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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the talented, charming and injury-prone Frenchman, has played in the French Open only once - way back in 2005. He’s making his long-overdue return to the terre battue this week, and with Gael Monfils injured (really?) and Richard Gasquet suspended, the crowd is sure to hang their hopes on the hardcourt-suited Tsonga.

Good thing Jo-Dub doesn’t mind the attention. In fact, he’s already planning a great big tennis orgy on Court Philippe Chatrier. Count me in, Jo! Here he is via Eurosport:

“I have an incredible desire to play, a desire that transcends everything. I’m excited at the idea of going on the court and giving my all.”

“It’s magic to know that whatever happens, people will be behind me. C’est magnifique. I don’t play tennis to fill my bank account but to fill the hearts of people.”

“The goal is really to get pleasure and give pleasure to people who will come to see me. I want to do something great here (at Roland Garros). For me it’s a unique tournament. If I could bring a touch of Jo, that would be cool.

“It would be fabulous to win a match in five sets. On center court, of course. At dusk. Anytime, really. Winning a match in five sets by doing something a little heroic, that would be top.”

Mon dieu, that may be the sexiest tennis press conference of all time! Here’s hoping Jo-Wilfried keeps his promises. I’m definitely curious about this “touch of Jo” stuff.

Tsonga will play countryman Julien Benneteau (blah! click here) in his first round. From there he’ll need all love the crowd can give him - his section of the draw includes Baghdatis, Monaco, del Potro and Djokovic. Bon courage, Jo!

Quotes via Eurosport - my translation from French.
Jo-Wilfried hopes to charm Roland Garros with his game and his smile. Photo FFT via

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Comment by Mark Oskar on May 31, 2009 at 1:19pm
Nice post - Tsonga is awesome for tennis...This guy has loads of character and a game to go with it.
Comment by Meags on May 28, 2009 at 11:56am
Tsonga in 4, I was wrong but Im happy he's through........
Comment by Mark / The Mayor on May 27, 2009 at 11:24am
BTW, great post Freaky!
Comment by Mark / The Mayor on May 27, 2009 at 11:24am
I really hope Tsonga can make a run. I hear JW's favorite surface is not clay - makes me wonder how you grow up on the stuff, but do not prefer it... I love Tsonga's personality and the quotes above illustrate that perfectly. He is a fresh personality, very welcome on the tour.
Comment by FreakyFrites on May 27, 2009 at 10:27am
Hey Richard! Yeah, I agree, that was one of the tastiest possible early round match ups when I saw the draw. I'm a fan of both so I hope for a good one. I wonder if the crowd will help pull Tsonga through.
Comment by Meags on May 27, 2009 at 6:48am
He played great, what a big forehand, but Im afraid there's only problems ahead in the way of Juan Monaco, one of the most consistent clay courters around, my money is on JWT losing in 4............

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