What is "talent"? Gilles Simon talks about its nature in l'Équipe via Frédéric Bernès.
(In the piece, read talent as "talent" - me)
"Talent, no one knows what it is. They talked about it with me enormously until I was twenty-one, then when I got stronger I went over to the other side. When I qualified for the Australian Open and I'd beaten Berdych(2006), I was a genius. That's what Équipe wrote: 'Genius'. Me, I said: 'I'm 130th. in the world, I'm no genius.' In France, the word talent is associated with three things: having good hands - and as I have zero hands, I have no talent - technique - the impression of fluidity - and attacking. Basically, "flamboyance" is confused with talent. I often hear that Feliciano Lopez has talent and I piss on that. Ah Lopez the attacker ... No, Lopez is a defender. Everyone knows he's a baseliner who serves more than he volleys. He has the image of a gifted serve-and-volleyer. But I find the serve-and-volleyer is very often un-gifted. They guy hits a hard serve and moves up to volley because, for him, it's the easiest way to win a point.
"Me, I have zero hands but I have enormous talent. There are simply different talents, some more obvious than others. What's talent? When Richard (Gasquet) sends a backhand ten miles from the corner of the stands, they say talent. They're right. But when Rafa (Nadal) does the same with a forehand, they say it's strength, it's physical. Everyone agrees on Federer's talent, but Djokovic, pffft, they have trouble ... He has no great shot. Except you serve at him 275 kph and he takes it every time in the middle of the racquet. That's an incredible talent. If you ask Jan (De Witt, his coach) who has the most talent, Roger or Novak, he'll hesitate.
"Television distorts perceptions. People don't see what's so special about Kei Nishikori. He has the best two-handed backhand I've ever seen. He finds incredible angles but that doesn't make an impression. I often use the example of Mika (Llodra). He has an amazing volley and touch but he can't hit a correct forehand. Is he gifted? Safin had a patent on talent all his career, but when it came to hands, he was like me ... Ernests Gulbis, the same. He's talented, full stop. If he loses, it's because he doesn't feel like playing.
"In France, in the beginning, I had the impression that it was better to be less good, but with talent, that a Gulbis who's number 50 is more esteemed than a Ferrer who's 3. Now, I couldn't care less whether people see if I have talent or not ... I usually answer that my talent is my timing. It's weighing 70 kg. and hitting 50 winners against Rafa in Rome (last year). I hope he doesn't take this the wrong way, but when I see that they think that I have less talent than Jo (Tsonga), it's impressive. Jo hammers every shot. It's very forceful. Between us four, the one who has the most talent, it's Gaël (Monfils),"