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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Injured, Out Of Davis Cup

Thursday, April 10, 2008

In a stunning development that tips the competitive balance in favor of the United States, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France dropped out of the 2008 Davis Cup Quarterfinal, suffering from a lateral meniscus injury to his right knee.

Captain Guy Forget replaced the French star with veteran Arnaud Clement, who had traveled with the team to Winston-Salem as an alternate.

The 22-year-old Tsonga flew back to France on Wednesday for treatment. The news was made official Wednesday afternoon by Davis Cup Tournament Referee Wayne McKewen.

It was initially believed by the Americans that the inclusion of Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu was a smokescreen for Clement's inclusion in the doubles rubber.

Michael Llodra’s
steady doubles partner, Clement and Llodra defeated the Bryans this year at the Australian Open and two years ago at Wimbledon.

“I will expect the unexpected,” said McEnroe on Tuesday. “They have a lot of versatility in their players. I certainly don't go in really wondering or worrying about it. As I said, we've got our four guys. If we play well and play at the top of our game, we feel good about our chances.”

“Certainly I think Guy (Forget) has more options available, maybe depending on how the guys look and adjust to the court, it being as quick as it is. It would not surprise me if there's some changes.”

With Tsonga out of the picture, the French will likely nominate Mathieu, ranked No. 12 in the world, to play second singles behind Richard Gasquet.

A career 4-6 in Davis Cup competition, Mathieu last played in the 2007 quarterfinals against Russia. Mathieu is 1-2 against Andy Roddick and 0-1 against James Blake.

Clement, 29, an eight-year Davis Cup veteran, is accomplished in both singles and doubles. In the first round against Romania, Clement partnered with Llodra in the clinching match.

Tsonga made his debut on the French Davis Cup team in the first round, winning his only match over Romania’s Andrei Pavel.

The official draw ceremony, which determines the official order of play, will be held Thursday at the Joel Coliseum.

Posted by Shelia

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