This interview took place on the 5th September 2003 in Villenave d'Ornon.

Did you prepare in any special way for the 2002-2003 season ?
No, I did not do anything special for last season, the only change was that I had a different choreographer, Nikolaï Morozov. It was the Federation's idea, but I liked it. Besides, I want to continue to improve my technique and my ability, as much as the quality and consistency of my performance. Another aim of mine is to improve my interpretation mark, so that it is at least as high as the technical one.

Did you have specific goals for this season, keeping in mind the Olympics in 2006 ?
One of my goals was to become French Champion. I also wanted to have good results in the Grand Prix Series, and to win another European medal. To obtain a good result in the Olympics one must prepare well in advance...

How were your new programs received by the Federation and the judges at the Masters ?
People welcomed my new programs and the Federation really liked the work we had done on the choreography with Morozov. Of course there was still a lot to do regarding my expression, my gestures, but it was only the beginning of the season, and it takes several months to fully exploit a program.

Were you surprised by the withdrawal of Yagudin at Skate America ? Were you expecting to defeat Abt and to finish first ?
Alexei Yagudin seemed to me less consistent during the practices. He was also limping off ice. The surprise came during the short program when I beat Abt... and with another judge in my favour I would have been first, ahead of Yagudin ! For the long program I skated first... I performed my program and I defeated Abt again, so at the very worst I would have been second. Then Yagudin announced his withdrawal, so I was first !
To win a GP event is really great, but it's even better in the States where the audience is really supportive. They really appreciate the sport. After the short program, people came up to me when I was walking in the stands, and told me I should have beaten Yagudin as well.

What happened next at the Lalique Trophy ? Did you feel like a lack of motivation after your victory at Skate America ?
In fact I learnt a lot from the Lalique Trophy. First I won the short program ahead of Takeshi Honda ! However I drew the last place in the long program, and after the warm-up I made the mistake of staying too close to the camera, the rink, and the audience. I became really stressed and couldn't handle the pressure. But the experience taught me a lot and helped me for the World Championships. There was no lack of motivation after my victory at Skate America, in the other hand it was a real boost.

How did you feel after your victory at the French Nationals ? Did it feel like you had achieved one of your goals ?
Clearly, the technical level at the French Nationals is lower than at a GP event, but regarding the pressure, nothing can compare to that, it's really intense. You skate in front of your home crowd. You want to skate as well as you can, and it's the qualification for the Europeans. But it's true, it felt like a big achievement. I skated after Stanick and Frédéric, but this time I remained calm.

European Championships in Malmö ?
I had already won the bronze medal at Euros in 2002, so I wanted the same medal or better this time, and I knew silver was within reach. There were no qualifications, which was a good thing. I made a small mistake during the short program, but Plushenko did as well so I was still on track. The long program went well, even though the 6 minutes of warm-up were horrible and I was skating first in the group. Fortunately Véronique was there and she told me what I needed to hear, so I could remain focussed and win the silver medal overall.

How did you manage your practices during the Euros and the Worlds ?
Due to the good results I had had in the GP series, I qualified for the GP Final in Saint Petersburg. To skate two long programs and one short program was physically demanding, but it went OK. I think that I should have finished second overall, because Klimkin made 5 mistakes during his second free program. However the event was taking place in Russia, and the Russian skaters had the advantage of skating at home. But the audience appreciates the sport a lot and it was fabulous to skate in front of such a crowd.

World Championships ?
My objective for these World Championships was to get as close to the podium as possible. But the alarm in the hotel I was staying in started to ring during the night. I woke up but couldn't get back to sleep. I slept something like one and a half, two hours... and the practice was early in the morning ! Thinking about it I should have phoned Véronique and told her about the situation, but I didn't wanted to wake her up. So I got up early for the practice, and when qualifications started I just wanted to one thing : to be back in my bed !
Did you feel less pressure for the rest of the competition after you had nothing to lose ?
No, I really wanted proved to the judges that I had only had a bad day. I wanted to show them my true ability. I still managed to climb up 11 places, not bad ! Without the qualifications...

How was the French Tour "Les Etoiles de la Glace" ? What are your best and worst memories ?
I really appreciate the French Tour, because there is no stress. The season is over, and everybody is more relaxed. The best moment I have had this year was in Marseille where the audience was terrific. The worst gala for me was Clermont-Ferrand, not because of the audience, but because of the way I skated. I had lots of troubles with the ice, I tried a toe assisted jump in practice, and ended up leaving a big hole in the ice and almost spraining my ankle, it was quite scary. During my program I only did a single toe loop and a single Axel, my best jump of the evening was a triple Salchow. The other skaters elected me the 'weakest link' of the day ! It's a funny game we started in Clermont-Ferrand : after each gala the worst skater is elected by the other skaters, and after three nominations you have to do something silly, like cleaning the tour bus for example. Had we started the game before, Stanick would have been nominated in Lyon as he kept falling during his program. Gwendal was the most nominated skater, but Alban managed to be the weakest link twice in the same day. The guest skaters, like Stéphane Lambiel, also had their share.
After having been awarded the weakest link, the other skaters decided that a bit of water would do me good. We were in a restaurant, on the second floor. They siezed me and threw me in the swimming pool that was 3 meters below. I was obviously completely drenched and had to take my clothes off and cross the restaurant in underwear to go back to my room...

How were your practices this summer ?
After the French Tour, I took three weeks of vacation. I had some rest, and some thalassotherapy in Vendée. The last week of June I was back in Villenave d'Ornon to resume training. On the first of July I left for the States to work with Morozov. I had a first choice of music for my long program with me, based on the 'Moulin Rouge', but Morozov thought it was not my style. We tried something based on the 'Cirque du Soleil', but that was still not it. Finally we agreed on the 'Matrix'. I've wanted to use this music for ages. We worked on the choreography for a week, I recorded everything in my head. It's not always easy because Nikolaï listens to the music, tries some steps, changes the parts that don't work, tries again, and finally tells you : 'OK, your turn'. But this year was the second time that I worked with him, so we knew each other better and things were easier.
Do you have new elements in your programs ?
This year there will be two quadruple toe and one quadruple Salchow in my free program. I also worked hard to improve my artistic impression.
Then in July I came back to France and went to train with Véronique in Courchevel. It's the place where the Champigny team trains, as well as international skaters like the Italians. Every day I had three 50 minute practices, and 30 extra minutes where I was working on the spins with Mrs Bullman. She helped me understand several things about the spins. During my free time I went hiking a bit, but there are not a lot of great things to do in Courchevel in the summertime.
In August I was back in Poitiers. It was the first time the rink was open during the summer. Vincent Restencourt and Jean-Michel Debay also came to train there. The first week the ice was not perfect because of the heat wave, but afterwards it was great. On the other hand it was really difficult for me to wake up in the morning, because it was so hot I could only get to sleep around 3am, and I had to get up at 6h30 to close the window to prevent the sun from coming in...

You are keeping your short program from last year, is it to focus mainly on your free program ?
I decided to keep last year's short program because it's a program I like. I have had lots of good response with it. Even though most of the work I 've done this summer was on the long program, I also worked on the artistry of the short program. To change it completely would have mean too much work. Next year I 'll change both programs.

Did you work the other quadruples ?
I now have a quadruple Salchow in my free program. I may not be doing it at the beginning of the season, but I will add it later on. The quad toe is really consistent, about 90-95% of the time. The quad flip and quad Lutz are doing great, I land them backward on one foot, sometimes with one quarter of turn short, but they will come if I keep working on them.

What are your goals this year ?
I 'd like to keep my French title and have good results during the GP series to qualify for the GP Final. We'll see then what happens...

How are your studies going ?
This year I should have done my 'baccalauréat de français', but it was too much with my skating. For now I'm focussing on my skating only, and do my bac later. In addition, as an athlete I can still enter the sports university, even without my bac.

Do you have a message for you fans ?
I would like to thank them all for their support, it's really great to receive their letters and their emails. I would like to apologise if it sometimes takes me some time to answer them due to my schedule.