Tsonga upbeat ahead of Federer match

BY foxsports • January 28, 2010

No one in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's camp would be silly enough to harp on how he once toppled Roger Federer. Sure, it was only last August in Montreal, but all it achieved was to simply square the ledger against the game's greatest player.

Tsonga is under no illusions that the 7-6, 1-6, 7-6 Canadian triumph will count for anything on Rod Laver Arena tonight, particularly as he stands between Federer and an amazing 22nd major singles final.

"Of course, I know I can do that, but (the last match) was completely different," Tsonga said. "Now I have to win three sets and it's gonna be difficult, for sure.

"What do I have to do? I have to play my best tennis. Roger played unbelievable because Nikolay (Davydenko) was in good shape, so it's gonna be tough. But I will give everything and we will see."

Tsonga doesn't think his lack of late-round Grand Slam experience will get in the way.

"I feel good," he said. "My two last matches (were) tough and I did it. Why not against Roger? It's good to have experience, but for that you have to win. Roger has experience because he won like 15 or 16 Grand Slams. But he won the first one without experience, so I think at this level you never know what can happen."

What is indisputable is Tsonga's comfort on Rod Laver Arena where he lost the 2008 final to Novak Djokovic. And he's adamant he's better prepared this time.

"I'm physically stronger," Tsonga said. "I think I have more than one way to play and this is why I'm better. Maybe it's because I have time to prepare more than the other Grand Slams because the season is long and we have to play a lot of tournaments, be ready for a lot of tournaments."

For someone who admits regularly reclining on the couch to watch tennis on TV, Federer reckons he knows little about his semifinal foe.

"I think he has only played his first five-set match of his life," Federer said. "It's quite amazing at this age for himself to be in that situation. He's a dangerous player. Very athletic, obviously."

On why he watches other matches, the three-time Australian Open champion said: "It's actually not really to study opponents. I watch it more as a fan. I just like to see a good tennis match and see how they battle it out and see the intensity of both players and watching how important it is for both of them to come through. So I see it more that way than what's he doing exactly when I play him next time? That would be for me way too stressful watching every single tennis match, just thinking of my own game, how it would match up."

Federer could not be more ready to set up a shot at a 16th Grand Slam singles crown. To turn around the quarterfinal against the red-hot Davydenko by reeling off 13 straight games was a frightening reminder of why he's the game's imposing benchmark.

"Winning that many games in a row against a player that has been on fire, it's a great sign," Federer said. "I've always had those spells if you look back at my Grand Slam play, that all of a sudden went on a tear and I was able to sort of dominate and create the difference this way."

Federer's remarkable recovery against Davydenko posted yet another record -- the first time any player has reached 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals.

"It's incredible looking back on how many years that I'm able to deliver at Grand Slam play," the Swiss ace said. "For some reason, I was just a bit worried I was not going to make it this time in the semis. You always believe the streak is going to be broken. I stopped thinking about it after the second round and just started focusing on the tournament. ... It's amazing. Definitely one of the most incredible things I have in my resume."


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