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Tsonga: I’ll have to close that chapter

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Originally published on: 06/06/12 00:00

For a second it looked like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would be the unlikely man to end Novak Djokovic’s hopes of holding all four Grand Slams at one time. But sadly for the fifth-seeded home favourite, it will be up to someone else to try and derail the nerveless Serb.

The 27-year-old Frenchman slipped to an agonising 6-1 5-7 5-7 7-6 6-1 defeat after the world No.1 climbed out of a hole at two-sets-to-one down to save four match points and sneak the fourth set on a tie-break. And after seeing Djokovic run away with the decider, Tsonga admitted he went through a host of varying emotions.

“I was tired, frustrated, disappointed," he said. "You get all kinds of feelings going through your mind. You want to break your racket. You want to shout. You want to cry. You want to laugh and say: 'Oh, come on, that's a joke. How could I lose this match?'"

Tsonga, who beat Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Fabio Fognini and Stanislas Wawrinka to reach the quarter-finals in Paris for the first time, had never before been beyond the fourth round in any of his four previous appearances at his home Grand Slam.

The Le Mans-born right-hander drew criticism from some of his countrymen a few weeks back when he predicted that no Frenchman would win the French Open this year, but defended the comment after leaving Philippe Chatrier with his head held high.

“I said that [a Frenchman wouldn’t win] and I was not wrong,” he said. “Same question will be asked next year and the answer will be the same. And as long as none of us wins it, we won’t be able to claim we can win it. That’s all.”

Despite the nature of his sixth defeat in his 11th career meeting with Djokovic, Tsonga plans to move on quickly.

"At the end I had no energy left in my legs. That's it. That's the way it is. I'll have to close that chapter and start practicing on grass," said the world No.5, a dangerous entity on grass after reaching the final at Queen’s Club last year and the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

"I will try to remember this match and this loss so I have more confidence in tournaments like Wimbledon. Because if I can hurt top players on clay, I can do worse on grass."

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