RESIGNATION Jo-Wilfried Tsonga broke down in tears in front of an enthusiastic French Open crowd BEFORE losing the final match of his career.
The Frenchman was Court Philippe-Chatrier’s favorite despite being beaten 6-7 7-6 6-2 7-6 by Norwegian party spoilsport Casper Ruud in the first round at Roland Garros.
Tsonga, a former world No. 5 and winner of 18 career titles, brought down the curtain on a stellar 18-year career but could hardly contain his emotions at the closing points of this memorable competition.
Switching ends after almost four hours on the pitch and serving unsuccessfully to stay in the game, Tsonga had to wipe his tears away.
When the result was announced – and the atmosphere was unbelievable the whole time – he received a long standing ovation from his compatriots.
The 37-year-old, who required medical treatment for a shoulder injury, was given a hero’s welcome by enthusiastic tennis fans.
There was a special presentation after the game as he was joined on the pitch by his mother and father, his wife Noura and two children, siblings, friends, former coaches and other French players.
Tsonga said: “I want to thank everyone who has accompanied me on this wonderful adventure, supported me every day and allowed me to remain the person I am today.
“My family is my priority and I hope the world will be kind to them. Thank you Roland Garros, thank you tennis, I love you.”
Tsonga was unlucky to have played in a generation that boasted outstanding, legendary male tennis stars – in any other era he would certainly have won multiple Slams.
He reached the final of the Australian Open in 2008, where he was beaten by Novak Djokovic in Melbourne, and was a two-time semi-finalist at the French Open and Wimbledon between 2011 and 2015.
The runner-up at the 2011 ATP Finals also won the Davis Cup with France in 2017 and was an Olympic silver medalist in men’s doubles in London in 2012.
In a special video message, the Le Mans-born ace was praised by the biggest names in tennis with specific contributions from Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray.
Murray, 35, said: “I wanted to wish you a happy retirement and also congratulate you on an amazing career.
“You have achieved so much with so many highlights.
I’m sad to see him go… we’re getting old
“A real ambassador for the sport. I’ve always loved watching you play and competing against you. You will only be missed.”
Djokovic, 35, said: “I was very happy to share the court with him many times. We get along very well.
“He’s a really nice guy. He has brought a lot of positive attention and popularity to our sport.
“Not only because of his dynamic playing style, but because of his charisma, his personality.
“It is a great loss to professional men’s tennis that he is retiring. He left his mark and legacy on our sport.”
Spaniard Nadal, 35, said: “Jo is very charismatic. I’ve known it since we were kids.
“He’s a good guy, he brings a lot of positive things to our sport. I’m sad to see him go. But we’re getting old.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5412395/retiring-jo-wilfried-tsonga-tears-french-open-losing/ Watch Jo-Wilfried Tsonga burst into tears in front of the ecstatic French Open crowd BEFORE losing his last game ever