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Cult tennis hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga broke down in tears as he bid an emotional farewell in front of the French Open crowd during the final match of his career.
The former Australian Open runner-up says he ‘couldn’t have asked for a better script’ as he retired from the sport in a first-round losing effort to Norwegian Casper Ruud.
The 37-year-old Frenchman announced that the French Open would be his last tournament as a professional player.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ends his career with a 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 2-6, 6-7() defeat to Casper Ruud.— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) May 24, 2022
But not without a reminder of some of the ebullience and brilliance that made it so memorable.
And the heart 💔 pic.twitter.com/kFqhMmxsiz
Following his retirement game, Tsonga said: “It was pure madness today. One of the best atmospheres I have seen in my career, and it’s my last match.
“I couldn’t have asked for something better. I couldn’t have asked for a better script, apart from the fact that I could have won.”
Tsonga took the opening set to Ruud to delight the crowd at Court Philippe Chartier, however, his opponent claimed the next two sets.
Tsonga had suffered injuries throughout the latter part of his career and it was a shoulder injury that hampered the final part of his match up against Rudd.
The Frenchman led in the fourth set, but had to call for a trainer and a medical time-out after he wasn’t able to serve out due to an injury to his right shoulder.
Tsonga broke down in tears as he wasn’t able to bring the tie back, seeing Ruud overcome the retiring player.
Tsonga said: “When I was about to serve and I realised I couldn’t put my arm up, then I called for the physio. But I thought, ‘I’m going to stay on the court and finish off this match.’
“I wanted to finish this way, on the court, to do my best, injured or not.
“In any case, there would have been no second match, because I left everything on the court today.”
A video tribute of the former world number five’s greatest career highlights played out for the stadium following the match.
Tsonga enjoyed his retirement ceremony as family, friends and players gathered on the court.
Tsonga continued: “I really enjoyed it. They are all very happy, because I finally managed to cry.
“Well, it’s a moment that is going to be in my memory, but it’s so quick when you’re in it.
“It’s difficult to live the moment that you’re living. My eyes were all over the place. I didn’t really know where to go. When I watch the images again afterwards I will be very moved.”
Tsonga lost the 2008 Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic, and went on to reach the semi-finals at both French Open and Wimbledon.
He won two Masters championships in 2008 and 2014.
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