creating a rivalry that has surpassed the boundaries of tennis.
We value it and appreciate it in a special way. Tying him at 20 means a lot, it’s a great honour. It’s a wonderful thing.”