The Flying Frenchman

A lot is being written about Rafa, Novak and Murray, and Tsonga is sort of being treated as the also ran, but he is one of my favorites.  First of all the name  “Tsonga”.. its musical, rolls off your lips like a song.  Second, the smile.. lights up his face like a high wattage bulb and makes you want to smile along with him.  When he wins, he dances around the court, when he looses, he  congratulates the winner warmly.

I love the fact that when the fans cheered him as he left the court after losing to Nadal, he looked up and let that smile lighten up the stadium.  So unlike other’s who I won’t mention who sulk off the court looking down and angry like a child who has just been reprimanded.

In the post match interview one of the reporters commented on how Jo-Wilfried had caught the hearts of the Wimbledon crowd to which he replied, ” If you give to them, they give to you”  so true. I love this quote, someone should make a shirt with this Tsonga sentiment.  JW is a player who always gives 1000 percent, who never gives up and who has an air of likability about him.  I mentioned this to the photographer sitting next to me and he replied, “yes, he’s the kind of guy who you’d like to have a beer with”.

Ask what he particularly likes about the grass court-court game, Tsonga answered, ” Maybe you can dive.  Yeah, because this is the only surface you can really dive, because on the other, if you dive you go directly to the hospital.  So this is good.”  And dive he did.  this semi-final match against the now number one player in the world, Novak Djokovic was full of more thrills, spills, splits and dives that you see at Barnum and Baily.  I don’t know if the grass was particularly slippery, but both players were slipping and sliding as they were playing on the red clay of Roland Garros.  
There was one point in the third set where both players fell, and then were able to get up and continue the point totally amazing.  It was hard to take photos, I just wanted to watch the play. During another rally  Tsonga dove twice and Djokovic once while on another point, after both dived, the two lay on the ground looking at each other as if they both decided to take a rest .I’m giving you this link so you can see this point for yourself.  Trust me you will be amazed and entertained.  http://tennisplanet.typepad.com/blog/2011/07/incredible-points-djokovic-tsonga-semifinal-wimbledon-2011.html.
I knew going in that his was going to be a match full of good photos both players are very entertaining and give great images, but truthfully this match surpassed my expectations.
Born in Le Mans France to a French mother and a Congolese father, Jo-Wilfrieds father moved to France to become a professional handball player, so perhaps this is where the Muhammad Ali look-alike gets his athletic ability.
His website logo is “Impossible is Nothing”  This is attitude has brought him through years of hard times with injury and illness,  let’s hope that the 26-year-old can stay healthy and that we’ll see a lot more of him in the future.

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