Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost this Tuesday in the first round of Roland-Garros against the Norwegian Casper Ruud, world number 8 and very recent winner of the ATP 250 in Geneva. The Frenchman lost the 705th and last game of his long and successful career, which allowed him to accumulate 22.5 million euros in earnings. Tsonga lost in 4 sets (6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6), ending down with a shoulder injury.
Falling back to 297th place in the world, the 37-year-old former Australian Open 2008 finalist put an end to his career at the same time. We will no longer admire him on a court, thumbs in the back to savor a victory. We will never see the smile of the colossus manceau who was world number 5 just 10 years ago.
The former winner of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, when the three geniuses were all number 1 in the world at that time, is bowing out. We will say of him later that he was one of the greatest champions of French tennis. History will probably do him that honor.
We knew for a few weeks that he had decided that this Roland-Garros 2022 would be his last tournament. It was the perfect place to say goodbye and thank you. Tsonga probably just wanted to be able to prolong the pleasure a little longer. But by offering him a world top 10, the draw did not offer him this chance.
A real fight for his last
It was 1:30 p.m. when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga entered the Center court, which was half full at this early hour of the afternoon. The new retiree still received the ovation he deserved before the stands filled up little by little and finally caught fire to pay him a last tribute. Leaving with your head held high was “Jo’s” mission and the challenge was not easy. Many predicted him a defeat in three sets against a Norwegian in full swing and 13 years younger than him. It was bad to know the Cassius Clay of the yellow ball winner of the first set 7-6 (8 points to 6) without ever flinching.
In black and white outfit, Tsonga therefore did his best, as he did during his 18-year career. He fought like a lion, his fist raging on his winning points. The old beast did not want to fall without glory, without a final pirouette. He therefore gave the young Norwegian a hard time throughout the afternoon by winning the first set in just over an hour of play. Rebelote in the second set, once again decided in the decisive game. But this time in favor of the Norwegian. We had been playing for two hours then and the duel was intense.
The future retiree nevertheless began to show signs of fatigue in the fourth set. Ruud took off (4-1 then 5-2) before winning the third set 6-2. At 1-2, it felt like the end for Tsonga at that time. The old beast has not abdicated so far. He fought over and over every ball to make the fun last a little longer. But the big book of Roland-Garros will remember that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga definitively left the scene on Tuesday May 24 shortly before 5 p.m., beaten in four sets and in more than three hours by Casper Ruud after a sacred battle. He even ended up diminished by a shoulder injury, losing the final tie-break 7-0.