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Jo-Wilfred Tsonga: A talent without the proportionate number of trophies 

  • Tsonga was named the Breakthrough Player of The Year by the ATP in 2007.
  • If it weren't for the Big 4, Tsonga could've potentially been one of the greatest players in history.
Aakash Kumar
Modified 19 Mar 2020, 22:36 IST

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at this year
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at this year's Australian Open

2008 saw a shift in dynamics in tennis. Old champions fell and new champions arose. The first Grand Slam of the year brought the first wisps of change in what is an important year in tennis history. The world saw a new champion rise when Novak Djokovic won his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open, the first of his 17 titles. Djokovic's triumph overshadowed another player's story. A player who, if not for the Big 4 (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Andy Murray), could've won multiple Grand Slams. He was named the breakthrough player of the year in 2007 by the ATP, and he continued his exploits in 2008 at the Australian Open. He defeated Murray in the first round, and proceeded to reach the semi-finals where he beat the second seed Nadal in straight sets. It was a result that rocked the tennis world. He was defeated by Djokovic in the final, but not before he became the only player to take a set off Djokovic in the entire tournament.

He's of course the French tennis player, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

Tsonga won the third-most number of matches (18) against the Big 4 - the most dominant quartet in tennis history. He has an offensive style of play, dominated by his serve and forehand. His booming serve is a weapon that has enabled him to save about 67% of the break points, ranking him at no. 4 in the all-time list. He is also one of the few active players to employ the serve and volley tactic, which is made possible owing to his complete command over his serve and the delicate, accurate execution of volleys. The only weakness he possesses is his return of serve and sometimes his backhand.

Tsonga after winning the Rogers Cup in 2014
Tsonga after winning the Rogers Cup in 2014

Even though he hasn't won a single Grand Slam, the Frenchman has had a great career. He has won a total of 18 titles, including 2 Masters 1000 titles. He reached the finals of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the French Open and Wimbledon, peaking at a career high ranking of world no.5 in Februrary 2012.

Tsonga is one of the three players to have beaten all members of the Big 4 at least once in a Grand Slam. He is one of 2 players to have defeated 3 members of the Big 4 in a single tournament. The 34-year old has lost 52 times against Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray with most matches coming at the later stages of a tournament. This indicates that if they weren't there to stop him, he would've had a stellar career and could've been potentially among the greatest players in tennis history with multiple Grand Slams to his name.

Published 19 Mar 2020, 22:36 IST
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