Melbourne: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said he felt proud of his extraordinary run at the Australian Open which ended with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 defeat by Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday.
The unseeded Frenchman came into the tournament ranked 38th in the world but knocked out seeds Andy Murray, Richard Gasquet, Mikhail Youzhny and number two Rafael Nadal on the way to his first Grand Slam final.
''I'm very proud of myself,'' Tsonga told reporters. ''I'm happy for Novak because he played unbelievable today. I don't know if I have to be sad or happy with this final, but I feel great.''
HAPPY LOSER: The unseeded Frenchman came into the tournament ranked 38th in the world
Tsonga, who has never won a tour title, said his run had given him a taste for more success, particularly as he will now rise into the world's top 20.
''It's just unbelievable because the crowd was unbelievable,'' he said. ''A lot of noise and everything. I had goose bumps. It was crazy.''
Tsonga started fast against third seed Djokovic, unsettling him with a barrage of fast serves and booming groundstrokes, but the Serb gradually wore him down.
''When you have a match, you have one player and one opponent, and you don't know who's going to win,'' Tsonga said. ''At the end, all the time you have a winner. So today was Novak.''