The former world No. 5 was eliminated after a heroic first-round loss from Roland-Garros to Casper Ruud (8th) at 3:49.
This time it’s finally over: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, former French No. 1 and No. 5 in the world, was eliminated on Tuesday in the 1st round of Roland-Garros against the Norwegian Casper Ruud (8th in the world) 6:7 ( 6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 7-6 (7/0). At the age of 37, as announced, he puts his rackets away for good.
Despite the public’s unconditional and vocal support, despite a resistance sometimes worthy of his heyday, Tsonga – injured in his right shoulder at the very end of the game and in tears at match point – says goodbye after 17.5 years on the track, where he set one of the best records in French tennis.
For his part, Ruud meets the Finn Emil Ruusuvuori (61st), winner against another Frenchman, Ugo Humbert (46th).
Flashes of the Tsonga of bygone times
Before leaving this world stage, where he conquered the audience with his spectacular game, Tsonga offered himself a beautiful last dance: 3h49 of fun, offering the spectators a spectacle that at times reminded us of the great player that he was. Flashes of the tsonga of yesteryear thus crossed the court, leaving the crowd trembling with delight until the end: a couple of big serves, powerful forehand followed at the net to end with a huge smash, a series of huge right-hand shots that ended his overtake opponents .
In the tie-break of the first set, it was even the Grand Jo – very different from the one who lost in the first round in recent months – who found himself on the court: powerful, physical, newly composed. If he missed his first two targets, he converted the third, causing an explosion of joy in the audience and a howl of anger from him. But a few games later, Ruud scored the first break of the game to take a 4-3 lead. Tsonga was alert and instantly unbroken, countering an attack from Ruud with his devastating forehand. The two men reached the deciding game, but this time it was Tsonga who cracked.
The third set quickly turned in the Norwegian’s advantage, who managed a first break to take a 3-1 lead, then a second to complete the set. Contrary to what one might fear, Tsonga didn’t collapse. And he even managed the white break for a 6-5 lead in the 4th set. After a moving Marseillaise sung by nearly 15,000 people at the change of ends, Tsonga then served to bring the match to a decisive set. Unfortunately, an injured Tsonga then served: he suddenly couldn’t hit the ball normally with the spoon until he served. With a visibly very sore right shoulder that could become a problem for his participation in doubles with Richard Gasquet, he let Ruud come back to 6-6 and called the physio before playing the tiebreak. The latter worked no wonder, neither did Tsonga. And he played his ultimate match point in tears in front of a standing stadium.
One of the best records in French tennis
From his first game on the ATP circuit in September 2004, beating then-No.6 Carlos Moya until he lost at Roland-Garros, Tsonga can boast of being one of only three players to have defeated Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and beat Novak Djokovic when they were world No. 1. He is also one of only three players to have beaten those three, as well as Andy Murray, in Grand Slams.
Tsonga has one of the best records in French tennis: 18 titles (only Noah has done better), 45 wins against the top 10, at least two wins against all members of the “Big 4” (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray). ), quarterfinals in all four majors and a final at the Australian Open (2008). Not to mention a silver medal in doubles with Michaël Llodra at the London 2012 Olympics and Davis Cup successes all the way up to the title in 2017 with friends Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet and Gaël Monfils, the new musketeers find themselves at three and soon at two , since Simon is retiring at the end of the year.
All Tsonga will miss is that Grand Slam title that crowns the greatest. A title made all the more difficult to win given that he made his career during the reign of the “Big 4”. He got his chance in 2008 when he reached the final of the Australian Open where he gave way to Novak Djokovic who won his first of 20 Majors to date.
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