Roland Garros

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Paris, France

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Press Conference

C. RUUD/J.W. Tsonga

6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6


JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, that's kind. I like that. Really kind. I have not drunk anything yet, so you can ask questions (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. I'd just like to ask what your biggest emotion is right now and what it felt like out there on the court at the end of the match with the standing ovation from the public.

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: My biggest emotion was all along the match today and also after. Was just amazing. The way the crowd support me today, they give me the power to fight, and that's what I did.

Today was a good match for me. Unfortunately I didn't finish the way I want to finish, but I finish on the court, playing like I did all my career, running after the ball.

Yeah, it was emotional for me. And anyway, it's gonna stay a good moment in my head. Yeah, in a way I finish like I want to finish.

Q. You once said the court is a place where I can express something that I really have. Can you just talk or put into words what you expressed on the court? What feelings, what passions were front and center during your career?

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: You know, in the real life, you know, it's sometimes difficult to be intense. You don't want to shock, you don't want to be too rude, you don't want to hurt somebody. You always try to act to be, how I say that, to be nice, to be sociable.

But, you know, on the court, you can express your fever. You can express everything about you, and it's sometimes -- how can I say that in English? -- freeing, yeah, freeing.

Q. Can I just ask you, today was a big day for you. Do you have any thoughts about your opponent, Casper Ruud, who tried to do the best he could?

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, today I think it was not an easy match for him to play against me here in front of the French crowd. It's not easy, and I think he just did really well.

He played solid tennis, because I think today I was able to beat most of the players but not him. I mean, he's always passionate. He likes to be on tour. We can feel it.

Today he just did great.

Q. Congratulations on your career. What are your favorite memories from your career? What is the most important, the one thing that tennis has given you?

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: For me, all the way was nice. All the way was, you know, good to live. Even the sad moment, even the difficult moment.

You know, for me, I can't say one day was better than another, you know, because one day you win Paris-Bercy, and the day after you still feel good. So it's still a good day.

Yeah, I spent so many good moments, and I think the most important for me was to live this with people around me and be able to share the sadness sometimes, the happiness.

Yeah, what I will remember for sure, it's all the relationships I had with people around. Yeah, that's what will stay.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. This was a match which was a symbol of your career. You have always been fighting. You have always been splendid on the court. 6-5 in the fourth one. Then your shoulder was hurting. You couldn't finish the match. So there's a bit of everything of your career in this match.

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: That's true, a bit of everything. Great moments. There is almost like a script or scenario, and injuries and also an opponent who was very solid on the other side. That's also part of my career.

I think I have played against incredible players throughout my career. Of course, well, the top four players but not just them. Others, as well. Del Potro, Cilic, Wawrinka, Ferrer, all of those who are tough fighters.

So today, well, I'm happy to have played against Casper. He's an intense player. I think he's very steady if you look at his results. He's a solid player.

For me, to have been able to fight back against a solid player for my final match is what I was expecting at the end of the day. That's what I wanted to do.

I wanted to finish this way, on the court, to do my best, injured or not. When I hurt myself on the breakpoint, to be up 6-5 and serve for the fourth set, that's really the last forehand that he missed and I hurt myself. When I was about to serve and I realized I couldn't put my arm up, then I called for the physio. But I thought, I'm going to stay on the court and finish off this match. That's how I wanted to finish, on the court, give my best tennis. I think this is what I did.

In any case, there would have been no second match, because I left everything on the court today.

Q. I'd like to ask you something. This match was really tight. During the tiebreak in the second set, you were up, I think. The scenario could have been different had you won this set. Did you know that people would celebrate, that people had come for your final match? Were you aware of this possible celebration?

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: I knew something was going to happen. People came to me, you see. They said, Would you like to do something after the match? I said, Bug off. Oops sorry, for the expression. I said, Sod off. I said, You don't know if this is going to be my final match.

I don't want to think about this. I knew that something was bound to happen. I didn't know what. I didn't know who.

For me, it was quite moving to see my first coaches on the court. Even my parents. They are usually quite discreet, and I know it's not really something that they like, to be seen in front of the crowd.

Even the boys, Gael said he would come. He told me. He couldn't keep a secret.

I didn't know about the players coming on court. Of course I was thinking about a number of things, thinking maybe this, maybe that. But I didn't want to think too much about this, because I wanted to really live this moment, which is what I did through and through.

I really enjoyed it. They are all very happy, because I finally managed to cry. Well, it's a moment that is going to be in my memory, but it's so quick when you're in it. It's difficult to live the moment that you're living. My eyes were all over the place. I didn't really know where to go.

When I watch the images again afterwards I will be very moved.

Q. Well, by the way, please tell us more about your mindset when you were playing this match. Were you tense because you thought it could have been the last one or didn't you feel any pressure at all, because you thought that maybe that's the beginning of a whole streak of wins and therefore total happiness? How did you manage this, because you knew that it was your last tournament and the end of your career?

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, it was quite difficult. Before the match started, I was with Thierry and my brother and a friend of mine who's been with me, Clement Genin, who was with me, physically speaking, in the past months. Each time we would look at each other in the eyes we realized that maybe that's my last time that I'd be stepping in on the Philippe Chatrier court.

So it's tough. I was on the court. But emotionally speaking, I was in a very special condition. I thought, no, no, no, not now, not now, you've got to go for it. You have to play. You wanted to be here. You wanted to fight until the very last point. No time for emotions now.

So I could feel the tears in my eyes, but then when I was on the court, because I said before, you've got to go for it, that was good for me. I said, There is a match to be played. That's what I did, I delivered on that match.

Q. Now, what's happened was very important, but I'd like to talk about what next. What about this evening, the days to come? The months to come? And then this new blank page, a new life for you. What would you say about your future in the short, medium, and long run?

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: The short term, well, I'm not going to invite you. You might not be able to find your way home. Well, that's a joke.

Jokes aside, in the short run, I will celebrate with my friends. Many people have come from afar to see me and to celebrate. So I'll enjoy the evening.

Tomorrow I have some tests or exams, because I think I really hurt my shoulder badly, and I couldn't carry my baby. Next I'll enjoy summertime in Europe. I'll take a rest, and I'll continue developing the academy with Thierry. I'll continue and organize tournaments here in France, the ATP tournament, and that's about it.

And also I'll seize this opportunity to meet all these people I couldn't meet for these years, and I missed them.

Q. Now you have tasted a high-level match on the big court with a lot of crowd supporting you. What are you going to miss at the end of your career? What will you be missing from your life as a player?

JO-WILFRIED TSONGA: Well, you have said it. It's adrenaline, to step in on a big court like this one, adrenaline you can feel when you have 15,000 people shouting out your name, supporting you on the court.

What happened to me is quite unlikely. Physically I was not feeling that good recently, but today, as I said earlier on, today or in the past two or three days, I have been feeling better. And I had not felt like this for a long, long while.

I think that it's thanks to all of this, that is all these people who support me, and the craze, the passion, the people in the stands. It was pure madness today. One of the best atmospheres I have seen in my career, and it's my last match.

I couldn't have asked for something better. I couldn't have asked for a better script, apart from the fact that I could have won.

Well, frankly, this is what I'm going to miss is the contact with the crowd. And also with those who have been supporting me for all these years.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
120653-2-1063 2022-05-24 17:50:00 GMT

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