As soon as Casper Ruud’s remarkable speech for his opponent, Marc Maury, the Roland-Garros announcer, announced the color. “We weren’t going to let him go like this“, he smiled. So, “Jo” found himself in the middle of the court, alone. It only lasted a while. In turn, his former coaches, his teammates in the France team, his close friends, his parents, his wife, his children: all came to join him under the cheers of a Central seized by emotion.
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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gaël Monfils during the ceremony-tribute to the first, at Roland-Garros.
Credit: Getty Images
“One of the most charismatic players in history”
First there were flashbacks to his immense career, his victories against Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in particular, his Grand Slam semi-finals and the highlights of an adventure like no other. Then, it was the “Big Four” who wanted to salute the former world number 5. “Jo is one of the most charismatic players in history“said Novak Djokovic, a word also used by Rafael Nadal in his regard.”I’m sad to see him go but we’re getting old, it will happen to all of us“, smiled the Spaniard again, triggering the smiles of the Central. Then it was Roger Federer who advised him to “enjoy the moment, on this court, with your supporters and everyone“. So, Tsonga did it.
After hugging each of the people who entered the court, he took the microphone to close the page on these 705 career matches. “Today is a big day for me, the day to say goodbye to my lifelong companionhe began by reading a “little” paper he had prepared. I have never looked behind me, I allow myself to thank each person who accompanied me in this human adventure“.
From Jo the champion to Papa Tsonga
After thanking all his relatives, and generally all those who supported him in this adventure, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also spoke of his relationship with the media, half fig half grape, between unjustified criticism and learning at the highest level. But all this no longer matters: on this day, Tsonga changed jobs, to become a full-time father.
“I am now here in front of you, without my racket which will have been my best friend for 30 yearshe concluded. Becoming a dad reshuffled the cards in my life. My family becomes my priority again and I hope that the world will calm down as I am today. Thank you Roland, thank you Mr. Tennis. I like you“. The ovation granted by Philippe-Chatrier was up to the man and the player: immense. In the middle of a 4th set which he was in the process of knocking down before injuring himself, a spectator had shouted at him: “make us dream“. Before another, a few seconds later, completes: “have fun“. Mission accomplished.
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