Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (French pronunciation: [ʒo wilfʁid tsɔŋɡa]; born 17 April 1985) is a French professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 15 in men's singles by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He was born in Le Mans, to a Congolese father, Didier Tsonga, who moved to France in the 1970s to play handball, and a French mother, Évelyne. Tsonga is a member of the Tennis Club de Paris (TCP). His career-high singles ranking is world No. 5, which he achieved in February 2012.
Tsonga rose to fame by virtue of his performance in the 2008 Australian Open when, as an unseeded player, he reached the final, having defeated four seeded players along the way, including a straight-sets win over world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Tsonga eventually lost to the world No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the final in four sets, after winning the first set; it was the only set Djokovic dropped during the tournament.
Tsonga followed this up by winning his first ATP Masters Series championship at the 2008 Paris Masters, thus qualifying for the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, China. His best performances in a major tournament since 2008 are semifinal appearances in the 2010 Australian Open, the 2013 and 2015 French Opens, and at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2012. He also reached the final of the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals, where he lost to five-time and defending champion Roger Federer. He achieved his second Masters Series win at the 2014 Canadian Open, defeating four top ten players on the way to victory, including Djokovic, Murray, and Federer. On top of his Masters Series victories, Tsonga also reached the final of the 2011 Paris Masters and the 2015 Shanghai Masters — losing to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively. To add to this, he won the 2009 Shanghai Masters doubles title with partner Julien Benneteau. In 2017, Tsonga helped France to their first Davis Cup win in 16 years after previously being beaten in 2014.
He has reached the quarterfinal stage of all four Grand Slams. He is also the first and one of only three players (the others being Tomáš Berdych and Stan Wawrinka) to have Grand Slam wins against each of the Big Four (namely Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray).
Early and personal life
Tsonga's father, handball player Didier Tsonga, is from Congo, and his mother Évelyne is French. Jo's father moved to France during the 1970s to fulfill his dreams of becoming a handball great, where he eventually met Évelyne and they married. Tsonga is nicknamed Ali, because of his facial resemblance to the boxer.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has a younger brother (Enzo) who, much like Jo, has been inspired to play sports and is part of the French basketball program (junior). He also has an elder sister (Sasha) who is less involved with sporting ventures. His footballing cousin is Maël Lépicier who plays for Congo. Tsonga and Gaël Monfils developed a good friendship from a young age, when they enjoyed mimicking all the tennis greats of the past.
As a junior, Tsonga reached a ranking of No. 2 in the world and won the US Open title. He reached four other semifinals of junior Grand Slam events. Marcos Baghdatis was a rival of Tsonga on the junior tour.
Since late 2014, Tsonga has been dating Noura El Shwekh of Swiss nationality, who frequently accompanies him on the ATP tour. In November 2016, Tsonga announced the couple were expecting their first child.
2003-2006: US Open juniors title, turning pro and early career
Tsonga turned pro in 2004 and qualified for the China Open in September of that year. In his first ever main draw match, he upset former French Open champion and former World No. 1 Carlos Moyá in the first round, before losing to Lee Hyung-taik in the second.
Tsonga suffered a string of injuries beginning late in the same year, with a herniated disc that caused him to be out of action until March 2005. Then came two right shoulder injuries later in 2005, back and abdominal ailments from October 2005 to February 2006, and the recurrence of an abdominal injury at the end of 2006. In all, he played only eight tournaments during that time.
2007: Reaching the top 50 and first doubles title
In January 2007, then ranked No. 212 in the world, Tsonga received a wild card entry into the 2007 Australian Open, where in only his second senior Grand Slam tournament match, he met sixth seed Andy Roddick for the second time in his career. What followed was the longest tiebreak in Australian Open history in the first set, which he went on to win (20–18). Tsonga forced a tiebreak in the second set, as well. However, he went on to lose the match in four sets. He was just 21 at the time.
In 2007, he won four Challenger titles in Tallahassee, Mexico City, Lanzarote, and Surbiton. Tsonga qualified for the 2007 Queen's Club Championships, while at the same time playing in the Surbiton Challenger, which he won. Between the two events, he won five matches during the course of two days. In the second round of the Queen's main draw, he met the sixth seed and defending champion, former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, ranked No. 16 in the ATP rankings. Tsonga won the match after two tiebreaks to seal his most prominent victory since his triumph in ATP debut over former World No. 1 Carlos Moyà, then ranked No. 6 in the world, at Beijing in 2004. Suffering from fatigue, however, Tsonga went on to lose to promising Croatian youngster Marin Čilić in the following round.
At Wimbledon 2007, where he was again awarded a wildcard entry, he reached the fourth round (his first time past round one of a Grand Slam), defeating countryman Julien Benneteau, Nicolás Lapentti, and Feliciano López. His run was halted by his countryman and friend, 12th seed Richard Gasquet, in straight sets. He did not beat a seeded player in his progress to the fourth round (Andy Murray, the potential seed he would have faced, had dropped out). The win brought his ranking up from No. 110 to No. 74, his first time inside the top 75.
The 2007 Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon tournament started strongly for Tsonga. He beat Vince Spadea, Richard Gasquet, and Olivier Rochus, before losing to compatriot Sébastien Grosjean. He partnered Grosjean, however, in men's doubles, where the team was awarded a wildcard. They beat top seeds Julien Benneteau and Michaël Llodra, Fabrice Santoro and Gilles Simon, and then third seeds Arnaud Clément and Nicolas Mahut in the semifinals. Tsonga won his first doubles title, and Grosjean won his first doubles title in three years by defeating Łukasz Kubot and Lovro Zovko in straight sets.
By the end of the year, Tsonga saw his ranking rise over 150 ranking spots into the top 50. Tsonga began 2007 ranked No. 212 in the world, and in early July was in the top 100 at No. 74. In October, Tsonga climbed into the top 50 for the first time in his career, finishing the year ranked no. 43 in the world. Tsonga's year-end 169 ranking spots climb was the biggest climb of any player ranked in the top 75.
2008: Maiden Grand Slam final, first Masters title and Top 10
Starting his 2008 season, Tsonga won a singles match at the 2008 Next Generation Adelaide International. He defeated Victor Hănescu and Ernests Gulbis before dispatching Lleyton Hewitt (the top seed). However, he fell in the semifinals to Jarkko Nieminen. In doubles, Tsonga and Sébastien Grosjean lost to Florian Mayer and Chris Haggard in the first round.
Tsonga began his 2008 Australian Open campaign with a tough first-round match against ninth seed Andy Murray and pulled off a four-set victory. Tsonga then defeated Sam Warburg and Guillermo García-López, Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Youzhny to reach the semifinals. In the semifinals, Tsonga delivered a strong performance and shocked second seed Rafael Nadal in straight sets. He did not face a break point on his serve until the third set, while breaking the Spaniard five times in the match. The victory earned him a spot in his first Grand Slam final, where he was beaten by world no. 3 Novak Djokovic in four sets. Tsonga was the only player in the tournament to take a set from Djokovic. Following the tournament, he saw his ranking climb to a career-high of world no. 18.
Tsonga then competed at the Indian Wells Masters, where he reached the fourth round, before losing to defending champion Rafael Nadal in three sets. Following the tournament, Tsonga saw his ATP ranking climb again to a new career high of world no. 12.
Tsonga pulled out of the French Open because of a knee problem that lasted for several months. This knee injury made him pull out of the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup, France vs. the United States. He underwent successful knee surgery and participated in the 2008 US Open. He defeated Santiago Ventura and Carlos Moyà, before falling to world no. 5 Tommy Robredo in the third round.
Tsonga entered the Thailand Open as the second-seeded player. He defeated Lukáš Dlouhý, Jürgen Melzer, Gaël Monfils, and top seed and 2008 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic to claim his first career ATP title. At the Paris Masters, Tsonga overcame Djokovic once again to earn a place in the quarterfinals. He then defeated Andy Roddick and James Blake. In the final, Tsonga defeated David Nalbandian in a competitive three-set match to capture his first career ATP Masters Series championship. His win allowed him to secure a spot in the year-end Tennis Masters Cup.
2009: First ATP 500 Series title and Shanghai Masters doubles champion
Tsonga started his 2009 season in Australia at the Brisbane International tournament. He defeated Agustín Calleri, Jarkko Nieminen, but lost to Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals in three sets. Tsonga teamed up with fellow Frenchman Marc Gicquel to win the doubles title by defeating Fernando Verdasco and Mischa Zverev in the final. The duo had beaten Travis Parrott and Filip Polasek, Simon Aspelin and Pavel Vizner, and Mario Ancic and Paul-Henri Mathieu en route to the finals.
At the Medibank International, Tsonga was forced to retire with a back injury before his quarterfinal match against Jarkko Nieminen. He had received a bye in the first round, and had defeated Italy's Simone Bolelli in straight sets to advance to set up the clash with Nieminen.
The Australian Open found Tsonga making it to the quarterfinals, before losing to Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in four sets. His rank went down to No. 14. He next entered the South African Tennis Open in Johannesburg, where he won his first title of the year, and third overall, by defeating Jérémy Chardy in the finals. After his triumph in South Africa, Tsonga entered the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, where he lost to World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals in three sets.
Tsonga then entered the Open 13 in Marseille. He defeated Andrey Golubev, Simone Bolelli, and Feliciano López, before notching his fourth straight win over Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. In his second all-French final of the month, he defeated Michaël Llodra to win his second tournament in three weeks.
Tsonga was then called up to play the singles matches for France against the Czech Republic in their Davis Cup first-round clash. Tsonga defeated Radek Štěpánek, but the Czech Republic had an insurmountable 3–1 lead. Tsonga gave France a consolation point by beating Jan Hernych.
At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, Tsonga made an early exit from the tournament, as he was defeated by the Russian Igor Andreev in the third round. Next up for Tsonga was the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. He defeated Agustín Calleri, Robert Kendrick, and Gilles Simon, only to lose to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. After skipping two tournaments, Tsonga made his return at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, but he lost his first singles match in the clay-court season at the hands of Richard Gasquet. In doubles, he and partner Julien Benneteau lost to the Polish pair of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the second round.
Tsonga then represented France at Düsseldorf, Germany in the ARAG World Team Cup. Tsonga won the first tie against Sweden's Andreas Vinciguerra, but lost in doubles. Tsonga was defeated by German Philipp Kohlschreiber, but then beat American Robby Ginepri. However, France lost three successive ties during the week
Tsonga then entered the French Open. Tsonga recorded his first-ever match win at Roland Garros by defeating Julien Benneteau in the first round. He then had wins over Juan Mónaco and Christophe Rochus, before his fine run ended at the hands of fifth seed Juan Martín del Potro. Next up was the Gerry Weber Open, Tsonga suffered a straight-set defeat against German Tommy Haas in the second round. However, In doubles, Tsonga was paired with his French compatriot Marc Gicquel, but they were also defeated in round two.
Tsonga then entered Wimbledon. He survived a tough four-set against Andrey Golubev and received a walkover from Simone Bolelli, before losing to Ivo Karlović of Croatia. At the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C, Tsonga lost to the American John Isner in the second round. Tsonga made his debut at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada. He defeated Rainer Schüttler and Gilles Simon. In the quarterfinals, he overcame World No. 1 Roger Federer, coming back from an injury timeout after winning the first set by a dive-volley, as well as being 1–5 down in the third set. He advanced to the semifinals, where he lost to Andy Murray in straight sets.
At the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Tsonga made an early exit from the singles category, unexpectedly losing to World No. 124 Chris Guccione of Australia. In doubles, Tsonga and Michaël Llodra lost to Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles in the quarterfinals.
The US Open started well with victories over Chase Buchanan, Jarkko Nieminen, and Julien Benneteau. However, Tsonga lost to 11th seed Chilean Fernando González in the fourth round. Tsonga then represented France at the Davis Cup playoff round against the Netherlands. Tsonga defeated the Jesse Huta Galung Thiemo de Bakker in singles and, with partner Michaël Llodra, won in doubles over Thiemo de Bakker and Igor Sijsling, wrapping up the tie 4–1.
Tsonga then entered the PTT Thailand Open, where he was the defending champion and top seed, as Rafael Nadal withdrew just days before the tournament began. After two close matches, Tsonga crashed out to the young Serbian Viktor Troicki in the semifinals. Tsonga also competed in the doubles category with Fabrice Santoro, but they lost to Mischa Zverev and Guillermo García-López in the semifinals. At the Japan Open in Tokyo, Tsonga defeated Mischa Zverev, Richard Gasquet, Ernests Gulbis, and Gaël Monfils to reach the final. There, he beat Mikhail Youzhny in just over an hour to clinch his third title of the season and his first-ever ATP World Tour 500 title. In the doubles category, Tsonga paired with Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, but they were defeated in the second round.
Next up was a trip to China and the Shanghai Masters. Tsonga defeated Zeng Shao-Xuan, but lost to Robin Söderling in the third round. In doubles, paired with Julien Benneteau, Tsonga made it to the finals, where they beat sixth seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski to win their first-ever ATP Masters 1000 doubles title. After two disappointing tournaments at Lyon and the Valencia Open, Tsonga entered the Paris Masters, where he was the defending champion. He had wins over Albert Montañés and Gilles Simon, but lost to World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Tsonga ended his 2009 season staying in the top 10 for the second year in a row.
2010: Australian Open semi-finals and Davis Cup runner-up
Tsonga switched his rackets to Babolat (previously using Wilson) and started his 2010 season at the AAMI Kooyong Classic, after recovering from a wrist injury. After two wins and a walkover, he lost to Fernando Verdasco in the final. At the 2010 Australian Open, Tsonga beat Sergiy Stakhovsky, Taylor Dent, Tommy Haas, and Nicolás Almagro. In the quarterfinals, he beat world no. 3 Novak Djokovic, in his second five-set match. Tsonga's fatigue soon took a toll on him, however, as he was badly beaten in the semifinals by no. 1 Roger Federer.
Tsonga then entered Open 13 in Marseille, France. He had two wins, but lost against Julien Benneteau in the semifinal, ending his title defense. Despite plans of not playing at the 2010 Dubai Tennis Championships, he accepted a wildcard and became the fifth seed in the tournament. He had a win against Michaël Llodra, who retired due to injury, but then struggled with form and lost to Ivan Ljubičić in the second round. The Davis Cup was next against Germany. In the singles, Tsonga helped France take an unassailable 3–0 lead, by winning the second-rubber match against Benjamin Becker, but was forced to retire against Simon Greul due to a recurring injury.
At the 2010 BNP Paribas Open, Tsonga lost to Robin Söderling in the fourth round. He was seeded eighth at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. He beat Guillermo García-López, Philipp Kohlschreiber, and 12th seed Juan Carlos Ferrero, before losing to second seed Rafael Nadal, after blowing eight break-point opportunities. Tsonga then made his debut at the 2010 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. He had a win over Nicolás Almagro, but was edged out in an exciting match against Juan Carlos Ferrero.
After nursing an injury, Tsonga entered the 2010 Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell. After wins over Jan Hájek and Nicolás Almagro, he was stunned by Dutch youngster Thiemo de Bakker in the quarterfinals. Tsonga made it all the way to the quarterfinals at the 2010 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, but was beaten by 13th seed David Ferrer. At the 2010 Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, he was forced to retire in the opening round against Guillermo García-López.
Seeded eighth at the 2010 French Open, Tsonga defeated Daniel Brands, in five sets, Josselin Ouanna, and Thiemo de Bakker. Unfortunately, in the fourth round, Tsonga had to withdraw after losing the first set against Mikhail Youzhny, due to the progressive regional back pain from the previous round. Scans showed that Tsonga had sustained a right hip injury. In a tune-up event to Wimbledon, at the Boodles Challenge exhibition tournament, Tsonga had wins against Nikolay Davydenko and Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The All England Club was Tsonga's next stop, and he was seeded tenth. He had tough wins over Robert Kendrick and Alexandr Dolgopolov, before easier victories over Tobias Kamke and Julien Benneteau. However, in the quarterfinals, he eventually fell to home favorite Andy Murray in four sets. Not long after his Wimbledon campaign, Jo suffered a heavy knee injury. It caused him to withdraw from all the US Open Series events, including the US Open.
He made his return in October for his title defense at the 2010 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships as the third seed, but rustiness was apparent, and he lost early to Jarkko Nieminen. Entering the 2010 Shanghai Rolex Masters 1000 as the 12th seed, Tsonga had wins over Feliciano López, Sam Querrey, and Florian Mayer, before losing in the quarterfinals in straight sets to eventual champion Andy Murray. He then entered the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, but lost against Viktor Troicki in the second round. A week later, Tsonga made a semifinal appearance at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, but was beaten by Gaël Monfils for the first time.
During the week in Montpellier, Tsonga re-aggravated his knee problem. He missed the Paris Masters, as well as the important French Davis Cup final against Serbia. It was a tough end to the season for Tsonga, as he finished the season outside the top 10 for the first time in three years, compiled a 31–16 win-loss record (his worst tally since 2007), and failed to reach a single final during the season.
2011: Wimbledon semi-finals, World Tour Finals and Paris Masters runners-up
Tsonga started his ATP season with an exhibition tournament at Abu Dhabi. However, Tsonga suffered a loss to Robin Soderling, but later told the press that being out of tennis for several months last season has made him hungry and determined.
At the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, he defeated Rubén Ramírez Hidalgo, Sergei Bubka, and Guillermo García-López, before losing to Roger Federer in the semifinal. The AAMI Kooyong Classic had Tsonga losing early to Jürgen Melzer. Tsonga then entered the 2011 Australian Open. After a thrilling win over Philipp Petzschner and breezing past Andreas Seppi, Tsonga lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov in five sets. The third round exit marked Tsonga's worst performance at the Australian Open since 2007.
Tsonga then participated in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He defeated Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, Michaël Llodra, and Ivan Ljubičić to reach his first final since winning the Japan Open in 2009, but lost there to Robin Söderling. At the Open 13 tennis tournament, Tsonga lost to Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the quarterfinals. A day later, he declared that he had sustained another ankle injury, which again put him out of Davis Cup action against Austria. Tsonga fell in the opening round at the 2011 BNP Paribas Open.
At the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open, as the 15th seed, Tsonga's poor form continued. He managed to get a win over Teymuraz Gabashvili, but fell to Alexandr Dolgopolov in a match that lasted two days. Afterwards, Tsonga announced that he and his longtime coach Éric Winogradsky had decided to part ways after working together for seven years. At the 2011 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, he had a win over Juan Mónaco, but was beaten by Ivan Ljubičić in round two. Then came a first-round loss at the 2011 Estoril Open. Tsonga then found some form at the 2011 Mutua Madrid Open, beating first-time top-10 debutant Nicolás Almagro, before losing to Robin Söderling in the third round. At the 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, he beat juniors rival Marcos Baghdatis, but lost to Roger Federer in the second round.
Tsonga was 19th seed heading into the French Open. He beat both Jan Hájek and Igor Andreev in straight sets and made it to the third round, where he was defeated by 14th seed Stanislas Wawrinka. At the 2011 Aegon Championships in London, Tsonga received a first-round bye, then beat Michael Berrer and world no. 1 Rafael Nadal, while moving through to the semifinals for the first time in a grass tournament. In the semifinals, he defeated British wildcard James Ward, but he let slip a healthy lead into a disappointing loss against Andy Murray in the final. Just 24 hours later, he arrived at the 2011 Aegon International in Eastbourne as the top seed. In his opening round, he defeated Denis Istomin, but, apparently fatigued, he lost to Radek Štěpánek in round two.
At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, he defeated Go Soeda, Grigor Dimitrov, Fernando González, and David Ferrer. In the quarterfinals, he stunned the Centre Court crowd by coming from two sets down to defeat Roger Federer. This handed Federer his first loss in a Grand Slam after leading two sets to love, while handing Tsonga only his second win in coming back from two sets down. In the semifinals, however, despite serving for the first set and saving three match points in the third-set tiebreak, he eventually lost to second seed and eventual champion Novak Djokovic in four sets.
At the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Tsonga defeated Fabio Fognini, Bernard Tomic, Roger Federer, and Nicolás Almagro, to set up a Wimbledon semifinal rematch against Novak Djokovic. After trailing 4–6, 0–3, Tsonga retired due to an arm problem. At the 2011 Western & Southern Open, Tsonga defeated Marin Čilić, but lost to American qualifier Alex Bogomolov, Jr.. At the US Open, he defeated Lu Yen-hsun, Sergei Bubka, Fernando Verdasco, and Mardy Fish. He again met Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, but this time Federer swept him aside in three sets.
Tsonga teamed up with Michaël Llodra to notch an impressive victory over Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano López in Davis Cup play against Spain, but then was crushed by Rafael Nadal in his fourth singles rubber, as France lost the tie against Spain 1–4. Tsonga played at the 2011 Open de Moselle, where he was the top-seeded player. He defeated Mathieu Rodrigues and Nicolas Mahut, and in the semifinals he ended a two-match losing streak against Alexandr Dolgopolov. In the final, Tsonga fought past Ivan Ljubičić in three sets to win the tournament; his first title in almost two years since his triumph in Tokyo.
Tsonga, again as a top seed, played at the 2011 China Open for the first time since 2007. He opened with wins over Grigor Dimitrov, Zhang Ze, and Juan Carlos Ferrero. As expected, his semifinals match against Tomáš Berdych was extremely difficult. Berdych took the first set and Tsonga the second, but Tsonga could not withstand Berdych's growing confidence in a three-set loss. Tsonga was fourth seed for the 2011 Shanghai Rolex Masters. Tsonga lost his first match to Kei Nishikori. Vienna was the next destination for Tsonga in the 2011 Erste Bank Open. Victories over Jarkko Nieminen, Xavier Malisse, and Daniel Brands set up a final against Juan Martín del Potro. The first set was tight with del Potro taking it in a tie-break, but Tsonga prevailed in sets two and three for his second title of the season.
Just two days after his victory in Vienna, Tsonga played his first-round match at the 2011 Valencia Open 500 as second seed. He lost in round two to Sam Querrey. As expected, the home crowd warmed to Jo from the start of the 2011 BNP Paribas Masters. Tsonga had wins over Guillermo García-López, Andreas Seppi, and John Isner, which set up a final against Roger Federer. Federer stormed through the first set and then won a tiebreak in the second to take the title.
As a result of his exploits in the Paris Masters, he qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Tsonga fell to Federer, beat Mardy Fish, and defeated Rafael Nadal to make it to the semifinals. A win over Tomáš Berdych sent Tsonga to the finals of the year-end championships for the first time in his career. In the final, Tsonga fought bravely, but came up short once again against Roger Federer. Tsonga finished the year matching his 2008 career-high ranking of world no. 6.
2012: Second Wimbledon semi-final, world No. 5 and Olympic Silver in doubles
Just before 2012 began, Tsonga participated in the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament in late December 2011, where he lost a match against David Ferrer. Tsonga then began his 2012 season at the 2012 Qatar Open as third seed. Three wins set up a meeting against Roger Federer in the semifinals. However, Federer announced an unexpected withdrawal from the tournament due to a back problem, which gave Tsonga a walkover into the final. In the final, he won against Gaël Monfils and was named champion of the 2012 Qatar Open. Jo-Wilfried then played in the 2012 AAMI Classic exhibition tournament and lost the two matches he played.
A week later, Tsonga had wins over Denis Istomin, Ricardo Mello, and Frederico Gil to make the round of 16 at the 2012 Australian Open. However, against Japanese rookie Kei Nishikori, Tsonga lost a close five set match. Tsonga took some time off before entering the 2012 Open 13. Two routine wins placed him in the semifinals against Juan Martín del Potro, where he lost in three sets. Next on the calendar was the 2012 Dubai Tennis Championships. Tsonga, seeded fourth, defeated Marcos Baghdatis and Lukáš Rosol, but lost once again to del Potro.
The first Masters Series of the season, the 2012 BNP Paribas Open was disappointing. A retirement by Michaël Llodra and a win over Radek Štěpánek preceded a loss to David Nalbandian, after holding a match point. At the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open, four easy wins paved the way to a quarterfinal encounter with Rafael Nadal. Tsonga fought hard, but it was not quite enough, as Nadal battled to a three-set win.
In Davis Cup play, Tsonga beat Ryan Harrison and lost to John Isner. France was eliminated from the event. The start of the clay-court run was next at the 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The results were wins against Philipp Kohlschreiber and Fernando Verdasco and a loss against Gilles Simon. The 2012 BMW Open yielded a first-round loss to Tommy Haas. The 2012 Mutua Madrid Open was similar, with a second round loss to Alexandr Dolgopolov. The 2012 Internazionali BNL d'Italia followed. Two solid victories against Viktor Troicki and Juan Martín del Potro set up a loss to top seed Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
Tsonga's French Open 2012 started off in shaky fashion after dropping the first set to Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov. However, he closed out the match and then had wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Fabio Fognini, and Stanislas Wawrinka. In the quarterfinals against Novak Djokovic, he lost in five sets. The grass-court season began with the Aegon Championships. He defeated Britain's Jamie Baker, but was ousted by Ivan Dodig in three extremely tight sets. He also suffered a finger injury during the match after diving in an attempt to retrieve a ball.
In the days leading up to Wimbledon, it was announced that he had a severely sprained finger, but would still compete. This proved to be a good tournament for Tsonga, with wins over Lleyton Hewitt, Guillermo García-López, Lukáš Lacko, Mardy Fish, and Philipp Kohlschreiber. He then faced Andy Murray for a place in the final, but despite managing to fight back to take the third set, Tsonga was ousted by the world no. 4.
The 2012 London Olympics was next up for Tsonga. His victory over Milos Raonic in the second round became the longest ever (in number of games played) at the Olympics. Fatigue, surprisingly, did not appear to affect Jo-Wilfried in the third round. He eased into the quarterfinals over Feliciano López, but lost to world no. 2 Novak Djokovic. In the men's doubles event, Tsonga represented France alongside Michaël Llodra. The pair won their opening match against Argentinians David Nalbandian and Eduardo Schwank, and followed it with a win over India's Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan. They faced the Brazilian duo of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares in the quarterfinals, and earned a two set victory for a semifinal berth. In a marathon encounter, they won their next match against the Spaniards López and David Ferrer, 18–16 in the third set. In the finals, they faced the top seeded Americans Mike and Bob Bryan, but lost in straight sets, thus winning the Olympic silver medal.
Jo-Wilfried's Rogers Cup campaign was an extremely short affair with a second-round loss to fellow Frenchman Jérémy Chardy. He also crashed out in the second round of the 2012 US Open, after a defeat by No. 52 Martin Kližan. After a short break for recovery, Jo was back in France for the 2012 Moselle Open. Tsonga rolled to a semifinal berth with Russian Nikolay Davydenko. The Frenchman had never beaten Davydenko in two previous attempts, but made sure that run was not extended to three with a tight three-set win. The final was an easy two-set win over Andreas Seppi, Tsonga's ninth ATP career title.
At the 2012 China Open, Tsonga had a bye, a win, and a walkover before beating Mikhail Youzhny in the quarter-finals. An easy win over Feliciano López advanced Tsonga to his third final of the year. World no. 2 Novak Djokovic was his opponent. Djokovic pulled away in the second, taking the match in two sets. Tsonga continued his year with the 2012 Shanghai Masters. He had wins over Benoît Paire and Marcos Baghdatis, but he lost in the quarterfinals to Tomáš Berdych in straight sets. The busy schedule continued in Stockholm. Tsonga cruised past Go Soeda and Sergiy Stakhovsky in the opening rounds, and had Baghdatis retire against him after a close semifinal match. This set up a final against Tomáš Berdych – the second time in two weeks. Despite being a set and a break up, Jo-Wilfried succumbed to fatigue and personal pressures and lost in three sets.
At the Valencia Open, Tsonga retired against Xavier Malisse. The Race To London was almost decided. Jo-Wilfried needed a quarterfinal appearance in Paris to secure it for certain. Tsonga came through an extremely tight encounter with Julien Benneteau and then beat Spaniard Nicolás Almagro; though Jo-Wilfried fell to David Ferrer in the quarterfinals, his win over Almagro secured his place in the ATP World Tour Finals. The Tour Finals found Tsonga with a new coach, Roger Rasheed. Novak Djokovic was his first round-robin opponent and Tsonga lost in two sets. Two more losses to Tomáš Berdych and Andy Murray ended his season.
2013: French Open semi-finals and tenth ATP title
Rather than entering an ATP-recognised event, Jo-Wilfried opted for the 2013 Hopman Cup, where he was paired with Mathilde Johansson. France first faced Spain. Tsonga defeated Fernando Verdasco, but Johansson lost her singles, and the pair lost the doubles. Tsonga next played USA. Jo demolished John Isner, but in similar fashion, Johansson lost to Venus Williams, and the pair lost to the Americans in the mixed doubles. Lastly, France faced South Africa. Tsonga beat Kevin Anderson, before Johansson lost to Chanelle Scheepers, and the pair was forced to retire in the doubles with Jo-Wilfried injured. France finished bottom of their group, but despite the injury, Jo was declared fit for the 2013 Australian Open, where he reached the quarterfinals but lost a thrilling five setter against Roger Federer.
In Rotterdam, he made a surprising first-round exit against young Dutchman Igor Sijsling. Tsonga then played in the Open 13 in Marseille. In the quarterfinals, Tsonga saved five match points to edge Bernard Tomic, and then rolled over his countryman Gilles Simon in the semifinals. In the final, Tsonga saved a match point and overcame top seed Tomáš Berdych in three sets for his 10th ATP World Tour title.
At the French Open, Tsonga gained a decisive straight-set quarterfinal victory against Roger Federer, making Tsonga the first French player to reach the semifinals since Gaël Monfils in 2008, as well as only the second player after Rafael Nadal to have beaten Federer at both Wimbledon and Roland Garros. Tsonga was then defeated in straight sets by David Ferrer.
Following a run to the semifinals at Queen's, where he lost to the eventual champion, Andy Murray, Tsonga then competed at Wimbledon, where he was a two-time semifinalist. He retired in the second round against Ernests Gulbis. He missed the entire North American swing, including the US Open for the second time in four years, due to the injury.
Tsonga then made a comeback at Metz, reaching the final but losing to compatriot Gilles Simon. At the 2013 BNP Paribas Masters, Tsonga was the eighth seed, but lost his first match to Kei Nishikori, thus ruling him out of contention for the ATP World Tour Finals and capping off a disappointing season for the Frenchman.
2014: Hopman Cup champion, Rogers Cup trophy, and second Davis Cup final
Tsonga started his season winning the Hopman Cup with compatriot Alize Cornet. In the fourth round of the 2014 Australian Open, he lost to longtime friend and rival Roger Federer in straight sets, despite not dropping a set in the first three rounds. Tsonga's next tournament was the Rotterdam Open. He reached the second round before falling to Marin Čilić in two tight sets. Tsonga reached the final of 2014 Open 13 losing to Ernest Gulbis. At the 2014 Dubai Tennis Championships, he was defeated by Tomáš Berdych. At the 2014 Indian Wells Masters, he suffered a first round exit against Julien Benneteau. He was defeated by Andy Murray in the fourth round of the 2014 Sony Open Tennis.
Tsonga reach in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters but was defeated by Roger Federer. He was defeated by Santiago Giraldo in the second round of the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open in straight sets. He was defeated by Milos Raonic for the first time in three meetings at the Rome Masters third round. In French Open, he made to the fourth round, losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets (6–1, 6–4, 6–1).
Tsonga began his grass court season by reaching the 3rd round of the 2014 Aegon Championships. He was stunned by Marinko Matosevic in straight sets. He then advanced to the fourth round of Wimbledon after a tricky first and second round against Jürgen Melzer and Sam Querrey, both taking him to 5 sets. He fell to two-time champion and longstanding rival Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
Tsonga showed excellent form in Toronto, winning his second Masters title by defeating Roger Federer in straight sets. Tsonga won the crown capturing four wins over top-10 players, a first at a Masters-1000 event in twelve years. Impressively, Tsonga defeated three of the Big Four in a single tournament, capturing victories over Novak Djokovic in the third round, Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, and Federer in the final. His semi-final win was against Wimbledon semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov. He was beaten by Andy Murray in the fourth round of 2014 US Open in straight sets. After that, Tsonga was instrumental in driving the French Davis Cup team into the finals of the 2014 Davis Cup by winning both his singles and doubles matches. He was given the top seed at the Moselle Open at Metz, France where he opened his bid for a third title at the tournament by winning in straight sets against Gilles Müller. He was then defeated by David Goffin in the quarterfinals.
2015: Second French Open semi-final and Shanghai Masters runner-up
After a quiet, injury-hit start to the season in which he did not play at the Australian Open, Tsonga began his 2015 campaign at Miami, where he beat Tim Smyczek in his first match, but lost out to compatriot Gael Molfils in the second round. He reached the third round at the next two Masters 1000 events, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and the Mutua Madrid Open, losing out to Marin Cilic and Tomáš Berdych respectively.
Tsonga reached his second French Open semifinal and sixth overall at Grand Slam tournaments, with wins over fourth seed Tomáš Berdych and fifth seed Kei Nishikori in the fourth round and quarterfinals respectively. In the semifinals, he was defeated by eighth seed and eventual champion Stan Wawrinka, in four close sets.
Tsonga played at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships and won the first two rounds before losing out to Ivo Karlovic in the round of 32 in four sets. He then played for France at the Davis Cup tie against Great Britain; he lost his match against Andy Murray and France went on to lose the rubber 3–1. Tsonga lost to Murray again in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Rogers Cup, having previously beaten Bernard Tomic, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Borna Ćorić.
Seeded 19th at the 2015 US Open, Tsonga beat Jarkko Nieminen, Marcel Granollers, Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Benoît Paire to reach his second US Open quarterfinal without dropping a single service game. He then lost to the defending champion Marin Čilić in a tightly contested five-set match. Tsonga came back after losing the first two sets and saved three match points in the fourth to force a decider.
Tsonga won his twelfth singles title and third at the Moselle Open in Metz, France with a victory over compatriot Gilles Simon in a hard-fought three-set final match. Tsonga entered the 2015 Shanghai Rolex Masters ranked no. 15 in the world, and reached the final beating Kevin Anderson and Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. He lost the final to Novak Djokovic, but despite the loss, re-entered the world's top 10.
2016: Wimbledon and US Open quarter-finals
Tsonga began the 2016 season at the Auckland tournament. As second seed he was exempt from the first round. He played against German Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second and won in two sets, followed by a tight two-set victory against Fabio Fognini. In the semifinals, he lost in three sets against Roberto Bautista Agut after leading much of the match and missing a match point. He began the Australian Open by winning in four sets against Marcos Baghdatis, then beat the young Australian Omar Jasika in three sets before overcoming compatriot Pierre-Hugues Herbert, also in three sets. In the fourth round, he was defeated in three sets by seventh seed, Kei Nishikori.
He then played in the 2016 Argentina Open, where he was the third seed. Tsonga was beaten in the quarterfinals in straight sets by Spaniard Nicolás Almagro. Following the Argentina Open, he played in the Rio Open, where he was beaten in the first round by world No. 338 Thiago Monteiro. Tsonga, along with Gaël Monfils, Gilles Simon, and Richard Gasquet, represented France in the 2016 Davis Cup World Group First round where France beat Canada 5–0. Tsonga played both singles, beating Frank Dancevic (who retired during the match), and doubles alongside Richard Gasquet, beating the Canadian doubles team in straight sets. Tsonga was the seventh seed at the Indian Wells Masters tournament and was exempt from the first round. Tsonga won his first match, beating countryman Vincent Millot and then faced 31st seed American Sam Querrey, defeating him in straight sets. Tsonga's followed up with a straight sets win against Dominic Thiem and reached his second quarterfinal at the tournament (the first being in 2013) where he was beaten by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. In the Miami Masters, Tsonga was beaten in the third round by Roberto Bautista Agut.
At the Monte Carlo Masters, Tsonga made it to the semifinals stage, where he was beaten in straight sets by countryman Gaël Monfils. In that quarterfinals, Tsonga beat third seed Roger Federer. This was his first top-10 win of the season. It was also the sixth time that he has beaten Federer in 17 matches. Tsonga was scheduled to play in the Estoril Open, but he withdrew with a knee injury. He played in the 2016 Madrid Open, where he was beaten in straight sets by Canadian Milos Raonic. Tsonga withdrew from the Italian Open with a muscle strain.
Tsonga, the sixth seed, retired with an adductor muscle injury from his French Open third-round match against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis when he was leading 5–2 in the first set. This injury also forced Tsonga to pull out of the 2016 Aegon Championships. Tsonga took part in Wimbledon, where he lost in the quarterfinals to the second seed Andy Murray in five sets, after holding three set points in the first set and having a break point at the start of the final set.
After helping France to a Davis Cup win against the Czech Republic, Tsonga crashed out in the second round of the Rio Olympics. This was followed by a surprise round of 16 loss to Steve Johnson in Cincinnati. The US Open saw a turn in form for Tsonga, reaching the quarterfinals, following wins against Guido Andreozzi, James Duckworth, Kevin Anderson and Jack Sock. The Frenchman eventually succumbed to injury and fatigue against Djokovic, having lost the first two sets comfortably. The final grand slam of the year preceded a quarterfinal appearance in Shanghai, eventually losing in two tight sets to Bautista Agut, a run to the final in Vienna, falling short against world number two Andy Murray, and finally a quarterfinal loss to Milos Raonic at the Paris Masters. Jo-Wilfried ended the season with a ranking of 12.
2017: Inconsistency, Four ATP Titles and Davis Cup triumph
At the Australian Open, Tsonga defeated No. 23 seed Jack Sock and unseeded Dan Evans in the third and fourth rounds respectively, both in four sets. He then fell to No. 4-seeded Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals in straight sets, marking Tsonga's best result at the tournament since his 2013 quarterfinal run.
In February, Tsonga won the Rotterdam singles title, beating David Goffin in the final in three sets to earn his first ATP World Tour singles title since the 2015 Moselle Open in Metz in September 2015. Seven days later, Tsonga won his 14th career singles title and his second singles title of the year on the ATP World Tour, by defeating Lucas Pouille in the final of the 2017 Open 13 to become the Open 13 singles champion for a record third time.
Struggles with injury and the birth of his first child had a significant impact on Tsonga's activity in the ensuing months. A first round loss to Fabio Fognini in Indian Wells, withdrawal from the Miami Masters, a first round loss in Monte Carlo to compatriot Adrian Mannarino, a second round withdrawal in Madrid and withdrawal from the Rome Masters were huge setbacks after an exciting start to the year.
However, the end of May saw a return to winning ways for Tsonga as he cruised to a third title of the season in Lyon. Wins over Carlos Berlocq, Karen Khachanov and Nikoloz Basilashvili set up a final against perennial foe Tomáš Berdych. A straight sets win saw Tsonga lift his first career title on clay, as he improved to a 15-11 record in ATP finals. After struggling to string wins over the Summer and the early Autumn, Tsonga returned to the winner's circle in October, defeating Diego Schwartzman in straight sets to capture his fourth title of the year at the 2017 European Open in Antwerp. In November, Tsonga along with Lucas Pouille, Pierre Hughes-Herbert and Richard Gasquet helped France to capture their 10th Davis Cup and first in 16 years. They defeated Belgium in the final with a score of 3-2
Tsonga vs. Djokovic
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's most famous rivalry is against Novak Djokovic. They have met 22 times with Djokovic leading 16–6, including 6–1 in the Grand Slams. Their first meeting was in the final of the 2008 Australian Open; Djokovic and Tsonga had defeated the top two players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their respective semifinals in straight sets. Djokovic won this match in four sets to win his first Grand Slam singles title. Tsonga then won their next four meetings, before Djokovic stopped the streak at Miami in 2009.
Their next meeting at a Grand Slam was again at the Australian Open, in the 2010 quarterfinals, exactly two years to the day since Djokovic defeated Tsonga to win his first Grand Slam singles title. However, this time it was Tsonga who prevailed, winning in five sets after Djokovic fell ill during the match. It was not until another year and a half until they met again, with the stakes even higher, in the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2011, with the winner advancing to his first Wimbledon final. It was their first meeting on grass, and Djokovic prevailed in four sets to advance to his first Wimbledon final, and in the process ending the seven-and-a-half-year reign of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings. At the 2012 French Open, Tsonga and Djokovic met again in an important match, in the quarterfinals. After losing the first set, Tsonga rallied to take the next two sets and held two match points on Djokovic's serve in the fourth set before the Serb fought back to force a tie-break. Despite the Frenchman's saving set points in the breaker, Djokovic took one at the third opportunity. This forced a deciding set, which Tsonga lost after more than four hours of play.
They met again two months later at the Olympics, with Tsonga losing in straight sets in the quarterfinals. They met in the final of the 2012 China Open, with Tsonga again losing in straight sets. The pair were drawn in the same pool for the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals. Tsonga lost his first (of three) round-robin matches to Djokovic. It was his fifth loss to Djokovic in 2012.
They then met in the third round of the 2014 Rogers Cup, with Tsonga scoring his first win over Djokovic since the 2010 Australian Open with a straight-set victory. Prior to this victory, Tsonga had lost his last nine matches and 18 sets to Djokovic. Their most recent meeting was in the quarterfinals of the 2016 US Open, where Tsonga lost on a retirement after losing the first two sets.
Tsonga is known for his offensive baseline style of play but is also able to mix his style of play up by rushing to the net. He is also currently one of the very few remaining players who often utilize a serve-and-volley type of play. Tsonga's movement around the court is considered to be very good, considering his height. Tsonga is also known for his clutchness on serve, having saved 67% of the break points he faced in his career as of today, which ranks him in the 4th position among active players. His two weaknesses are his return of serve and to a lesser extent his backhand.
Tsonga's serve is one of his fastest, strongest and most dominant shots, mixing both slice and speed, so enabling him to create and win easier points, such as an ace or a one-two-punch. Because of the action of his serve, which is dramatically abbreviated, he does very well to create as much power as he does, with speeds of up to 147 mph (237 km/h).
To date, Tsonga has achieved his best results on hard courts, most notably at the Australian Open, where he made the final in 2008, the quarter-finals in 2009, 2013 and 2017 and the semi-final in 2010 (the Australian Open plays a Plexicushion Prestige surface). In his career on the ATP circuit, the majority of his final appearances have come on hard courts. On grass, he reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2012 and the quarter-final in 2010 and 2017; he also reached the final of the Queen's Club Championships in 2011. In general, Tsonga has struggled on clay, although his clay-court skills are improving, as evidenced by his 2012 season, where he reached the quarterfinals at the French Open, Monte-Carlo, and Rome. In 2013, he reached his two first clay court semi-finals of his career, first at the 2013 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he lost to Rafael Nadal, and at the 2013 French Open, where he lost to David Ferrer after beating world number three Roger Federer in the quarter-finals. He won his first gravel tournament at the 2017 Lyon Open.
Ground strokes and net-play
Tsonga is known for his aggressive groundstrokes. His forehand and backhand are both effective in setting up points. His powerful, heavy and accurate forehand is his most consistent shot, especially when delivered down the line. Although his backhand is generally not as strong as his forehand during the rallies, he is very capable of hitting attacking shots on his backhand wing. His net play is skillful, especially on attack. He can play both two-handed and one-handed backhand. He added the one-handed backhand to his repertoire midway through 2011 as was evident in his matches against Murray in the final of Queen's Club and against Federer in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Although rarely used as a groundstroke in a neutral rally, it is particularly effective as a passing shot down the line or cross-court.
During the off-season in 2009, Tsonga switched racquets from Wilson to Babolat. He was using Babolat AeroPro Drive + racquet, but recently changed to the upcoming racquet Babolat Pure Strike. His strings are LUXiLON Alu Power Rough strings. He is sponsored by Adidas for his attire.
Grand Slam tournament performance timeline
|Australian Open||A||A||A||1R||F||QF||SF||3R||4R||QF||4R||A||4R||QF||0 / 10||34–10||77.27|
|French Open||LQ||1R||A||A||A||4R||4R||3R||QF||SF||4R||SF||3R||1R||0 / 10||27–10||72.97|
|Wimbledon||A||A||A||4R||A||3R||QF||SF||SF||2R||4R||3R||QF||3R||0 / 10||30–10||75|
|US Open||LQ||A||A||3R||3R||4R||A||QF||2R||A||4R||QF||QF||2R||0 / 9||24–9||72.73|
|Win–Loss||0–0||0–1||0–0||5–3||8–2||11–4||12–3||13–4||13–4||10–3||12–4||11–3||13–4||7–4||0 / 39||115–39||74.68|
Grand Slam finals
Singles: 1 (1 runner-up)
|Runner-up||2008||Australian Open||Hard||6–4, 4–6, 3–6, 6–7(2–7)|
Year-end championship finals
Singles: 1 (1 runner-up)
|Runner-up||2011||London||Hard (i)||Roger Federer||3–6, 7–6(8–6), 3–6|
Masters 1000 finals
Singles: 4 (2 titles, 2 runner-up)
|Winner||2008||Paris||Hard (i)||6–3, 4–6, 6–4|
|Runner–up||2011||Paris||Hard (i)||1–6, 6–7(3–7)|
|Winner||2014||Toronto||Hard||Roger Federer||7–5, 7–6(7–3)|
|Runner–up||2015||Shanghai||Hard||Novak Djokovic||2–6, 4–6|
Doubles: 1 (1 title)
|Winner||2009||Shanghai||Hard||Julien Benneteau|| Mariusz Fyrstenberg|
Doubles: 1 (1 silver medal)
|Silver||2012||London||Grass||Michaël Llodra|| Bob Bryan|