It has been a long time since the home crowd at Roland Garros witnessed a home-grown player win the national grand slam, but after Jo Wilfried-Tsonga upset Roger Federer in straights to reach the semi-finals, this year just may be their year.
The two have been involved in some incredible matches in the past, most notably Tsonga’s remarkable comeback at Wimbledon in 2011 from two sets down to win 3-2.
Tsonga will now face David Ferrer for a place in the final in search of a grand slam on home soil that has eluded the French for 30 years.
It definitely isn’t a factor that France do not have a lot of good tennis players, they in fact have 12 players in the top 100, only Spain have more representatives in the top 100. [As of Wednesday 5th June 2013]
However the French crowd at Roland Garros haven’t seen a home-grown champion since Yannick Noah in 1983 and are starting to wonder when it will ever happen again.
Tsonga, now 28, has recently hit his peak in the past few years reaching his best positions in each of the grand slams: the semi-final of Wimbledon in both 2011 & 2012, the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2011 and this year reaching the semi-final of Roland Garros for the first time.
But it’s not hard to see why Tsonga hasn’t won a grand slam as yet simply because of the reign that Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and, most recently, Andy Murray have had on tennis for the past decade now.
Tennis fans will most likely never see a golden era quite like this one ever or at least not for a very long time.
But something is clearly going extremely well for Tsonga in this year’s Roland Garros as not only did he beat Roger Federer, he beat him in straight sets and in doing so has reached the semi-finals without dropping a single set along the way.
If he does battle his way past the seasoned veteran in David Ferrer then he will still have to most likely battle off either the world number 1 Djokovic or the returning Rafael Nadal in the final.
He has already seen off one of the modern greats and holds a strong rivalry with Djokovic that has seen the Frenchman victorious on five occasions, and he has also beaten Nadal on three occasions, so there is hope.
First he will have to contend with David Ferrer who he has only managed to beat once out of the three previous battles, but Tsonga will have his mind totally set on redemption for healing 30 years of hurt without a home champion at Roland Garros.
With the backing of the home nation, Tsonga will find some extra strength, just like Andy Murray managed at the Olympics last year. Every shot the crowd will be behind him to hopefully spur him on to the Roland Garros grand slam.