Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the reverence of the colossus

How does one conclude the biggest chapter of the book of one’s life? For Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the answer was obvious: ” At home. » At Roland-Garros, the former world number five begins, Tuesday, May 24, against the Norwegian Casper Ruud, the last tournament of his career.

Porte d’Auteuil, Manceau has known it all: the four hundred blows of boarding school, the beautiful courses, the Davis Cup and the cruel disappointments. Logical, therefore, to type his last balls there. “Roland-Garros has accompanied me all my life, it made a lot of sense to finish here”blows the Frenchman, who announced his retirement in early April, and received an invitation to the Parisian Grand Slam tournament. “It’s a way of closing the loop. »

Read also: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga announces that he will retire after Roland-Garros

In a sport whose gondola heads are in no hurry to hang up – at the age of 40, Roger Federer or Serena Williams continue to dodge the question – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will put his rackets away, after playing his fifteenth Roland-Garros . An end clap, in his words, that he would have had trouble imagining when he started. “To end my career at 37, for me, it’s a miraclemarvels the former French number one, in the suite of the Lyon hotel where he receives The world, on the fringes of the Open Parc in the capital of Gaul. Because, at 19, I was told that maybe I wouldn’t play anymore. »

Great hope of French tennis – notably winner of the US Open among young people in 2003 – the Manceau sees his budding career threatened by a double herniated disc. At the age when players like Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer are beginning to shine, he must “learning to walk again”. And sees its hatching delayed for a few years – it will happen between 2007 and 2008.

He beat Nadal, Federer and Djokovic

If he were to change only one thing in his career, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would not ask for this Grand Slam title after which he ran for fifteen years, brushing it at times (final of the Australian Open in 2008 and five semi-finals). No, the answer fuses: “Just recovering faster from my matches! »

Endowed with a colossal physique (1.88 meters for 91 kilos), of those that one crosses more on the rugby grounds than the tennis courts, the Manceau has used it to manhandle many adversaries, the drunk with blows with his style of puncher. But this advantage could turn into a disadvantage. “Maybe my explosive game was hurting mehe recalls with hindsight. Every game hurt me, and yet I trained hard. I had a lot of trouble recovering, and that’s what I probably needed to be better at the end of Grand Slam tournaments. »

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