Julien Benneteau, captain of the French Billie Jean King Cup team: “There are only good feelings”

“How has this French team’s training been since you arrived in Portel on Monday evening?
So far, so good. We received a very warm welcome at the Portel town hall, which confirms the enthusiasm we felt when we found out that we would organize the meeting in France. We saw it when we arrived, and it’s admirable for the girls and for me to feel real enthusiasm around this meeting, even if it’s just a point. We will be able to play in front of 3500 people and that is really a plus. The first rehearsals are going very well, we could only explore the room with nice surprises. By the way, it’s called “Cauldron”, it’s a small arena, and when I say “small” I don’t mean anything derogatory, on the contrary, people will be close to the pitch. The court is what we require, a fairly fast surface with fairly low rebound, only good waves at the moment.

“Sometimes you shouldn’t be afraid of words: there Caroline Garcia wrote a beautiful page in French tennis”

Among them is definitely Caroline Garcia’s Masters win last night in Fort Worth. How did you experience this final?
I admit I didn’t look, on the other hand I woke up very early, looked at my phone and saw “Sacred Garcia” on the L’Équipe app. It must be 5:30, I thought to myself “Cap…he did it!” » We are all impressed, this is another step on his list of accolades and especially his story. Winning the Masters is great. In France, only Amélie (Mauresmo) has done it for girls, never for men. This victory proves its place in the history of French tennis, we should not be afraid of words from time to time. There he wrote a beautiful page of French tennis. It’s remarkable, it’s admirable, and we can’t wait to personally congratulate it, embrace it, and celebrate it the way it should be, because it’s a huge win.

Did you contact him during the week?
Not during the week, but I spoke to him a little bit before, between Guadalajara and the Masters, here about the organizational and logistical aspects, the conditions of the meeting, the balls, the surface… We talked about his path. He realized that this qualification race between the US Open and the Masters strained him a bit, that he had difficulty placing himself because he had practically qualified, but he did not hide that it did not work out. He had to confirm with a win or two, and that’s normal, because the stakes were not what they used to be. After he qualified, there was a kind of relief, the counters were fixed: they are eight on the same line, and somewhere anyone can win, which implies a different style of play, already in a state of mind.

Between his need to heal, the excitement after such a big win, and his need to win the match, how will you manage his arrival in Portel?
There are many parameters to consider. He will arrive tomorrow (Thursday) around 1-2 o’clock until he lands and goes here. The first thing to do will be to talk to him, some of the staff, and me. To get his feelings, let me tell you how things are going in the team, how we did everything for the meeting. I think it will be an open and honest discussion. Obviously, there is confidence, level of play, physical freshness that we need to consider in knowing whether, when and how to make arbitrations. It will be done in consultation with everyone to make the best decisions. You have a Masters winner who is number 4 in the world, we want him to play.

“Kristina Mladenovic was not sure that she could properly prepare for the BJK Cup match”

Kristina Mladenovic will not play in the northern lands. How was his package decided?
After pulling out of the Nantes tournament after pulling out in Spain, Christina told us about recurring knee pain. He went to Italy for treatment with his medical team and then came to have his knee checked by our team. I think he didn’t feel right about the pain he went through to protect the colors of the French team. He was not sure if he could prepare properly for the BJK Cup match.

But the FFT medical staff gave the green light…
The staff felt that there really wasn’t any new injury, but that he had a real chronic injury in his knee that could be causing pain, the feel of which is unique to the player. We were both reassuring for him at first, but with him not being able to play ten days ago and the care protocol he was following requiring rest and a gentle recovery, the initial time, the time for the appointment, was very tight. »

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