A few minutes after the ceremony in tribute to her husband, defeated this Tuesday by Casper Ruud, Noura El Shwekh, wife of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, gave us a few minutes of interview, her 5-year-old eldest son in her arms. Too small, he does not know that his champion dad retired at the age of 37.
How do you feel now that your husband is retired?
NOURA EL SHWEKH. I feel a certain relief, not because he is no longer a tennis player, but because, for me, he had the match he dreamed of. Of course I would have preferred that he spared himself the small injury at the end but, otherwise, it was a perfect outing. He surprised himself playing like this, I don’t think he expected it.
Did he apprehend this last match?
This is his great strength and it is for this reason that he has gone far in tennis. Jo is not someone who ruminates and projects too much. He always enjoys the present moment. When I asked him if he was thinking about that last day, he replied that he didn’t want to have any expectations. He said to me: “I don’t want to think about it, I want to let myself be carried away. He didn’t redo this moment 150 times in his head before living it.
Was he hoping for a ride?
He would obviously have dreamed of winning another match. Only, when I saw him finish limping, struggling to serve, I wondered how he would have done if he had had a next turn. He couldn’t have given us a match like this. Really, I think it was the right time to quit.
In your opinion, what trace will he leave in tennis?
During the ceremony after the match, all the great players said it well: Jo made an impression. He is a charismatic person who has inspired many people, he has helped them find strength in their lives.
Will he know the little death of the champion who is retiring?
He will inevitably have a little slump, because tennis has animated his life since his childhood. He will have to find a new rhythm. Nevertheless, he was never someone who was afraid to quit. He chose when it had to happen and, above all, he wanted to. It’s not a forced stop. Physically and psychologically he was tired. It was time for it to stop.
How will finding it just for you change your lives?
Jo is a careerist who likes to work a lot, so I would be surprised if I found him for myself. What makes me happy is above all that I will no longer see him suffer, have so much trouble going to training and doing everything according to tennis. I’m happy to find him calm.