Herbert/Mahut F interview

Interviews

Q. Congratulations to both. I would like to ask both of you just a first impression about the fact that this is a career Grand Slam for you and was wondering how much this stayed with you throughout the tournament and how much reaching this goal was in your mind during the final.
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: We knew when we won Roland Garros that it was the one missing, so for sure it added maybe a special motivation when entering to this tournament. After, it's always tricky because when you want something, you have to make the good decisions and to be in the good state of mind to be good on court.

I think we wanted it, but we also wanted to be good on court on each matches and we focused on the game, and that's why maybe today we could achieve what we achieved here at the Australian Open, but for sure it was in our mind as we started the tournament and gave us maybe the extra motivation to push and to do it.

NICOLAS MAHUT: Well, I don't need extra motivation, I don't think. But, no, today I didn't have it in mind, because I thought I was sure it would have been really difficult to play if I was just focused on just to win this tournament because it was the one missing. I was just focused on the game, just focused on what I have to do on court to be good, because in front of us we had a really good team to beat.

But now we can talk about it, and here we are. We have the four slams. So it's a great feeling (smiling).

Q. You said, I love you like my brother. You're 10 years older. Can you tell me when you first met and what you think the first time you saw each other?
NICOLAS MAHUT: When we first met, I don't know, but I saw him playing when he was playing junior at Wimbledon. And I knew – I told him once that it would be the new Michael Llodra. That is true.

And then, I don't know, right away when we started to be on the challenger level, we were, like, talking to each other sometimes. I remember we had dinner one night in Saint Remy-de-Provence challenger. We talked.

Well, when I had to choose a partner when Llodra retired, then I had no doubt that I had to play with Pierre-Hugues, because I was sure we'd have so many success.

Then after five years, we learned each other. We spent so much time on court, out of court. Yeah, as I said on court, I love him like my brother.

Q. Now you have the Grand Slam, Nicolas. Probably not thinking about Australia, but does the idea of retirement now seem a little bit more acceptable?
NICOLAS MAHUT: I don't know.

PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: For me? For me maybe no, because he's going to retire after me, actually, so yes.

NICOLAS MAHUT: It's strange. We have so many things to achieve. If you remember well, in 2016 in Rio, we didn't play that good, so I still have this in mind so I won't think about retirement after the next Olympics. So you can wait at least one more year, and then of course at the end of my career, at least, I could say that we won all four slams.

But I don't want to quit. Maybe if you want me to quit, tell me (smiling).

Q. But does that mean maybe a little bit less singles for the next year or two?
NICOLAS MAHUT: I'm going to try my best in singles the next six months, and then of course I will see. The ranking would decide for me, maybe.

Q. Nicolas, it's your first tournament of the year. You played qualification here. You lost in the first round. How difficult was it to wait for maybe...
NICOLAS MAHUT: That's a good question.

PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: Retirement was not a good question (smiling)?

NICOLAS MAHUT: It is a good question, but for me... I mean, that was difficult, I have to say. Because I had to practice in Scotch College. We didn't have so much court. When you lost in quallies, you don't have so many opportunities to play on, to practice here. I'm a kind of player who need to practice a lot, so that was really difficult.

But the second thing is Pierre-Hugues had to be ready for the singles, so we didn't have so much time together. We didn't practice once together, because he had to focus on his singles.

So that was not really easy, but I play with my coach. I managed to play some doubles sets with other doubles guys. Tristan Lamasine was here for a few days, so I practiced with him a lot. Then when the tournament started, then we started slow. But then after two or three games, then our level was much better.

Q. Pierre, what do you think 15-year-old Pierre would say if you told him that at 27 you'd be all four Grand Slam doubles champion?
PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: 15 years old? Actually, it's a good year, because was a tough year for me. I didn't win that many matches. I remember was maybe one year that I started going on tournaments with my father who stopped his work. Was big-pressure year for me. I didn't win so many matches.

If you tell this 15-year-old he would achieve the career Grand Slam in doubles, for sure he would be signing directly and being the happiest young man ever.

NICOLAS MAHUT: A little bit disappointing because you didn't win in singles maybe?

PIERRE-HUGUES HERBERT: No, it's not disappointing winning doubles only. It's a big thing that we achieved, and it's just amazing. I mean, for sure he would have signed directly for this.