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Would have loved it if Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic didn’t exist: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Roger Federer after losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2014 Rogers Cup
Roger Federer after losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2014 Rogers Cup
Modified 13 Jan 2021, 15:49 IST

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga recently shared his thoughts about playing at the same time as the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray or the ‘Big 4’. Not one to mince his words, Tsonga admitted that he might have enjoyed a better time on the tour if they had never become pros.

In his best years, Tsonga was ranked as high as No. 5. The Frenchman even boasts of a Grand Slam final appearance, at the 2008 Australian Open. But Tsonga's career has frequently been marred by injuries, some of which may have played a role in him not living up to his full potential.

During a recent podcast, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bluntly remarked that he would have ‘loved it’ if the likes of Roger Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic hadn't played at the same time as him.

“We're gonna be honest, I would have loved it if all these guys didn’t exist,” Tsonga said. “When you're 5th in the world you say to yourself 'if they weren't there, I would be fine'."

However, the Frenchman also chose to look on the brighter side. Tsonga recalled how defeating Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had always filled him with a great sense of pride.

“When people come to me and say: ‘Ah, but you've played Federer before. Was it hard?’ (I say) Yeah but sometimes I beat him anyway. It’s a source of pride. Same with Rafa, with Novak, with Murray and the others. We finally played in a crazy generation!" Tsonga added.

How did Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fare against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic & Andy Murray?

The Frenchman was one of the strongest threats to Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, defeating the trio on 16 occasions. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had (and perhaps still has, barring injuries) the sort of game that could give sleepless nights to the ‘Big 3’.

Armed with a monstrous serve and a gargantuan forehand, Tsonga often asserted himself fully against Roger Federer in particular. Fans will never forget the 2011 Wimbledon encounter between the two, where Tsonga came back to win from two sets down.

Roger Federer after losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Wimbledon 2011
Roger Federer after losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Wimbledon 2011

After dropping his serve in the opening set, Tsonga achieved near-flawless accuracy on the shot for the rest of the match. Roger Federer didn't get any purchase on the Frenchman’s delivery, and ended up suffering a shock exit.

That said, it wasn’t always happy times for Tsonga against Federer. The Frenchman managed to register just six victories against Federer against 12 defeats.

Rafael Nadal fared slightly better than the Swiss, with a 10-4 win-loss record against Tsonga. Nadal’s only Grand Slam defeat to Tsonga came in the 2008 Australian Open semis, where the Frenchman brushed him aside in straight sets.

Novak Djokovic boasts of a whopping 17 wins against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but like Federer, he has also lost six times to the Frenchman. In his last 17 matches against Tsonga though, the World No. 1 has emerged victorious on 15 occasions.

Andy Murray has lost just twice to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and also boasts of 14 wins against the 35-year-old.

Published 13 Jan 2021, 15:49 IST
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