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January 3, 2019

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

J. TSONGA/T. Daniel

7-6, 6-3

Q. Jo, I know that last year was full of challenges for you, but it's the first time since February that you've won back-to-back matches. So how good does that feel, and what is that biggest challenge when you are trying to come back to this level?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah. That's the first time. I was looking for it. It was, of course, one of my goal, you know, to be able to play two matches in a row. Now the new goal is going to be to win three matches in a row and be able to stay healthy. That's the most important for me. Of course, I'm really happy of the win, but also really happy to be able to play the next match, too.

Q. When you heard about Rafa's, decision how much adjusting did you have to do for a different opponent?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, it's never easy, because you change statute. Can I say that. Approach, position. You change, because you go from the challenger to the guy that you were supposed to win. And it's not easy. Yeah, it's not easy because you prepare a match to play against Rafa, and the late call is you have to play Taro Daniel, who is a good player. He's playing better and better every year. He already beat a few very good players. And so, yeah, it was important to be really serious today and play good tennis to win, because he's got nothing to lose, and he's going for it. So I'm just really happy to win today.

Q. You spoke a little bit about Alex de Minaur on the court, but from what you've seen and what he's been able to do. He's such a fighter and someone who's a smaller guy, but works so hard for every point.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah. Depends who you call small.

Q. He's pretty small.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah. Small, but athletic. He's running fast a long time, and yeah, he's about to be aggressive on court. He can do many things on court. Can defend. He can take the court. Keep his position. Yeah. He remember me somebody. And, yeah, very good player. I like to watch him play.

Q. What is, then, the key for you in playing someone who plays like that?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: My key will always be the same. It's first to be concentrated on myself, on what I'm able to do, have the ball in the end, to serve. Nobody can disturb me, and yeah, my goal is to keep my serve and be able to be aggressive on the returns, be consistent. And, yeah, then we'll see.

Q. If there is one player that de Minaur reminds you of?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, of course. Of course. I think he reminds to everybody a certain Lleyton Hewitt, of course. But, yeah, maybe a little bit more aggressive, because I played Lleyton a few times, too. But, yeah, he's got the legs, the same legs. And, yeah, for sure it's going to be one of the favorite in the future.

Q. Jo, the Australian Open where you made the final in 2008, when you think back to that experience, what do you mainly remember? I mean you beat Rafa, and earlier it was Murray. You beat Murray in the tournament. Overall what is your recollection of that?
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: What I keep of this, I would say a moment that would change my life, because I came from not nowhere, but close to it before that. And after one year before, I was 300 in the world. And one year after I was Top 10. So for me it was a big change. Not easy to deal with it, especially when you are somebody who likes to be quiet and just stay on your side. And, yeah, after that I tried to continue to improve, because, of course, to keep the level and then to be better, you need to work a lot, because when you don't work, the other guys works and they continue to improve their games. So that's what I did. And I stayed a long time at the best level, but I never got through to win a Grand Slam. But I did some good things. I beat the best guys a few times. What was difficult and the big challenge for me was to beat them in a row, which is not easy, because when you are win against Rafa and you have to play Andy, it's tough. And after that you have the third cutoff with Novak over there. So, yeah, it was not easy. But it was very challenging. I loved it. And, yeah, and today I continue to take pleasure on court and I continue to build good memories.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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