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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Down, But Not Out

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Yeowwwches! That is absolutely too much male fineness occupying a single space, DAMN! Alrighty then, moving right along...

French hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga may be sidelined from Roland Garros, but the Australian Open finalist remains the great new hope of French tennis, which has not had a Grand Slam champion for 25 years.

Deuce Magazine has put together a few words on this rise of Tsonga.

France had more Top 100 players last year than any other country, yet on the 25th anniversary of Yannick Noah's celebrated Roland Garros victory in 1983, the nation still awaits its next Grand Slam champion. Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has emerged from the shadows of countrymen Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils to become France's great new hope.

It was 6 a.m. on a January morning. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's plane began its descent towards the runway at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, at last concluding its 10,400-mile journey from Melbourne, Australia. There had been many such flights in Tsonga's life, but none could quite prepare him for what was to come this morning.

As Tsonga exited the plane, more than 100 people lined the corridors of the airport to greet him. Immediately, Tsonga was driven to the center of the French tennis universe - Roland Garros - for a press conference, where he charmed dozens of print and broadcast journalists.

In conversation, the 6' 2", 200-pound Tsonga is a gentle man, at times almost pensive, at others even cheeky, his small brown eyes kindly taking in what's around him, a sensitive quality that's a pleasing contrast with the equally charismatic and physical firepower of his game. His subdued speaking voice is the sign of reflection, an activity he engages in often when enjoying one of his favorite off-court passions, fishing.

Tsonga kicked off 2008 in grand style. In only the fifth Grand Slam of his career, he had splashed himself into history by reaching the finals of the Australian Open. Moreover, Tsonga had done it in an arresting manner, playing brilliant attacking tennis in beating such rough customers as Andy Murray, Richard Gasquet, Mikhail Youzhny and Rafael Nadal before losing a tight four-setter to Novak Djokovic. Over the span of a fortnight, Tsonga earned more prize money than he had in his entire career. "I was impressed with the way he plays," said Djokovic in Australia. "He's just living the dream. For him it's a great achievement."


Photo Oliver Hardt
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Posted by Shelia

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