Tears and farewell to a legend: Tsonga retired from tennis after falling in the first round of Roland Garros

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* The last point in Tsonga’s career

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga he said goodbye to professional tennis after losing this Tuesday against the Norwegian Casper Ruudnumber 8 in the ranking, by 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4), 6-2 and 7-6 (0) in the first round of Roland Garros. The French tennis player, winner of 18 ATP tournaments and who came to appear fifth in the world in 2012, had announced a few weeks ago that he would retire as soon as he finished his participation in the second Grand Slam of the season organized in his homeland.

At 37 years old, and despite the unconditional support of the public of the Philippe Chattier, put up resistance to an entire Top 10 as in his best years but ended up giving in afflicted by an injury to his right shoulder in the final part of the match. As soon as the confrontation ended, Tsonga received a standing ovation for several minutes from the audience present and also from his rival. In front of the eyes of the viewers and the broadcast, he knelt down and kissed the clay of the prestigious tournament for the last time before receiving a tribute from the president of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretonand the director of Roland Garros, Amélie Mauresmo.

Within the speech that he himself wrote on three pages, he explained the career of improvement he had in tennis. “In my life I have had to deal with those who told me that I would never amount to anything. I proved the opposite. One day he was a hero, another a villain, another day he was a white man, another a black son of a Congolese”, declared in front of the spectators who stayed for the tribute. And he closed with an emotional phrase: “Thank you all, it was a great adventure”.

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* Roland Garros tribute video for Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried retires after having been one of the greatest references in French tennis in the last two decades. Despite never winning one of the four most important tournaments on the circuit, he was a finalist in Australia (2008) and a semifinalist in Melbourne (2010), Roland Garros (2013 and 2015) and Wimbledon (2011 and 2012), as well as winning the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy (2008) and Canada (2014), an Olympic silver in London 2012 and winning the Davis Cup with France (2017).

Tsonga goes through the front door of sport for being one of only three tennis players in history to have defeated Djokovic, Nadal and Federer when they were number 1 in the world and one of the three to win the ‘Big 3‘ Already Andy Murray in a Grand Slam. Precisely during the tribute, the organization of Roland Garros showed the personal messages of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray, who highlighted the charisma of the Frenchman in addition to his quality as a tennis player.

Another of those who dedicated a few words to Jo was Juan Martin del Potro with whom he also shared memorable battles within the circuit. “Thank you Tsonga for an immense career and so many years together!”wrote the Tower of Tandil seconds after the match ends. The emotions at Roland Garros were not lacking and the protagonist of the afternoon could not hold back the tears in repeated interventions before the impressive recognition that they made him along with his family and legends of the French sport.


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With information from AFP