Lucas Pouille, who has reached the semifinals in Monte Carlo, says practicing with Roger Federer has helped the Frenchman a lot.
The 23-year-old Pouille is currently ranked No. 17, and in 2016 he reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, as well as the semifinals in Rome.
Federer, an 18-time Grand Slam champion, likes to practice with younger players, and he trained with Pouille during the offseason in Dubai, where they are both based.
“Things went very well,” Pouille rold reporters in Monte Carlo. “I practiced with him a number of times, sometimes for long sessions. We were playing tennis and doing physical training. Every time you are on the court with him, you learn things. He's always trying to improve something."
At the time, Federer was getting back into training following a long layoff because of a knee injury. The sessions came with a few valuable conversations, which the younger player took a lot from.
"We had talks about the way he managed his career, what [Federer] did during those six months,” he said. “For me, not playing tennis for six months seems extremely long. So I'm learning a lot every time with him. Being on the court with him teaches me a lot. I'm really lucky to be able to have those trainings with him.”
Federer is currently taking another break, and will not play until the French Open next month—or even later.
Pouille added that while Federer makes a tremendous amount of money—both on the court and off—he isn’t ready for that level of fan and sponsor attention yet.
“It's important to build your image,” Pouille said. “But where you build your image is mostly on the court. Whatever image I have, if I don't win a single match, it's not going to be very useful. You can talk about other things. But the most important thing is what happens on the court. The rest will come along with it.”