Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bids emotional farewell to tennis after retiring following French Open exit

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga called time on his 18-year professional career following a first-round defeat at the French Open.

The 37-year-old announced in April that he would be retiring at the end of his home Grand Slam after battling injuries in recent years - a back problem kept him out for almost the entirety of 2020.

He has not won a match since February but arrived at Roland Garros, where he reached the semi-finals in 2013 and 2015, looking to find some magic to finish his career with. It threatened to materialise too, as he took the first set against Casper Ruud in front of a raucous Philippe Chatrier crowd.

A problem with his right shoulder visibly hampered Tsonga thoughout the match and the Frenchman could barely serve late in the fourth set, as the eighth seed wrapped up a 6-7 7-6 6-2 7-6 victory.

Tsonga was unable to win a point in that final tie-break and had tears in his eyes as he served for the last time as a professional, after a long delay as the crowd rose to their feet to give him one final ovation.

After the match, the former world number five’s family and friends joined him on court, before a video was played with messages from players including Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Tsonga said after the match: “Today is a big day. A day that I say goodbye. I’d like to thank everyone that has come with me on this adventure.

“I had the luck and the opportunity to do all of this. It’s been amazing to be part of a wonderful generation of French players.

“I wanted to show resilience from a young age. I’ve had fabulous days and some that have not been so good. I’m now standing in front of you without my racquet, along with my best friends of 30 years.

“My family are now my priority. Thank you tennis. I love you.”

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