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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tsonga Believes A Frenchman Won't Win Roland Garros

Many people have noted that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bears a resemblance to the great boxer Muhammad Ali. The quote I read from the website suggesting that Tsonga believes that a Frenchman cannot win the French Open is furthest thing from resembling the ultimate self-believer, Ali.

Tsonga's quote from (story is at

"Let's be clear, there is no chance that a French win Roland Garros," he told reporters in Rome. "There is no inevitability in my comments. It's just an observation. But not to be able win a Masters 1000 clay, then a Grand Slam seems impossible."

While there is always an issue in translation when a player speaks in a second language, it is clear that Tsonga has little belief that he or any of his compatriots can win their home Slam. How disappointing. A male French player has not won the championship since Yannick Noah in 1983. For the tennis enthusiasts in France I hope that other French players like Gael Monfils do not believe in Tsonga's prediction.

Even if you are thinking this - why say it? To take all expectations off yourself? Not sure that this is the way. Any glimpse of a lack of focus or effort and the French media will be on Tsonga's case. Tsonga has set a self-fulfilling prophecy - you don't think you are going to win? Guess what? You are not going to win.

The only hope for the French faithful is that Tsonga can find the belief as he goes through the tournament. If he can post a big win over a top 10 player that might be enough to enhance his belief in himself on clay. However, when you take this kind of mental approach into a big tournament you will struggle. Especially on the red clay of Roland Garros that requires more patience than the big swinging Tsonga is used to having to wield.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in last year's French Open despite having a two set lead. Tsonga showed a lack of focus for large portions of those last three sets and did not step up when he had a chance to win the match. You can probably trace this back to Tsonga's lack of belief at the French Open. When you don't believe you get lost in a match. Your focus will come in and out. Heck, this happens when you do believe, but for sure your mental game is likely to hurt you when you don't believe. My advice - Tsonga needs to hit the reset button and begin to believe in his chances. Otherwise, France will almost assuredly go another year without a French champion.

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