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17 August 2012

Clement: "Our aim is to win Davis Cup again"


NEWS ARTICLE

Clement takes over from Forget

Arnaud Clement speaks to DavisCup.com at the start of his reign as the French captain. The 34-year-old took over from Guy Forget in June and his first tie in charge will be at the start of the new Davis Cup by BNP Paribas season in 2013.


On replacing Guy Forget as France’s Davis Cup captain...

Guy Forget was head of the French team for a very long time. He was a very good captain. I have a huge amount of respect and affection for him. So the next captain will be me. I haven’t tried to be Guy Forget. I have tried to project my personality and who I am into this role. I don’t compare myself with the great captain that Guy was.


On picking up advice from Guy Forget...

Yes, I have spoken to Guy in a very general way. I may well want to speak to him again sometime in the future as things develop. In any case, he always gave me very good advice when I was one of his players and he will always be able to offer valuable advice to the world of French tennis.


On France’s current crop of talent in the men’s game...

It’s true that we have a huge amount of good players. With Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, we are now in the Top 10. We also have three players in the Top 20, some very good doubles players and players capable of performing at a very high level on all surfaces. Our aim today, which we don’t try to hide, is to win the Davis Cup again. To do all we can to make it happen. It’s our main and only objective, being the team that we are today.


On stepping up to the captain’s role after being a player...

I think that it is winning that is important. It’s true that the role is going to completely change. For me it’s very important to like these players, to like this competition, the Davis Cup. It’s important to give everything that you can, all your energy, in order to achieve this goal. After that, there are different methods. Davis Cup involves managing a team, which is complicated. Things are constantly changing and depend on the players’ personalities. To be a good captain, I think it’s important to be able to adapt to the different situations that you face.


On his plans for the future...

My plans include already talking a lot with all the players on many subjects. To start in a more general way before anything more detailed. I am very lucky to have a lot of time ahead of me to prepare for the next match and that is something that gives me a lot of comfort.


On his Davis Cup playing career...

I had some really good moments in my Davis Cup career, particularly the semifinals against the USA in 2002.Playing on Centre Court at Roland Garros was also a great moment. Even if I didn’t play in the 2001 Final for which I was reserve, winning was an incredible and unforgettable moment. It was an experience that was shared between all of us.


On the differences between Davis Cup and tour events...

It’s true that it’s completely different. When we play for our career at tournaments, we are the only one involved. We are alone on the court. When we win or lose, it is only us that has won or lost. Here, we are in a team-based system, requiring three points to win a match. We play for our colleagues, our co-team members and also for our country. So it’s not at all the same thing. There is a lot more pressure. A lot more emotion is involved in winning just as there is in losing.


On the possibility of replicating American captain Jim Courier’s courtside dress code - i.e. wearing a suit...

No, there will be no suits for me! I wear one so rarely in life that I will definitely not be putting one on on the court!

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