Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: That is the Best Match I Have Played [Video]
by Tom Gainey | August 12th, 2011, 9:34 am

Calling it the best match he has played, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga upset Roger Federer again in Montreal last night.

Here is his post-match presser and above are the match highlights:

Q. What lessons do you draw from the big victories over Federer that you would like to apply more often to other players in the top five?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: You know, just keep the way I play, just be aggressive all the time, take the control early in the point. That’s it.

Q. Do you see any particular aspects of Federer’s game that have changed over the past couple of years that have made it easier for you to take advantage of any weaknesses? Any decline in his game?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Not really. Not really.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Among the three victories you had against Federer, this one seems the most controlled one.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes, I think so also. That is the match I played best. I really played good tonight. I was opportunistic. I didn’t miss any opportunities I had. I was able to break before he did. I’m very happy the way I won this match.
I’m happy now to be in the quarterfinals. It was a tough draw to have Federer in the Round of 16. I’m going to rest and hope to play a good match tomorrow.

Q. You said that playing against Federer will bring you down to earth, but you brought him back to reality. He seems less impressive to you?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: No. But all the players keep improving. The competition is becoming tougher. Today I believe that no player can be spared. Look at Rafa who lost, and Murray. The only one remaining above everybody else is Djokovic.
But during the past weeks, the tournaments are much more open.

Q. Does that give you some ideas?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes. I’m preparing myself. I improve every day. I’m not surprised with my level of game today because I’ve been working hard.

Q. What do you have to do mentally to play against him like you did? In the key moments, do you have to really believe in your chances? He said you were particularly confident lately.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, little by little we end up learning how to control those important moments. There’s nothing special I worked on. And if those players are at that level, it is not a coincidence. They are able to remain focused and to never lose sight of their purpose.
In the second set when I was broken, I decided it was useless to run around and pick up all the balls. I just tried to play my aggressive game. I think this disturbed him a little.

Q. So you said you learn from the players. Did you learn from him?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: I learn from all of the better players against whom I was able to play. The day I will stop learning is the day when I will stop playing tennis.

Q. We talk a lot about your forehand and your serve, but your backhand is becoming an important shot for you. You hit some good ones today.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, during the past month or years I’ve been improving my backhand. And people talk about my forehand and my serve, but on my backhand I rarely make mistakes and I’m able to surprise the opponent. It is a good shot to complement my game so I can keep up with long rallies if I need to.

Q. Almagro doesn’t like Tsonga.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: I hope so (smiling).

Q. Is it more comfortable for you knowing you have a psychological advantage?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: No, because any good streaks are bound to stop sometime. If I want to win tomorrow, I’ll have to come with a very tough mind but be humble at the same time and try to play my best.

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3 Comments for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: That is the Best Match I Have Played [Video]

jane Says:

Looks like Jo played some amazing tennis in that final set. And that forehand winner in the first set tiebreak was a cracker. Sigh, I just don’t know if I like Tsonga’s “me” dance anymore. The crowd definitely loves it though.

Love listening to laMonf; he finished very well versus Troicki. He could be dangerous today for Nole, but you never know with Gael. He could also be not-so-good.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Jane, I would also love to get behind Tsonga: his game is spectacular, his interviews are intelligent and non-cliched. But that Me dance!

grendel Says:

I don’t like the dance thing. It seems contrived. And that’s toe-curling given that it is supposed to convey spontaneity. Personally, I switch off.

Tsonga is properly spontaneous in the course of the match. When he’s annoyed with himself, he lets you and everyone else know – actually, I think this helps him to focus, because he gets the crap out of his system. And then he’s ready to go.

Now some people – Dodig for instance – are quite passive and seem to have no trouble getting on with it regardless of the situation. They don’t seem to carry baggage from point to point.

But I’m not sure Federer is passive, I think he just makes a show of it, like Borg. I wonder if that really helps him. Those amazing shanks when he was first broken in the 3rd set, surely that was due to a fall in concentration. It’s difficult to tell, just looking at him. But it may be that a little more animation might give him that little jolt he needs every now and again.

Back to Tsonga, I am impressed by his mien these days, which is fairly calm (and not pretend calm) and purposeful. You can’t put this on, of course. You can’t say: today, I shall be fairly calm (and not pretend calm) and purposeful. It seems to arise from confidence. But where does confidence come from? It comes from being fairly calm (and not pretend calm) and purposeful.

Now, wait a minute…

Cause and effect and which is which always was the stuff of nightmares. In this case, they seem to be intertwined and have the effect of reinforcing each other.

I think Tsonga’s interview, too, reflects this new composure. He seems to know where he is at and what he needs to do. And one guesses he keeps that simple – he’s without a coach, which may be a good thing for him. He really doesn’t need to play according to a preconceived plan with all sorts of complicated instructions. His knowledge is based upon experience and athletic intuition. He has really matured into something very formidable.

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