Frenchman third first-time winner this season

#NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils became the youngest tour-level champion of the season on Saturday when he captured his first title at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon.

The 18-year-old, who is up to third in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race, caught up with following his breakthrough at the ATP 250 clay-court event.

What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
I'm really happy. It's been a great week for me in France with the home crowd so I'm really happy with the win.

How does it feel to win on home soil in Lyon?
It's great. During the semi-final, the crowd was amazing. It helped me a lot, I am so happy to play here.

How did you handle the occasion today?
I was trying just to keep my energy up because yesterday my match was long so I was trying my best and was trying to serve well because when we're in the points, Cerundolo has got a great forehand. I tried to serve well and make every return I could, so I'm happy with this one.

Who are the people in your life who helped you to get this far in your career?
My family first because they're here from the start and there is my coach of course, who helped me. He helped me and I'm happy and I want to say thanks to them.

You are now up to third in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race. How big of a goal is it to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals this season?
It would be really great. There are great players at the event every year. I'm trying my best to get there.

Countrymen Luca Van Assche and Arthur Cazaux are also coming through at the moment. What do you think that says about French tennis at the moment?
French tennis is always in a good place. With Luca and Arthur it is amazing because we are training together and then when we are looking at each other it is amazing from where we were when growing up and now we are here.

You are set to crack the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. How does that feel?
I'm happy but it does not mean a lot because I am looking for more. But it is great and I will keep trying my best to reach higher.

What's your biggest interest outside of tennis?
I would say going out with my friends and listening to music and playing some football.

How will you celebrate?
I'm going to take the train to Paris today, so I will celebrate during the train journey.