Roland Garros

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Paris, France

Mayar Sherif

Press Conference

Ka. PLISKOVA/M. Sherif

6-7, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Two-part question. I'd like to know what it was like for you to play in a Grand Slam tournament, what feelings you had out there. Second question, I think that you have said before that you have been very much inspired by Mo Salah. I'd like to hear something about that, please.

MAYAR SHERIF: Honestly, it's been very good, such a good feeling to be here, to compete here, to compete out in the stadium of Philippe Chatrier today. It was amazing feeling. I cannot describe it. It just gave me so much energy.

I loved playing in the stadium. I loved having attention. I loved people being there, supporting. I enjoyed so much. I enjoyed the pressure moments.

I enjoyed all of it. I hope, I really hope to come back next year.

For Mo Salah, he's one of the best football players in the world, and to see someone very successful supporting other successful people in his country, it just gives you some energy just to know that there are good people out there and people who are already successful are willing to support you.

Q. Does it give you inspiration to see, even though it was a difficult loss, to see how well you performed against one of the world's best players on that stage? Does that inspire you a bit?

MAYAR SHERIF: I don't think I played my best. I think I could have done so many things much better.

But you know what? I'm out of here very positive, very excited to work harder, because I saw what the level is and I saw not playing my best how close I was to beat one of the best players in the world.

So just keep working harder. I still have such a huge margin to improve so that gives me more advantage, gives me more motivation. And I can't wait to get back on the court and practice and work harder, to get back and play at this level.

Q. A lot of people step on that center court for the first time and they feel intimidated, or even the huge space behind the baseline, the dimensions of that court are quite unique. I remember Safwat played on it for the first time he said it took him a set and a half to get used to it. Whereas with you, I didn't feel like you felt that way. Can you tell me how you managed that part of it? Why do you think you were able to control your nerves?

MAYAR SHERIF: Honestly, I just like went on the court. I was enjoying. I loved being out there.

This is really it. I felt like this is where I belong, on the big stadiums with attention, all the people out there. I felt great. I would love to play on one of those courts again.

I'm sure I will be back to play on them (smiling).

Q. You were so close to win this match against a top player, but what was incredible is that you didn't to feel any pressure. It was like a training for you?

MAYAR SHERIF: I mean, it wasn't training at all. You still have the mental part of beating such a good player. Winning a set, a tight set, of competing mentally, playing at the important moments, that was definitely not like practice. It was not even close.

But the thing is, yes, I was -- probably she had more pressure but also she has much more experience playing at those stadiums, just competing at a high level many more years than I do. That's why I think she was able to close it out.

But it wasn't that there was no pressure. There was the pressure of the match, and the pressure for me was to break that barrier to beat her, because it's either at the important moments you kill or you get killed. She did it at the third set, and that was the tough moment.

Q. If I'm correct, you have qualified to the Tokyo Olympic Games as the first Egyptian player; is that right?


Q. What does it mean for you, and what was your expectation for the Olympic Games?

MAYAR SHERIF: It means a lot for me competing here at a high level. It gets me prepared for the Olympics, because obviously at the Olympics it's gonna be a very high level.

So I hope I get to play many tournaments as big as this, and as high a level as this, to get me prepared to the Olympics.

Q. Following up on what you said about Mo helping so many people in Egypt, has he reached out to you at all, given you any advice, anything in particular how to cope with pressure on the big stage or is there anything you would like to ask him perhaps?

MAYAR SHERIF: I mean, not really. He hasn't reached out. I wish he would (smiling). That would be very, very nice.

But the thing I would ask him is how did he break the barrier of believing or being the first of doing something so big from Egypt as a person that comes from Egypt? How did he go through that? And how were the stages to get to the point to where he is now?

Q. We know that you studied a lot in the past, but are you determined right now to be focused only on tennis?

MAYAR SHERIF: Yes, I studied. It was very tough to keep studying with playing. So playing for me is focusing only on tennis. It's kind of easy, because I had it the hard way before, and I just give all my life to tennis. I'm 100% a tennis player. That gives me the chance to do the things the right way and just improve faster.

Q. The broadcast I was watching, they were talking a lot about your college days at Pepperdine. I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about some of the progression that you have made since you left school and become a professional. How have you evolved in growing your game as a player?

MAYAR SHERIF: Honestly, going out of Pepperdine, Pepperdine made me grow up as a person more than ever in my life. That made me grow as a tennis player. Because who you are as a person, it's gonna show on the court.

And coming out from there, I just needed to put quality on my tennis and get physical, get in shape through training, which is what I did with my coach. I struggled a little bit at the beginning to get everything together, but once I did, I won so many matches in a row.

And now it's just the time to get some experience and get some level, because I have only played for a year and a half finally. It's like coming out from juniors or something.

So I'm not going to be in a rush. I'm going to give myself time with the experience, and I think once I do, I will hit the big-time tennis.

Q. What kind of advice would you give expiring young Egyptian female players coming up through the ranks?

MAYAR SHERIF: I would tell them that they can do it with hard work, with talent, because we have so many talented players in Egypt. They just have to believe in themselves, and they have to follow the way, the right way to get to where they want.

There are many obstacles in Egypt that can stop a tennis player from, especially a female tennis player, from playing. They have to always believe, they have to always fight through this to get to where they want.

Q. Did you have yet some reactions from Egypt? Did the Egyptian Federation help you in the past in your progression, or does it help you now?

MAYAR SHERIF: Honestly, my federation and my Olympic committee has been helping me very much. Also the Ministry of Sports have been helping me, they have been trying to reach out to me all this period. They did reach out. They congratulate me. They are following me all the time. And thanks to all of them.

They gave me such a big push mentally. So, yeah, they are always there. I'm having a very big reaction from the Egyptian population, from my fans, from everybody in Egypt is just reacting to what I'm doing right now. That's giving me such a big push to continue and do my best to improve and get better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
101950-1-1063 2020-09-29 13:51:00 GMT

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