Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retires after emotional French Open exit

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stepped out onto the court for the final time as he lost in the first round of the French Open to Casper Ruud in four sets on Tuesday.

The two-time semi-finalist had announced his intention to retire from the game earlier this year, and the Grand Slam would mark his last tournament as a competitive player.

Tsonga got off to a strong start against eighth seed Ruud, though, and even took the first set courtesy of a well-executed smash in a tense tie break.

However, the 37-year-old was then hampered by a shoulder injury later on in the contest – by which point Ruud had turned the match around to lead 2-1 ahead of the fourth set.

Tsonga carried on after a medical timeout, but his issue continued to plague him, and he failed to pick up a single point in the tie-break that won Ruud the match.

The former world number five nearly let his emotion get the better of him as he served for the final game in front of a raucous crowd, and the tributes poured in after his 7-6 [8-6] 6-7 [4-7] 2-6 6-7 [0-7] defeat.

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all paid tribute to Tsonga in a video displayed on the big screen, and the Frenchman highlighted the importance of “resilience” throughout his career after his swansong.

“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,” Tsonga said on the court.

“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.”

Tsonga retires having won 18 titles on the ATP Tour, as well as reaching one Grand Slam final at the 2008 Australian Open – losing to Djokovic in four sets.

Daniil Medvedev pictured at the French Open on May 24, 2022© Reuters

Elsewhere on day three, Daniil Medvedev barely broke a sweat to defeat Facundo Bagnis 6-2 6-2 6-2 – setting up a second-round tie with Laslo Djere in the process.

However, Denis Shapovalov suffered an early exit at the hands of Lyon Open semi-finalist Holger Rune, who prevailed 6-3 6-1 7-6 [7-4] over the Canadian.

Former champion Simona Halep was blown away by lucky loser Nastasja Schunk in the second set of their battle, but the 2018 winner still made it through via a 6-4 1-6 6-1 success.

Wednesday sees the Brits back in action with Cameron Norrie and Emma Raducanu, while Djokovic, Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz Garfia and Leylah Fernandez will also take to the court.

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