Gilles Simon recently expressed his surprise that people have questioned the on-court decision-making of 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.
Simon was appearing on a on the chat show "Major Talk" when he made a reference to the 2019 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Federer held two match points on his own serve at 8-7 in the fifth set of that match, but the Swiss failed to convert those opportunities and Djokovic bounced back to win 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3).
While fans and experts alike have repeatedly tried to analyze how Roger Federer could have played those match points differently, Simon believes that is a pointless exercise.
"I heard it so many times, 'Why didn’t he serve and volley against Novak when he had his two match points?'," Simon said. "We're not going to start questioning Roger Federer’s choices in the important moments, are we?"
Simon claimed that Roger Federer has played a certain way throughout his career, and that he executed the match points the way he did because he felt confident that that would win him the title.
"If anyone knows, it’s him," Simon added. "Federer doesn’t question it. He played his game. He's won a lot of Slams by doing this."
When it’s crunch time, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal are stronger than me and the others: Gilles Simon
During the show, Gilles Simon also claimed that the success of the Big 3 - Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - is largely down to their ability to play better under pressure.
Simon has played the game's three biggest active legends on several occasions in his career, but hasn't had much success. The Frenchman is 1-11 lifetime against Novak Djokovic, 1-8 against Rafael Nadal and 2-7 against Roger Federer.
The 36-year-old explained that while the skill difference between players on the ATP tour is not huge, the ones who win more are the ones who can bring out their best in the key moments.
"How many matches have I played against players that are 200 or 300? I feel we are playing the same," Simon said. "Then it comes to an important moment and I can maintain a level under pressure and it’s higher than him."
"And vice versa, when I play these guys, Novak Djokovic, I lose 6-4 or 7-5 in the third," the Frenchman added. "When we play each other we’re close but when it’s crunch time, what’s good about him is stronger than what’s good about me. So he finally wins. Same for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal."