PARIS – Joe-Wilfried Tsonga gave Norway’s eighth-seeded Caspar Rudd a run for his money in the first round of a tough French Open but went into a tearful retirement with a future 6-7 (6) 7-6 (4) 6 Tuesday-27. At the rate of 6 (0).
The Frenchman, whose career has been hampered by multiple injuries in recent years, fought for about four hours before breaking down in tears.
The crowd at Court Philippe Chatria greeted him standing as the 37-year-old, unable to fight due to shoulder pain, knelt on red dirt.
This is the latest in a series of physical problems that have dropped to 297 in the ATP rankings.
Tsonga, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are just three of the losers who were world number one and runners-up at the 2008 Australian Open, have not won a match on the ground in almost three years and no miracles have occurred. Tuesday – After a tough opening set, though much hope.
The match started in front of a rare crowd as most of the corporate seats were vacant at lunchtime, a recurring pattern in Roland Garros where food often surpassed tennis.
Tsonga held firm, delighting fans with some well-run drop shots as he made the most of his opponent’s initial nerves.
Eventually the volume increases as the stands fill up after coffee time and Tsonga wins the opening set after a tense tiebreak.
He saved a break point in the fifth game of the second set but was under pressure in the tiebreak and seems to have fallen quickly after being overwhelmed in the third.
In support of the overwhelmed crowd, however, Tsonga fell in love for 6-5 in the fourth, only to bring parity for Rudd and force another tiebreak.
– Roland-Garos (landrolandgarros) May 24, 2022
Tsonga was a physiotherapist for shoulder problems and could rarely afford a tiebreak.
Once his ordeal was over, Tsonga, who won the 2017 Davis Cup with France, was greeted in court by all his former coaches and his parents wearing ‘Mercy Joe’ T-shirts, as well as his children.
His former Davis Cup teammates Richard Gasquet, Giles Simon and Gail Monfils also came to the court to embrace him.
“It’s a great day for me. The day I said goodbye to my longtime partner. I never looked back but now is the time to do it,” Tsonga told the crowd.
“I want to thank all the people who have helped me fulfill my dream of becoming a professional tennis player.
“Thanks to the French Tennis Federation and all my coaches who supported me even when I was very stupid. I’ve been able to be good among the best generation of players and I’m happy with that.
On the way to the final in Melbourne, Tsonga defeated his role model Nadal, 23-year-old Ruud, who said, “You were an inspiration to me and many others.”
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