May 18, 2012
With the help of Adidas, we recently had the opportunity to field some questions to world No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the video link below.
Reaching the quarterfinal round or better of six ATP World Tour events this year, Tsonga revealed his secrets toward breaking a top four ranking, who his toughest rival has been on Tour, and which player has the best dance moves off the court.
June 22, 2010
Q. I take it you dragged yourself away from the television, or you cannot bear to watch what’s going on on the soccer field.
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah. And?
Q. Would you rather be watching the French game now?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: No, no. I’m here.
Q. But was it difficult to come here now rather than…
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: No. It’s not a problem. It’s okay.
Q. Okay. We’ll talk tennis then.
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: We’ll talk tennis.
Q. Does your performance today give you a lot of confidence?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah. Yeah, because Robert is a very good player. I knew before the match it would be difficult, and it was.
So I’m really happy to win today.
Q. It looked hard work for you out there. Was it hard to get a read on his serve?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, on his serve, because this is his best shot. He served unbelievable and I didn’t return a lot, but enough to win this match. It’s good.
Q. How confident are you coming into Wimbledon? You’ve saved your best slam performances for Australia so far.
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I only played two times here, so for me it’s the third one. You know, I’m new on this surface, so maybe I can do something good.
Because the first one I did the fourth round; last year the third. So maybe I can do better.
Q. Is it a learning curve on grass for you?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah. We can call it like this, yeah.
Q. Do you think you have the all?round game to challenge the Federers…
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah.
Q. And are you now injury?free given what happened in…
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: No, now I’m better. I’m healthy. Everything is okay. So I hope I will continue like this.
Q. What exactly what the problem?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Problem with my psoas. (Through translation.) Tear in the psoas muscle.
Q. And that’s now no problem?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: No.
May 28, 2010
Q. You felt quite a lot of emotion at the end of the match. Is there any particular reason? Is it a special game for you? Special match for you.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Emotion, yes, because I suffered a lot during this match. It was hard.
All along the match I was trying to think about something else than the pain I was feeling. So that’s why.
Q. How can you play beyond the pain?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, by telling yourself it doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt. Every 10 seconds you go, It doesn’t hurt. I’ll go for it. It doesn’t hurt.
I knew this was something that couldn’t go worse, so there was no reason for me to quit. But it was painful, and it was difficult when I had to change direction, when he was getting me wrong footed. When I had to move from one side to the other I had difficulties especially on my forehand.
But then I fought, and at the end of the day, it made the difference because I think he also had difficult matches before. He had slightly less experience, and I think, well, he couldn’t make it at the end.
Q. Had you lost the second set, did you feel you had the strength to come back had you been two sets down?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: I would have fought till the end, whatever. The day I quit, it’s just because it’s impossible, a bit like in Madrid when I just couldn’t play. I couldn’t.
There it was painful, but I knew it couldn’t get any worse; whereas in Madrid I knew I had this problem with my back, and I knew if I had to make some movements, it would have taken me more time to recover.
Q. This match was a bit the competition of the most beautiful dropshot. We had lots of beautiful dropshots.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, Thiemo does play a lot of dropshots, and sometimes you have counterdropshots. In a five set match, dropshots are part of the game, because it makes the other run.
It wears you out really. After the 15th dropshot you’re worn out. But I knew I would be present. I wouldn’t give up. So I did what I could, and I started playing dropshots and thinking, Well, if he starts getting tired, then I can take the lead because I can’t be all that punchy today.
Q. You said that this muscle problem is more linked to the stress.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes. Well, it’s a muscle problem which is linked to stress, but it’s a muscle problem.
Q. Will it be manageable for Sunday?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes, it’s not because I was tired. I think it was more because well, I was a bit nervous, and when you’re a bit nervous, it makes things a bit worse.
Well, then, yeah, it was a bit of a difficulty of a handicap for me. But it’s a muscle issue. When it’s just that, you can take a rest, it’s gonna be okay.
Q. But today is Friday night. You are the last French player in the draw. What’s your comment? Because, well, it’s a bit of a habit, you being the last one left. This time it’s a bit early.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: What do I feel about it? Well, it’s sad. It’s sad the others didn’t make it. I was sad seeing Richard losing, because I had made a bet. I thought he would make it here.
As for Gaël yesterday, it was a bit difficult. It was hard. He never managed to really be back in the match after they had to stop because of the night.
So for him it’s a shame, as well. Well, I’m doing my job, and I hope I’ll be even better for the next round.
Q. When did you start feeling that pain?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: End of the second set, 5 All. Eric says it’s on a dropshot. I started sliding, and maybe that’s when it happened. I don’t know. But I started feeling it at the end, and you know, it became more intense.
At the beginning it really it was just very little nagging me. Then little by little it started hurting and being very painful.
Q. Wasn’t it also something that helped you relax?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, yes. It was a blessing in disguise, because instead of thinking of all the points I had in my racquet and never scored, I was focusing on my pain. That’s what made it possible for me to stop thinking too much and be back in the match.
Q. Is this why you were more offensive on the third and fourth set, because you were trying to play shorter rallies?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes, because as I couldn’t run that much with my leg, I started trying to manage the game, impose my game, be the master on the court.
Yes, it was relaxing at the end because I played better than when I was in totally good shape.
Then I think Thiemo also started to feel a bit tired, because at the beginning he would hit his ball much stronger. At the end, I was okay.
Q. Before you had this pain during the first set you were shaking your left wrist. What does it mean?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, sometimes I would block my wrist, the left wrist. I don’t know why, because I don’t use it that much except for my backhand. But sometimes it’s a bit painful and I shake it. It goes away.
Q. So it’s a small pain that comes and goes, but it’s not linked to tension or stress?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, it’s probably linked to stress, but I don’t control everything. So, you know, it sometimes happens.
Some players would cramp because of stress. Others feel pain. That’s the way it is.
Q. What’s your schedule for tomorrow, to be at the top on Sunday against Troicki or Youzhny?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Hey, that’s my secret. I can’t tell you everything, otherwise everybody would do the same. But it’s going to be rest, mostly.
Q. Are you going to ask the organizers to schedule you as late as possible?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: No, not particularly, because I’ll be ready to play on Sunday.
And anyway, I know I won’t be playing before 11:00 in the morning.
Courtesy of ASAP.
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…
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: No, no, no.
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 Gaël 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.
Courtesy of ASAP.
April 15, 2010
J. TSONGA/N. Almagro
An interview with: JO WILFRIED TSONGA
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French for Jo.
Q. What mark would you give yourself for that match?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Not the best one because you can always do better. I would say I passed cum laude. In fact, it was not an easy draw for my first match on clay. He’s an excellent player.
Q. How did you feel during the first games?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: It was not easy for that first match. He played a bit more than me on that surface.
However, this year I found I’m adapting pretty quickly. Just a little while to get used to it and off I went.
Q. A first win for your first participation here. Does that mean you are having a good start?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: It’s always good to win. It’s good for your confidence, especially against a player like him.
Q. There are prospects of you having to struggle against many Spaniards in this tournament. Does that scare you?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: No. Even though I know they are very good players, they won it all like Nadal or Ferrero, I know it’s going to be difficult. But precisely this will help with my motivation.
Q. Did you feel solid on the court?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Yes, I was solid. Sometimes I felt he was a bit affected by my good play.
Q. What did you do well today?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: I played solid. I had good forehands, good backhands. I was able to stop him from being too aggressive against me. I didn’t give away any points.
This is good when you are able to make the opponent feel you are never going to make the mistake.
Q. How about your serve percentage? Not very high.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: No. But on clay, it’s different because the surface is slippery, and therefore you need more time to adapt. I tried to mix it up a lot, more than on hard courts. The game on clay court is different from hard courts.
Q. Is Ferrero going to be more difficult to beat or, on the contrary, is he less powerful?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: I don’t know. I never played on clay against him. But I know already that on hard courts he’s a tough player. It’s difficult to stop him. He makes you run right and left a lot. I can imagine what it’s going to be like on clay. We’ll see.
I will try to play hard to push him back.
Q. You broke him at 5 4 and then he broke you back. What happened?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: I had a bit less luck and also my serve was just let several times. They would have been aces if they hadn’t been lets. There were also a couple of bad bounces.
At that stage he didn’t make any errors. On the last point, for example, I attacked, but maybe not hard enough, and he hit a passing shot that was just a let, so bad luck. It doesn’t take much. Just me being a bit more tense, him playing slightly better, and a bit of luck, then you can’t finish off the match.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
January 29, 2010
R. Federer d. J-W. Tsonga 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Were you fully fit tonight? You grabbed at your stomach a couple of times. Did your stomach give you problems?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: No, no. I was just a bit more tired after the first set. And, yeah, it was tough to play against him today. He was really good, and that’s it.
Q. Were you tired because of the previous two five?setters you’ve had?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, of course. Yeah, because of my tournament, that’s it.
Q. Federer was pretty awesome out there tonight, wasn’t he?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, he was good. He was good.
Q. What did you think of his game?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: He took the ball earlier than me, and he was just better than me today.
Q. What did you learn from the game? Did you learn anything from it that you’ve got to do in the future?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I learned maybe I have to play better. That’s it (smiling).
Q. Were you surprised by how good he was tonight?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, yeah, a bit.
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Why I’m surprise? I don’t know. Because, you know, sometimes you play a guy and the guy play well, but not so good. And sometimes you play against him again and he play just unbelievable.
You know, each day is different, and today he was really good.
Q. Do you think you can play better against him next time?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Maybe. Certainly.
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Maybe be more aggressive, yeah.
Q. What was wrong with your game tonight?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: What was wrong? My serve. I think I was at 50 or 55% of first serve. My speed serve also. And also I miss some volley at the beginning of the match, and after that was tough, no?
Q. Were you mentally exhausted, as well?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Not really.
Q. If Roger plays like that, do you think anyone can beat him?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: I think nobody.
Q. What were your tactics before the game to try to counteract Roger?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: First to play, that’s it, you know. Just enter in the match with offensive mind. That’s it.
Q. What do you think Andy Murray could do to stop Roger Federer on Sunday?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Q. Do you have any advice for him?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Advice? Be ready to run maybe (smiling).
Q. How do you rank yourself now? You were a finalist two years ago. Are you a better player now?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: I don’t know if I’m better, but I’m more consistent, for sure.
Q. So you’re reasonably happy with this tournament, the way it went?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I mean, it’s okay. I did a good tournament. I beat some good player. I played two five?set match. It was the first time for me.
So it’s more experience for me. I think it’s good, even if I lose in semi. But next time I will try to do better.
Q. The Australian Open is your best Grand Slam. Why do you like playing here?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: I don’t know. Maybe a bit the surface, and also because I played my best tournament here. It was also one of the first Grand Slam I played. Before 2009, I played only — 2008, sorry — I played only two, so that’s it.
January 25, 2010
Interview courtesy of AustralianOpen.com.
J-W. Tsonga d. N. Almagro 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-7(6), 9-7.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How did you enjoy your first five?set match?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Good. It was good. Good to win in five sets, first time for me. You know, like tennis — when you win your first five?set match, you’re happy.
Q. You won the first two sets. What happened after that? Did he play better?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: After that, I missed some occasion, and after that, he begin to believe in himself, you know.
He played just unbelievable, and it was just tough, you know, to play against him at this moment because he hit the ball very hard, and it was tough.
Q. What was going through your mind when you started the fifth set? Did you feel good?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Cool, I will play a fifth-set match. Yeah.
Q. Djokovic is next.
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, Djokovic is next, and I have to recover and I will be — I think I will be ready for that.
Q. What is your game plan against him?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: Against him, stay aggressive, very aggressive, and give everything. (Smiling.)
Q. What do you feel you’ve learned since the 2008 final against Djokovic?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: What I learned, I don’t know. But I beat him four times, I think, since this moment. So I learned to beat. (Laughter.)
Q. You don’t have any fears going into this match?
JO?WILFRIED TSONGA: No, no, I don’t have. It’s a tennis match, and like I say every time, I will do my best and we will see.