Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Interview - French Open, May 26

Posted on May 26, 2010

Jo Wilfried Tsonga Interview
French Open
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Q. Are you not ashamed of what you did to your friend?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, no. I would have rather played somebody else and win this way, but it's the way it is. That's the tournament.
It's the way it is. However, I have to continue in the tournament.

Q. I felt your shots were really pure. You could hit strongly, and therefore he was immediately defeated due to the quality of your shots.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, this is part of my objectives for this match. I thought I have to start playing with a lot of intensity and I have to grab him at the throat. I didn't want him to do too much, and frankly, it was a good start from my side. I think this weighed a lot on the whole match.

Q. The conditions were different compared with the first day. It was heavier. Yet you were hitting the balls better.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, yes. When the weather is like this, it's not bad for me, either, because I have time enough to think about how I want to shoot the balls. When it's very warm, the ball flies a lot. You control it less and I hit very strongly, and therefore it's more difficult for me.
Now, this being said, this is it. I won in the sun but also when the weather conditions are heavier. I hope it will continue with each and every single match.

Q. Is it important to have a very short match compared with a long match? It's a good balance so that you have more time off.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, yes. Of course it's always a good thing not to stay too long on the court.
Well, today I think I could have played at least four or five hours, easily. But this is it. It's going to continue. Next time I will be ready to play four or five hours if necessary.

Q. Have you ever been thinking about the opponent when it was 0 and 1? Were you thinking about him, or did you feel like...

Q. Were you very focused and you thought you have to remain focused throughout?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes, throughout. I didn't even think about my opponent. No, when I was on the court, it was to play and win; that's all.

Q. I had the impression that when it was 2 0 and Love 40 on your serve, you hammered him. That's when there was a turnaround in the match. You killed him at that moment.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, yes. And after this I even played better, a notch up. I was back from this difficult situation, you know, and then I played even better, as I said, and this probably discouraged him for the first set.
Then I continued on the same tracks, and it was tougher for him.

Q. Do you think that psychologically the match was very important?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, yes. It counts a lot for this type of match. It's never easy to play against someone you like. Therefore, yes, psychology counts a lot on the final result.

Q. When you served, you were about to win the match, it started raining. Do you think about a possible interruption?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, yes, I thought I have to finish immediately before it starts raining, but then I didn't want to rush, because otherwise he could have broken back, because I was so much in a hurry, so this would get on my nerves and we're going to have to stop and start again after the rain. So, no, I took my time and I did the job I had to do.

Q. I read somewhere that you've been physically training, you were physically totally ready, you no longer have the backache. How do you feel? Do you have any aches at all? The fact that you rested before Roland Garros, wouldn't you say it was better because you feel fitter today?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, when I practiced and when I trained, I didn't think I would hurt my back, but at last I could take a rest. And I had played a lot with the American tournament and then a lot of matches on clay.
So for me, to rest for a while was probably something good. I could do something else. I was back to another type of life. After this, I had time enough to practice before Roland Garros. I took advantage of this. I think I'm totally fit.

Q. Next round you're going to play against Garcia Lopez or De Bakker. You lost to De Bakker in Barcelona, and also Garcia Lopez in Madrid. Okay, twice defeated. This can help you because you know what to expect.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes, I know what to expect, and I have a revenge to win. If it's one or the other, I have to play well, because both of them play well. De Bakker plays perhaps even better than Garcia Lopez.
I don't know who has won. Are they playing now or not? One set all, okay. I'd rather play against Garcia Lopez, probably, because De Bakker, I think he plays really well.
Now, as I said before, I have to take my revenge from both of them. When I'm on the court, I can tell you I'll be looking for it, to take my revenge. I'll fight on all the points.

Q. You said Sunday, so that's three days, it's no longer the Grand Slam type of pace. Was that a problem for you or not for you?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: No, the problem for me was to play on a Sunday. I didn't want to play on a Sunday. I had calculated everything to play on Monday or Tuesday, say, but the fact that I played on Sunday was a bit puzzling for me.
When I practiced, when I trained, it was supposed to be a day off normally. I was not supposed to play a match. So how can I say? I had not anticipated this. I was not really physically well or fit on Sunday.
But then, you know, it's also positive because I played five sets, so I could practice even longer, and everything fell nicely into place and I feel really good today.

Q. Do you have the impression that there's loads of expectations on you this year, or if you look at Aravane's results or GaŽl played semis and quarterfinals in the past two years, that people are waiting for you, but they're waiting for other French players and therefore you have more freedom?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, yes, of course. In any case, I've never played the finals here. I've never won, either.
So I'm far from being the best player here with the best results, so it's quite normal for me not to be the player in which people have the best expectations.
I'm French No. 1, okay, but no big deal. It doesn't make any difference. I'm still learning on the tournament. I'm a young chick, if I could say, on the tournament. But it's good because I'm an outsider and I can therefore try and aim for excellent performances.

Q. I have a recreational question to ask, if I can say. There are several players that are very active on Twitter, and from what I saw, it's not really your case. You have some messages, but what do you think about Twitter? A new communication tool.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Twitter, let me see. I don't really know Twitter. Well, I don't know Twitter at all. This is all I can say. I don't know. I don't know what you're talking about.

Q. So you didn't want to play on Sunday? So you're surprised, I suppose. You're French No. 1, we're in France, this is a French tournament and an important one. Were you surprised? Did it get on your nerves to be imposed to play on a Sunday?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: I expected this question, to tell you what I think about this. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed because I was playing on a Sunday. I had asked not to play on a Sunday, absolutely, because I had practiced in such a way that I thought I wanted to play on a Monday or Tuesday, to be totally fit.
But they imposed it on me. I had to play on a Sunday. I have to accept the rules. This is the game and this is it.
Now, if you're world No. 80 and you're not that important in the hierarchy, if I can say, loads of things are imposed on you in this case. What really bothered me is that, you know, if you look at Murray, if he decides on a day or hour at Wimbledon, nobody's going to impose anything on him.
For Federer in his country it's the same. In the U.S. I suppose it's the tame thing for the best American players. I think that Lleyton probably plays in the sun during the Australian Open because he loves the sun and other opponents don't like the sun. He wants to play in the sun.
Today we're in France. I'm French. I'm French No. 1. I would have thought it was legitimate for me to be listened to, that I would be given a choice. They should listen to me when I wanted to play or start.
But I accepted the rules, and that's all. I'm disappointed. That's true, because I expected a bit more from the organization and the rest, but this is the way it is. I mean, had I lost on Sunday because I was not feeling good, then many people would have been disappointed. This would have been a bit silly, I think.
But it wasn't the case, so I'm here, and I'm fit. I'm ready to play. This story will continue, and that's the end of the story.

Q. Is it a lesson for you? Will it not change your behavior vis a vis number of top managers to be firmer and to behave like someone who's got nerves?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: No, no, because I'm quite open, and organizer or not, my job is to play tennis. Sometimes there are unforeseen events, so we have to adapt. But what I expected from them is to listen to me a little.
But, you know, sometimes it's this thing here, that thing there. You know, during Davis Cups you don't necessarily play in the towns you would like to play in. I'm French No. 1. I can't really decide when I'm going to start the tournament, which is at home.
So, you know, all these little details which sometimes can be quite annoying, sometimes we complain because we don't have enough good French players, but sometimes we're not given the best conditions. I think it's a bit of a pity.

Q. I'd like to say something about your match and Josselin. You are friends. Okay. Are you disappointed about his game? Do you think he can still be in the top players?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: I think he can be an excellent player, that's true. But I think that for him what he misses is perhaps still a few steps to go through, a few steps; I mean, to be more regular or consistent, to be qualified more often during the big tournaments, and not to ask too many questions about himself, because he's 24. He's going to go quickly. He's got to go for it.

Q. What disappointed you about him during the match? I mean, what were his weaknesses? Is there something special?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Hmm, don't know. Maybe physically. I would have tried more, physically speaking. If I knew I was to lose, I would have done this. I couldn't give him too many advice, either, because he could have beaten me severely, as well, today.