Simon Reed

Guest blog: Winogradsky on Tsonga

Simon Reed

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In the
second of our series of guest blogs, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's coach, Eric
Winogradsky looks to give some insight into the character of the world number

Jo-Wilfried you see on the court and the one I know off it don't really have an
awful lot in common.

Off the
court Jo is cool and composed and a great person to be around. But that doesn't
mean to say that he doesn't know what he wants.

Before a
big match or when he's trying to win a title he has this ability to get in the
"zone" as they say in sport at the highest level these days. He needs that
adrenalin rush when he's playing just as much as he needs peace and quiet when
he's not. And he's not someone who beats himself up about things.

When we
started working together he wasn't able to separate his everyday life from his
tennis so we needed a little bit of time to get the blend right. All that was
because he thought he was in the elite when his ranking said something else. He
was just moping around at these minor tournaments he was playing in.

So when we
went back to square one I was finally able to see the real Jo. He's someone who
can do fantastic things on the court and in everyday life, a very laid-back and
loyal person who attaches a lot of importance to values like friendship and
loyalty, values that his parents instilled in him.

Jo has
very fixed ideas about what he needs to do to keep on progressing. And so, like
any couple, we have our disagreements. Most of the time, and this is something
that I feel is very important, I prefer us to discuss things rather than have a
fight about it, and that's something he appreciates too.

He likes
having a good argument but not a fight, and when he comes round to your point
of view he's prepared to give something a try, once at least. In any case I
think it's good to have convictions and to stand up for them. But when you're
wrong about something, you have to be intelligent enough to admit it. And
that's the case with Jo.

always been very mature. He used to see himself as a champion before he
actually became one, and you might have thought that he was big-headed. He
wasn't though. And he quickly showed everyone that he really did have the
potential to break into the elite group of players at the top.

one little story that illustrates all that. We were in Beijing in 2004 and Jo had just qualified for
an ATP tournament for the first time. Then, in the first round he gets drawn
against the number one seed Carlos Moya. I was a bit disappointed about the
draw because I could see him getting through a few rounds against other
opponents. But Moya was the world number six at the time.

Even so, Jo just said to
me, "Too bad for Carlos Moya". And though he was ranked 209 on the Tour, he
went out and beat him. So there you go, that's Jo for you.

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