In a press conference at the Monte Carlo Masters, Gilles Simon recalled the 2009 French Open when Rafael Nadal lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round and Roger Federer went on to achieve the Career Grand Slam by defeating the Swede in a straight-set final.
"I have two main memories. First -- well, three main memories. Well, when Rafa lost against Robin. This was something extremely important. It was important then, and then we saw how important this was afterward. Because the following years confirmed that when he was around, things were more difficult.
So this huge performance of Robin, that was memory No. 1, it came out of nowhere. Then he won afterward against Tommy Haas and the match was really bad for him, he was very stressed. We could see little signs when he was overtaken by his opponent.
He was losing two sets. And then that huge shot down the line that manages to fall into the court, amazing. And many other points, but that point I remember very well because I think that was "the" point for the tournament, because he could have finished there.
Then he started getting confidence. And then semifinals against Del Potro, that was important because that was the first time I saw him changing tactics. I think that beforehand, he wanted to play his own tennis and win with his own tennis, but that was the first time I saw him changing tactics with lots of drop shots.
And he had to change tactics, because probably he may have lost. So that Roland Garros in 2009 was very eventful. When I was watching that final, I had the impression that he had already won even before actually playing the match.
And I think the day before, he sort of predicted that when he finished his match when he was asked about the final against Robin, he said that that final with Robin was going to be great because he had great statistics against him.
I had the impression that he knew he was going to win. Sometimes there are all the ingredients there, and it's just a little something that makes you win. So I'm not sure whether it was out of his own conviction that he won against Tommy Haas, and then he was playing not very well and all of a sudden a great shot, and then he turned around the match.
Then he started smiling. And then he won against Del Potro and he won. So the final itself I had the impression that it was somehow sort of obvious. This is what I mean when I say that I had the impression that he had won the final before actually playing the final."