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Michael Llodra - second round

Thursday 27 June 2013

Q.  Can you explain your reasons for pulling out of the singles.

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I have a problem since a couple weeks with my hamstrings.  It happen in French Open.  Since that, you know, it's painful like every day.  I pull out from the Queen's two weeks ago.

 Today was not enough to play singles.

Q.  Did you ever consider not playing today before the game?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  No, no.  I knew it was going to be difficult.  But actually I start very well.  So if I won the first set, should be different because, you know, we never know.

But I knew before the match is going to be difficult.

 Q.  But then you thought it was strong enough to play doubles afterwards?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, I know.  It's always difficult to make this choice.  But, I mean, in singles it's too difficult and dangerous for my hamstrings.  I prefer not to take any risks to play doubles.  Doubles is easier.  You play halfcourt.

 Q.  You didn't want to let Nicolas down either?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  No.  We have a goal to play here and try to win.  It's great because in doubles, the opponent pull out also.

 Q.  A really strange set of circumstances.

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, it's good.  These guys to be very injured to pull out because I was not perfectly.

 Q.  Were you relieved?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, it's good sometimes to be lucky.

 Q.  How did you make that decision in the first place in your singles match?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I knew before the match is going to be difficult.  After losing the first set, I know trying to win in four, five sets could be difficult for me and for my hamstring.  So I prefer to stop and try to play doubles, you know, 100%.

 Q.  You took that decision on your own?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, yeah.

 Q.  Can you describe what it feels like, the injury?  Might be a bit confusing for people that you pulled out of the singles only to play a bit later.

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I mean, it's like small tears.  It happens in French Open three weeks ago.  When I'm in an overstretch, it's painful.  Sometimes it's a little bit like pinches.

So, I mean, to run, to have a big run, it's difficult sometimes, especially when I'm on this side, the left side.  So when you have to do serve and volley first and second serve, it's dangerous.

So I prefer to pull out.  I mean, I can play doubles.  It's easier.  You play, I mean, halfcourt.  I knew today we have chance to win pretty fast.  So it was faster what I thought.

 Q.  Did you know for certain when you pulled out of the singles you would play in the doubles?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  No, no.  I knew I'm going to play doubles.

 Q.  Do you feel like that would let the fans down a little bit?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I didn't decide, you know, before the match if I'm going to play the full match or not.  It was painful couple times during the first set.  When I lost the first set, you know, in my mind I knew it's going to be difficult to win in four or five.

Even if I beat Andreas Seppi, I have not good chance to play the other match, the single match.

I prefer to stay focus in doubles.  I think I have more chances to win this tournament.  Sometimes you have to make the choice and today was difficult, but I decide to play doubles.

 Q.  Do you describe it as a sacrifice?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, of course, it's a sacrifice.  I think I can win the singles.  But with any damage, I don't know.

 Q.  Do you feel like you owe anything to the fans?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Is difficult for them to understand.  Sometimes it's difficult to see if I'm 100% good to play.  But today was too dangerous for my body and I don't want to take any risk.

You know, the season is long.  I promise, you know, if I can continue, I continue.  Is one of my favorite slams.  So I think I can play well here in Wimbledon.

So if I pull out, I mean, it means a lot for me.

 Q.  Apparently you had 31 withdrawals in your career while you were playing or just before you were playing.  31 is a lot.


 Q.  Not so many people have done.

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, but I'm 33 years old.  I start at 19.  So in 14 years I play singles and doubles 14 years in a row.  So, I mean, it's a lot.

In soccer, sometimes you don't play the match.  You say to the coach, I don't want to be on the football stadium and you stay on the bench.  Nobody cares.

Me, if I'm on the court, I want to be 100% sure.  Otherwise it's not good for me; it's not good for the fans.

 Q.  Can you do also the opposite way?  If you play doubles, you retire, play singles the next day?  Can you do it or not?  I remember a few years ago there were two doubles partners, one wanted to retire because he had to play singles the next day, it was the other one who was retiring.  There was a rule that didn't allow a few years ago to do the opposite.

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I mean, if your priority is to play singles, after you have to find the good way to make the retirement.  Most of the time, you know, when you play with the guy, with your partner, the partner should know what's going on.  If you agree to play, if you can take like a risk to play with a single player, so it can happen sometimes.

 Q.  Was there an economic element to the decision?  The prize money for the singles has gone up this year.  Did you feel you could get a bit more money from the doubles side of things?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I'm not playing for the money.  Not anymore.  I'm 33 years old.  I don't care about money.  I have enough in my account bank.  It's enough.

No, I play for title.

 Q.  Some people might not quite get then.  If you're playing for pride, titles, to win, it must be a difficult decision to pull out of a match.

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, you're right.  But sometimes you have to make some decision.  It was not easy.  But in my mind I think I have chances, you know, to win the doubles.  Not in singles like this.

So the choice is very easy.

 Q.  What did Nicolas say to you after the singles match?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  No, he was sad for me, for sure.  But I told him, you know, We have a goal here, so I don't want to take any risk.  It was not easy.  You know, you can think it's easy to pull out from the singles, but it's never easy to leave the court like this.

 Q.  Do you want to apologize to the spectators who were at your singles match and were hoping to see a full match?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I want to apologize for me.  It's my body.  If the fans don't understand I can leave the court.

 Q.  But then you go and play the doubles.

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Yeah, for sure it's not easy.

 Q.  You don't think you owe them an apology?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  Sorry for them.  I'm sure they want to see me play my match, but today was not enough for me to play with my body, so...

 Q.  Have you done this already another time or is the first time?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I think is the first time.

 Q.  What discussions did you have with Nicolas between the singles and the doubles?  Was there a game plan as to how you were going to cope with the injury?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  First, we knew we play Levinsky and Hajek.  They are not doubles specialists.  Second, Levinsky is the coach now, is coaching Lu.  We knew it's not easy, but we have chance to win in straight sets.

So that's why tomorrow normally it's raining, so we never know.  Two days off.  Sunday we're not playing, so maybe three.  So I have time to recover.  Also, for Nicolas, because Nicolas, physically it's tough for him.  So we take step by step and we'll see.

 Q.  There have been players who have been punished for not trying hard enough.  Are you worried this could be construed?

MICHAEL LLODRA:  I can make an MRI to show everybody what is my hamstring.  I have no problem with that.  If I have to prove, I can make MRI everywhere, on my knee, on my shoulder, on my elbow, and you will see something.  You have to believe the player.

I can understand it's difficult for the fans to realize or to understand my situation.  But it's like this.



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