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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, before the Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo: “If I lose, I’d still be disappointed”

Do you approach this tournament with a kind of nostalgia, or as a ‘classic’ participant?
As a competitor. Announcing I’m quitting creates a farewell tour, but I feel light, it’s pretty fun and I come here to enjoy what I have left to play. I’m not here to play the amateur and have fun. The fun, I will take it in what I loved to do, fight and go on the ground to win.

With what ambition?
I don’t project myself. My ambition stops at my first race and it will grow as I pass the stages. I was a little sick when I got back from Miami, but now I’m fine. I’ve been able to play and do practice sets with the right intensity and good players for the past four days. And strangely enough I won some (he smiles) and it’s been a long time!

In spite of everything, it’s good to say that whatever happens, we won’t be disappointed?
Here I see that I am a competitor. If I lose, I will still be disappointed. Because it’s my life as a tennis player. And it doesn’t matter when. I always want to win. If I’m here it’s because I’m competitive with the desire to do well.

“When I made the announcement, I cut everything off so as not to be overwhelmed by emotions. Emotions, I’ll reserve them for when it stops”

The announcement of your retirement caused a stir on social networks. A real sign of recognition…
When I made the announcement, I cut everything out so as not to be overwhelmed with emotions. Emotions, I’m saving them for when it stops. There I sit, with the desire to go to the end of my thing, without saying to myself: “That’s it, I’m leaving…” After two days I was still looking. It got bigger “global” and I am honored by this recognition. There is a lot of goodwill in the dressing room.

The fact that you played at Roland-Garros in front of empty stands (at the very end of the program against Japan’s Nishioka) made you want to push not to end up like that?
I will be sincere. I didn’t care. I just wanted to win, on the Suzanne Lenglen where I had never lost. Spectators, not spectators, it wasn’t a big deal because I wasn’t going to stop even though I was physically handicapped.

Since we can’t escape the nostalgic sequences, what are your memorable memories in Monaco?
Especially the little evenings between us players who are missing from the Tour, with the sketches and the disguises, it was very funny. There were some nice wins, especially the one against Rodgeur (Federer in the quarter-finals 2016)† Here there is tennis, the beautiful view, the weather is pleasant, it is the beginning of spring… A special, pleasant moment! In any case, I don’t regret it, I’m a pretty balanced guy, I’ve made a career with no fuss or crazy things to be appreciated by the public. †

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