By Richard Kent
NEW YORK — He is now 32 years old and once was dubbed as a player with unlimited potential. He has never done better than a semifinal finish in a Major, yet has been ranked as high as fifth in the world.
He has won over $20 million dollars in prize money. He is one of only three players to own victories in all the Majors against Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
That’s the conundrum of Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a nutshell.
Tsonga enters this year’s Open as the No. 9 seed, largely because of the number of injuries which have beset the men’s field. Out are the likes of Milos Raonic, Novak Djokovic and 2016 men’s singles winner, Stan Wawrinka.
It’s not like Tsonga has not had a very good year. His singles record stands at a lofty 25-8. He has won 3 titles but has been inconsistent, to say the least.
He opened the year by beating No. 23, American Jack Sock at the Australian. He fell to Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, in a match marred by a shouting contest.
Tsonga won at Rotterdam over highly regarded, David Goffin and won the 2017 Open 3, for the third time.
He also won Lyon, in an exciting final over Tomas Berdych, but was a first round loser at the French Open.
Tsonga is one, if not the best athletes in the Open field. He was a quarterfinalist in 2011, 2015 and 2016. He enjoys the surface and is a big crowd favorite.
Tsonga, who now resides in Switzerland has a child and is in the twilight of his career. A big finish at the Open would do wonders for him in 2017.