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May 23, 2014

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga


THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  Can you just describe your season so far, how you feel about it.
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† Yeah, I can describe it.¬† It was not that good.¬† Usually I start better in my year, but, you know, it's tennis.¬† I had many problems last year on the second half of the season with my knees and it was not easy to deal with it, so I lost a bit of time with that.
And then to come back and find your best level is never‑‑ it's never easy.¬† So it was a tough start, but, you know, I still believe I can play good tennis.¬† During all these months I worked pretty hard.¬† So I think I'm ready, anyway, now to play.

Q.  How far from your, you know, consistently good level do you think you are?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† I don't know yet, to be honest, because I didn't play enough matches to be sure.¬† But anyway, I know, like I said just before, I know I worked hard, and, you know, I can't do more than this.

Q.  Do you think that then the pressure is off you coming into Roland Garros?  You have had good results here because of your season so far.  Do you think you'll be a lot calmer not expecting as much as perhaps when you've been doing very, very well?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† Not really, because anyway, you know, I expect a lot from me, especially here.¬† I know it's always a lot of pressure, but I think now I have enough experience.¬† I played a few times Roland Garros.¬† I know how is it.
I always play my best tennis here, so I hope I will continue on this way and play good tennis.

Q.  There are lots of Frenchmen, French players in the draw doing well.

Q.  Perhaps too many (smiling).  Does that take the pressure off?  What does that show about French tennis?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† It show we have a good ‑‑it shows that the Federation did a great job with the young guys.¬† Now we don't have, you know, a top player, I mean, in the top 5 since a couple of years now, so we need to improve on this.
But anyway, it shows that the French tennis is in good shape.
Q.  You have been one of the players who we say in English has been knocking on the door of, you know, the top 5, 4, against the guys that are winning most of the majors.  Do you feel now that because of Wawrinka that that door is a little bit more open, or is it still the same door is there?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† You know, I always‑‑ even before Stan, you know, I always tried to keep the door open (smiling).¬† You know, since I'm playing tennis, you know, I dream about the best results, the best tournaments, and I will continue.¬† That's how I will give my best on the court.
So I think it's my philosophy, and I will never think it's impossible to do it.
Q.¬† Do you feel that Rafa is more vulnerable this year on clay, or is it crazy to think that in best‑of‑five sets?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† If we have to look at the results these last couple of weeks, of course we can say that.¬† But when we look, you know, in the past, there is no reason to say Rafa is different than the other years.
You know, he's still the same guy, the same champion, and I'm sure he wants to win again here in Roland Garros.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in French.

Q.  How do you feel physically, before anything else, and also mentally before this very special tournament for you?  How did you feel when you practiced here?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† I feel pretty good, but you should never rely on what is happening during practice, because only matches will show what you are worth.
So today, yes, I feel good.  I feel good physically.  I have no problems.  I'm very happy to be here.
So for the time being all the green lights are on, and I hope I'm going to have a good tournament in this French Open.

Q.  It's never easy to play against a French player, and even less in this tournament.  You're going to play a French player you know well, but it's also a way of getting into the tournament fast.
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† Well, whatever, French or not, you rarely get into the tournament first round already.¬† I will try my best on the court.¬† Every time you step on to the court you're just beyond the door and you know it's going to be a new experience.¬† Each time it is over it is always a new satisfaction.
With Edouard, we played several times against each other.  I have the feeling that whatever happens, I always play Edouard the first round here.  I don't know why.
So it's not funny, but...
It's not funny for me, but I think it's not funny for him, either.
So we're going to play, and the best one will go to second round.  Same thing as against a final.

Q.  Apparently you're fit, but maybe you have some issues with confidence.  Do you believe it's going to come back?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† Well, I have a way of doing things.¬† I've did things in my career, I met some goals that seemed maybe far away, and so at this stage of my career, what I'm doing is saying I want to be the best.¬† I want to be best.¬† I want to do things better.
And of course because of that I'm trying to change some things.  And I did change many things, in fact, hoping that it's going to be better.
But I also know it might take time, and you have to work a lot on these things.¬† So long‑term work is important, too, because as soon as I try something new, if it doesn't work out right, if I try to do something else, every time I change I'll never make progress.
So what I'm doing is just choosing something I want to improve and work on it and do it as much as I can, knowing it might take some time before it is efficient.
Of course if after a whole year it's still not working, well, then, maybe I'll think about it and maybe change.¬† But for the time being, the goal ‑‑well, I'm talking about one year.¬† It can be two years or three years.¬† Depends on how strongly I believe in my project.
But anyway, it's my project.¬† What people say about me doesn't matter.¬† The important thing is when it is my project, I want to ‑‑I'm the one who wants to win the big tournaments.

Q.  Yeah, but now you're not winning matches.  You're losing points in the rankings.  You're playing better players early in tournaments.
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† Well, it's also an opportunity, because if you beat a top player early in the tournament, yeah, your draw opens up.¬† When you play them later, you lose everything.
So if I remember, I made a final in the Australian Open and I was not seeded, but I was able to beat Andy first round and it opened up my side of the draw.

Q.  So you might play Djoko in the round of 16.  Is it better than in the semis?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† Well, to win a tournament like this you have to beat them all anyway.¬† Whether I'm playing first round or playing the final‑‑ or maybe for the French Open for the crowd it's different, but for me it doesn't change anything.
I already played round of 16 matches and finals and semifinals.  So as I said before, I always want to go further, and that's what is interesting to me.  I don't want to repeat things and do the same things.  I want to do things better.
One day if I believe I cannot make any more progress, I'll be sitting here in front of you saying, Don't count on me anymore.  I'll tell you I know I can't do more.
But if I still am trying, it means I believe I can.

Q.  The fact that you went far last year, is it a pressure?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA:¬† Well, this will not change things.¬† It's not going to be a guarantee that I will be seeded in the next tournaments.¬† I can lose in the final, in the quarterfinal, in the first round.¬† It doesn't change things for me.

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