Well, Iâ€™m disappointed.Â I am disappointed.Â But now itâ€™s over.Â Nothing I can do.Â I canâ€™t play the match again, so Iâ€™m eliminated.
Itâ€™s a bit of a shame because I was pretty close.Â Iâ€™m not going to regret many things in that match.Â I gave everything I had.Â I fought as much as I could.
Unfortunately at the end I had no energy left in my legs.Â Thatâ€™s it.Â Thatâ€™s the way it is.Â Iâ€™ll have to close that chapter and start practicing on grass.
Iâ€™ll try and remember this match and this loss so I have more confidence in tournaments like Wimbledon.Â Because if I can hurt top players on clay, I can do worse on grass.
Well, no, I mean, the first set he was playing real well.Â He was playing real fast.Â He was hitting the ball very early.Â I had no time to get organized.
You know what?Â Tennis is a sport in which you have two players and you can feel very well and you can still be defeated 6-Love if the guy on the other side of the net plays far better than you do.Â This is what happened.
He played far better than me; he was hitting very early on the rebound.Â Then, you know, sometimes youâ€™re down 6-2, 6-Love, but I decided to fight back.Â Thereâ€™s no shame being dominated like that.Â Itâ€™s tennis.Â Thatâ€™s sports.
All I know is that Iâ€™m not going to give him any point for free.Â Had I been defeated 6-Love, 6-3, 6-1 fighting all along, it would have revealed my level.
But I fought, and I had match points.
This is probably the most difficult defeat or loss in my career.Â I havenâ€™t lost that many matches after such a big fight.Â If I remember well, I think I lost one, a match in which I had match points.Â I canâ€™t remember which one it was, but I think there was just one.
Itâ€™s very rare for me to have match points and not win the match, so I remember that because it was Roland Garros; it was a quarterfinal.
But then for the match points, there is I feel nothing I can feel sorry about.Â There was a passing shot, I played a passing shot and he ran on the good side.
It was like in Australia when he was on the right side.Â Thatâ€™s it.
Q.Â Could you say a few words in English for your fans in the UK?
JOâ€‘WILFRIED TSONGA:Â (In English.)Â Now is time to have a cup of tea.Â (Laughter.)
Asked about the difference in the beginning of the match and the end of the match:
Conditions are slow, particularly on clay.Â That makes it hard for a lot of variation.Â You donâ€™t get any free points on the serve.
Anything thatâ€™s maybe short rallies and chips and down the line shots, itâ€™s a better match for me.Â He obviously like to go back into backhand and then rip the forehand once he gets the chance.
I thought it was very good conditions for him.Â I knew it was going to be tough anyway.Â I have still been struggling to find my rhythm.Â I did feel it in the first set, even though he was up two sets two breaks.Â I was finding a way back and starting to feel better.
Just trying to figure out how to play a guy who returns from so far back on a slow court.Â Do you try to serve through him?Â Which I tried; didnâ€™t work.Â Or do I try and move it around a bit.Â And that worked a bit better, but it was really in the mixâ€‘up that, you know, I found success.
Second set was a tough, you know, set for me to lose, but he played a really good breaker and got the better of me.Â But I was happy that the first two sets took some time, because I did favor myself once the match got longer.Â Thatâ€™s kind of how it came.
So Iâ€™m very happy with the way I fought and started in the third set, fourth set, and even in the fifth set where obviously it was the toughest, because that was his last chance and his resistance maybe was the biggest there.
I knew it was going to be a tricky match, I knew that margins were not on my side anymore.Â Thatâ€™s where I just tried to keep playing tough, make him understand how far he still had to go, as well, because I had a very long way.
I was able to do all of those things, and I was very happy the way I played, you know, starting the third set.
Obviously I was emotional and I was, you know, sometimes upset.Â Sometimes just trying to push myself on.Â Push harder and try harder and move faster, all those things, because I knew it could be crucial to the match.
Thank God it wasnâ€™t, but in the moment itself you donâ€™t know.Â So you wait and see.
Yeah, of course I did think of the Tommy Haas match.Â Of course I thought about the five-setter I had here with Juan Martin in 2009.
Maybe I drew some inspiration off it.Â But then again, completely different place, you know.Â Suzanne Lenglen; itâ€™s raining.Â Itâ€™s a different situation, really.
But, you know, you just try to push further and itâ€™s not easy, you know.Â But at the same time you are happy itâ€™s a Grand Slam, because any other tournament I would have been out of the tournament.
This way, you know, the road to victory is much longer and itâ€™s not a sprint; itâ€™s a marathon.Â Iâ€™m happy I came through.Â I feel great, you know, after the fiveâ€‘setter.
So Iâ€™m obviously happy I get two days, but itâ€™s not necessary.Â Looking forward to a big semifinal.
On playing Novak Djokovic:
I mean, itâ€™s helpful if youâ€™ve won the last three, four, five, maybe.Â Obviously it helps to win one like he did in Rome, I would think.
But then again, this is the best situation.Â Itâ€™s the bestâ€‘ofâ€‘five.Â Itâ€™s something weâ€™re not â€‘Â I donâ€™t want to say accustomed to anymore as much, because we did play many more bestâ€‘ofâ€‘five set matches, letâ€™s say, seven to ten years ago when all of the finals or many of the tournaments like in Basel, for instance, Gstaad, Vienna.Â You name it, they were all bestâ€‘ofâ€‘five set finals.Â The Masters 1000, most of them, were best ofâ€‘fiveâ€‘set finals.
So you used to play many more.Â Now all of a sudden you can go six months and not play almost any fiveâ€‘setter, and even three years, letâ€™s say.
So itâ€™s a different approach, and I think weâ€™re both aware of that.Â Weâ€™re looking forward to it.Â Give us more time to find our range, and once we find our range, itâ€™s going to be tough for the opponent.
Doesnâ€™t matter if itâ€™s Novak or any other player really.Â You just want to be well prepared; you want to be mentally ready for a long day.
Obviously over five sets, as well, the rain or the sunshine could come and go.Â You have more possibility of interruption just because youâ€™re out there for a longer period of time.Â Itâ€™s a different kind of approach.
Obviously the start to the match is important, but then again, we saw that it didnâ€™t matter at the US Open when we played each other; it didnâ€™t matter this time when we played; to Del Potro it didnâ€™t matter.
So that sometimes just keeps you honest to the very, very end, and you have to play as hard as I can every single point against him and see how it goes.
Well, Iâ€™m very disappointed for Jo.Â I would have loved to play him here in Paris.
Itâ€™s like in Bercy.Â He missed two match points against Isner; he missed four here.Â I have a feeling that the crowd would have loved to see such a match.Â For him, itâ€™s a disappointment.
As for me, itâ€™s nothing different as from last year.Â Iâ€™m playing Djokovic in the semifinal.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO
No, I think anyways I play a great match, even the third and fourth set.Â He start to play much better than in the beginning of the match and I feel his ball more in the baseline.Â He put me to run a lot in the third and fourth set.
He made better match than me after the second set.Â I donâ€™t have any chance to win until the first game in the fifth set when I had break point.Â He play well points and he take the opportunity in the fifth set and he win.
Yeah, I feel, like you say, I serve really bad in the fourth set, also.Â And if I serve bad against Federer or the top guys, you donâ€™t have too many chance to win points.
I serve bad in the fourth set, and then in the fifth set he broke me very early to take the advantage.Â He was playing with more confidence the fifth set than me.
When he had the chance to close the match, he made it.
I donâ€™t know now.Â I would love to play Queenâ€™s.Â I supposed to play Queenâ€™s.Â I just finish and I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m going to do in the next hours, so I canâ€™t tell you that.
Well, the tournament was a great tournament for me.Â Iâ€™m very happy I made it to this level.Â I played four Grand Slams, and Iâ€™m amongst the eight players in the world who can make it to the final on a great tournament.
So when I win sets, when I win games against big players, against those who have a better ranking than mine, thereâ€™s always something to learn.Â There is positive and negative, and I have to work on the negative aspects.
Well, until the very last ball I thought I could win, even if I was down 5â€‘2 during the fifth set.Â I have enough experience now and I can come back even when the match is very complicated and weâ€™re in the fifth set.
Thatâ€™s why I was never discouraged.Â Well, I always think that Federer has far more experience than I have and he can win a match more quickly.Â Against another player I could have won a break and I could have won perhaps, but it was Federer.
Asked about an exhibition that heâ€™s playing in Brazil in November:
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:Â Well, yes, itâ€™s the first time now that I talk about it.Â Itâ€™s confirmed.Â Iâ€™m really excited because I never been in Brazil.
I heard all the best things about your country.Â Of course, Guga is the biggest tennis legend there.Â I would like to play with him.Â Itâ€™s still not decided.Â Even if I play with Thomaz will be great.
Just the experience of being in Brazil makes me very happy.
On the win and saving 4 match points:Â There is really not any rational explanation or a word that can describe what youâ€™re supposed to do when youâ€™re match points down or when youâ€™re losing and youâ€™re very close to lose the match.
Itâ€™s, I guess, trying to be mentally tough and believing in your shots.Â Obviously a little bit of experience that I had playing on this level for last five, six years.Â I did have some matches similar to this one when I was match points down and managing to come back.
So I donâ€™t want to be wise now and say, Okay, I know you how to play when Iâ€™m match points down.Â Because as I said, there is no explanation.Â Iâ€™m just going for the shots.Â Iâ€™m glad I was aggressive in these moments and, you know, it paid back for me.
Well, look, this level, this level of tennis is very mental, you know, lots of emotions.Â If youâ€™re playing top player and home favorite and you have a crowd that is supporting him incredibly so, you have to face all these things.
Physically, we are all ready, we are all fit, and we are all hitting the ball well.Â But itâ€™s a matter of, you know, just couple of points here and there will decide winner.Â That was the case.
I mean, if he would win he would deserve the win, no doubt.Â But, you know, thatâ€™s sport.Â The one that mentally, I think, pushes more maybe in some moments and obviously gets also a bit lucky and gets the win, you know, thatâ€™s how it goes.
You know, ones you win, ones you lose, but the more important thing is to try to take the best out of these matches and enjoy them, you know, because as a tennis player, this is what you live for.Â This is what you practice for all these years, you know, to be part of incredible performance, incredible match encounter here in Roland Garros, you know, with the home players.
Iâ€™m really glad that I could win today.
So, you know, I think I felt good on the court.Â Then I played one bad service game, and thatâ€™s when the momentum changed, you know.Â He got crowd on his side, big support.Â He started serving whenever he was in trouble.
Break balls second, third, fourth set, he always served it out, and really big, which is not something that happened for the first time.Â He tends to play always his best when you know, when the pressure, he comes to the net and hits the ball.Â Thatâ€™s why heâ€™s one of the top players.
Yeah, it was incredible.Â I mean, at some stages, even though I thought I was returning really well and I was in the point, he just went for everything.Â He was playing, in my opinion, incredibly well.
But in the end, I managed to breakthrough.
On Federerâ€™s 5 set win over Del Potro:
Well, another great semifinal.Â I donâ€™t want to talk too much about Roger.Â We all know his quality and can always expect him to perform his best at this stage of the tournament.
He came back from two sets down today.Â We both played tough matches in last two rounds.Â Now weâ€™re going to have two days off and expect exciting semifinal.
You know, last year we were part of a great match that went the distance, and he played incredibly well.Â I thought I played on a very high level.Â I just hope we can have another good match for us and for the crowd to be a part of.
I think for me itâ€™s crucial to be very focused and aggressive from the first moment, because thatâ€™s something that you can always expect Roger to have, you know, that control over the opponent from the start.Â I will try to be out there believing I can win.
Now there is no really favorite for that match.Â Itâ€™s semifinals, so everything is open.
Â SARA ERRANI
A big change for me really was the racquet.Â Was a big change that make me feel much better in the court.Â Make me feel with more power and not too difference with other players on power and these things.
But also physically I worked very good this winter.Â But Iâ€™ve worked also very good the other winters, so is not a change.Â Is just work every day harder that I can and physically in tennis, so maybe the big thing is mix of everything.
Iâ€™m very happy for how I play.Â Iâ€™m very happy the fight, of course.Â Iâ€™m happy for that, but I used to make that every match.Â I want to fight every match, every point.
So Iâ€™m happy more maybe for the tennis, because normally the other things I feel that I do the maximum every time.
But of course sheâ€™s a really strong player to beat her in a Grand Slam, in Roland Garros.Â I donâ€™t know.Â Is good.
On Sam Stosur:Â Sheâ€™s amazing player, of course.Â Sheâ€™s very strong.Â So I play against her in Rome last tournament and was tough match.Â We play also another tight match.
I donâ€™t know.Â If Iâ€™m here is because Iâ€™m playing good, so I want just to think about that and think to fight and make my best.Â How it goes, we will see.
Inspiration from Francesca Schiavone:Â Yes, of course she won here.Â I remember that very good.Â I donâ€™t know.Â Is inspiration, but Iâ€™m not thinking about that.Â I want to play.Â I think about make the good things that I usually try to do and just playing, just keep going until where I can arrive.
On playing Sam Stosur:
I mean, I have to say that she played unbelievable today.
You know, her topspin and her serve, I mean, she played like a man, and itâ€™s really hard to play against a man.Â It was driving me crazy on the court today.Â So it was really, really hard.Â Really tough.
I mean, for me for sure, because sheâ€™s putting the ball so high.Â Her kick she gets me out of the court so much so then I cannot do nothing.Â So if I want to go against the serve I go here, and if I want to go back Iâ€™m like three meters behind the baseline.
It was not easy.Â Today in tough moments she gave me so many good winners, so many lines, and it was just everything going her way today.
Errrani surprise semifinalist:
Sheâ€™s had a very good year; won some tournaments.Â Sheâ€™s very tough to play against.Â Sheâ€™s a tough competitor and makes you work for it.
You know, I think this is probably the breakthrough year for her, making quarterfinals Australian Open, and now here, French Open.Â You know, sheâ€™s having a good year.Â Youâ€™ve got to respect that and be aware of that.
On topspin and kick serve which give opponents trouble:
I donâ€™t know, because I guess thatâ€™s the way I play.Â I find it a lot easier to play that way than the way that most of the girls play.Â So I think that a big part of the serving factor is when I was young, I had a coach that maybe saw the potential in me to be able to hit that kick serve.
From 10, 11, 12 years old worked on it worked on it and worked on it.Â As you get older and you get stronger and get bigger it becomes more and more effective.Â So I think that probably was ingrained in me probably from a young age.Â At that age, who knows if youâ€™re ever going to make it to this point?Â I guess thatâ€™s just good looking ahead from the coach I had at that time.
And then the spin and all that, just kind of growing with my game and working with David really improved that the last, you know, four or five years that weâ€™ve been together.
I think even the girls that you look at on tour that you donâ€™t necessarily think theyâ€™re very big or very strong, they can hit the ball very hard.Â Thatâ€™s all through technique and timing of the ball.Â Itâ€™s probably a bit of both.
Q.Â This is a question from fans to you.Â Theyâ€™ve noticed that your results at the Australian Open werenâ€™t as good as here in Paris.Â The question is:Â Would you like the Australian Open to be played in Paris?Â (Laughter.)
Sure, but I do love playing in Australia.Â I never want to, you know, say I donâ€™t enjoy it or anything like that.
But I guess itâ€™s just the way it is.Â Itâ€™s a totally different surface and time of the year.Â Itâ€™s always tough coming out playing, you know, straight up at the start of the year.
And being Australian there is a little bit more pressure playing there, but hopefully one day Iâ€™ll be able to handle it better.