Gilles Simon is now one of the veterans of the men's circuit and has had the opportunity to compete with the Big 3 - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - on numerous occasions. Although he often managed to put them in trouble, his loot is rather meager against the three sacred monsters, winners of 57 Grand Slams overall from 2003 to today.
In a long interview with Tennis Majors, the transalpine focused above all on Nadal's ability to successfully emerge from the most uncomfortable situations. 'Gillou', who recently published his first book, explained how the 34-year-old Spaniard tends to resort to tried and tested schemes when he is at a disadvantage during a match.
In particular, the 20-time Grand Slam champion increases his intensity level and begins to urge his opponent's backhand thanks to his irresistible left-handed forehand. Simon faced the former world number 1 nine times on the ATP tour, scoring only one victory over Madrid indoor hardcourt back in 2008.
Simon praises Rafael Nadal
"Rafael Nadal starts from what works when things aren't going well - 'I'm gonna put a lot of intensity in my forehand range on the backhand side of the other. And I'm gonna be around a lot by putting energy into it.
And from there, I'm gonna (proceed). I'm validating that first, that it's my thing'," Gilles Simon said. "If his life depends on one point, he's gonna play that (way)," continued the Frenchman.
"That's what's so special about him, and then you see the construction. Then he will play longer, and sometimes he comes forward etc." Gilles Simon further claimed that Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have unparalleled confidence levels, arising out of their continuous success on tour.
But Simon also pointed out that at the end of the day, the Big 3 are simply better players than the rest of the field. "First I think that they naturally have a high level of confidence because they win all the time," added Simon.
"When you played youth competitions you increased your level by winning three or four matches in a row. Tour's life is so different. Second, they are overall stronger (at tennis)." The 34-year-old Spaniard has always kept his wits about him in matters that affect the people.
Moreover, Nadal has a different way of going about when it comes to helping fellow players, and he does not appreciate such things going out in the open. “The calls we make to help the most disadvantaged players, some of us don’t need or want to advertise it,” the Spaniard said.
Nonetheless, it is the start of a new season that is on everyone’s mind. On Friday, the players in Adelaide will play an exhibition match before they leave for Melbourne.