Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: “If I Have To Break My Two Ankles To Win, I Will Do It”
by Tom Gainey | November 27th, 2011, 10:21 am

In his last match of the season, charismatic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga says he will leave it all out on the court today in his first career ATP World Tour Finals title match against Roger Federer.

“I will give everything,” Tsonga said. “If I have to break my two ankles to win, I will do it for sure. But I know it’s the last match so I will give it everything. I know right after that it’s the party, so it’s good.”

He and Federer are meeting for the third straight Sunday and the Swiss has won five of seven this year, seven of ten overall.

“You know what I expect? I expect to win, of course,” he joked. “It’s all the time really exciting to play against Roger. It’s going to be really special here, you know, for my first final here. It’s going to be amazing atmosphere I think on the court, and I like that. I’m sure I will respect Roger a lot and play my best tennis.

“Sometimes it depends a lot of the level of Roger. If he’s playing well, you know, it’s difficult.”

Tsonga was able to beat Federer in a Wimbledon stunner, overcoming a two-set deficit to win. But Tsonga is putting more weight on their final meeting today.

“I think it’s going to be better because it’s a title anyway,” Tsonga said. “There is the eight top player in the world in this tournament. You know, win this one, I take part of something, something really good, because we can see each name, you know, on the trophy. They are all, you know, big champion. So if I can reach them, it’s going to be amazing for me.”

Tsonga is trying to become the first Frenchman to ever win the ATP World Tour Finals.

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9 Comments for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: “If I Have To Break My Two Ankles To Win, I Will Do It”

Kimmi Says:

ha ha, if tsonga wins today, it will be the biggest title for him. he is won 250s, 500s, 1000s. WTF is next?

Love tsonga, i think next season he could win the big one. he has really improved mentally, which was lacking. Good luck to him.

jane Says:

Great quote. Good luck to Jo. It has certainly been his best year since 2008. He has been in a number of semis and finals, but just hasn’t gone the last step or two. He is a little like Muzza that way. Maybe they will both win slams in 2012. But ever since getting rid of his coach after the FO, Tsonga has been revived.

grendel Says:

Tsonga is much tougher than Murray – injury permitting, I’d back him before Murray to win a slam. Rusedski thinks he should now get a coach. Down with Rusedski!

jane Says:

His big match record isn’t so great though. He has lost a few finals this year, now. And he usually stalls at the QFs and Semis of slams. That is the similarily I was trying to draw with Muzza. Andy M has been in three slam finals, Tsonga in one. So not sure how that proves Tsonga is tougher.

grendel Says:

It doesn’t, and Tsonga wasn’t. He’s changed, anyone can see that. Murray hasn’t. As of now, I’d reckon Tsonga to be incomparably the tougher player when the chips are down. Up to Murray to change that.

jane Says:

He does seem to be tougher now, marching to his own drum, ever since he sacked his coach. Looking forward to seeing how it plays out in 2012. I would disagree with Rusedski in this case too.

As for Murray being or not being tougher, going to wait on that too. I would like to see him in another big match situation after he showed such tremendous play at the end of this year, but especially versus Rafa in Tokyo. Hard to say how that will translate going forward because Muzza kind of fizzled out after that due to injury, when so many of us thought he would win WTF.

Definitely Tsonga has risen and Murray and Fed had great post–USO results while Rafa and especially Nole faded.

DC is intriguing for me because it could show and suggest the rise of Delpo or maybe it will be a huge boost to Rafa going into 2012.

grendel Says:

I think Murray’s trouncing of Nadal in Tokyo says nothing about his toughness. What it told us is what we already knew, that Murray is extraordinarily talented and that, on a given day,he can wipe the floor with anyone, especially over 3 sets.

What we need to see is Murray giving a convincing performance in a slam final or possibly semi; not necessarily winning, but at least looking as if he is prepared to end up in hospital before he concedes defeat. Murray has said that he likes to express himself on court, and that’s fine. But too often, this self-expression comes across as defeatist. I understand that and kind of identify with it. But it’s not the kind of thing you associate with the champion mentality.

jane Says:

I just thought he showed some mettle, for e.g., in the second set; after he broke Rafa, he went down love-40. Now, at times that would be a sure-fire sign that Murray might give the break right back. But he hung tough and held serve, went on to win that set, and blank Rafa in the final set. He never let up in that final – other than perhaps a bit of a slow start. There were no concentration lapses or grimaces or anything. Perhaps that is because he was in the zone play-wise but arguably that wasn’t until the third set.

You make a strong point about it being best of three though grendel. We need to see him maintain that kind of composure against top guys in a best of five.

I have seen Murray fight tooth-and-nail in best of fives, but not necessarily in semis or finals of slams. He fought Ferrer well to get to the finals of the AO though, and I still remember a tremedous match between Delpo and Murray on Andy’s run to the USO final in 08, so he can do it, for sure. Hopefully, he puts it all together next year.

grendel Says:

“I just thought he showed some mettle, for e.g., in the second set; after he broke Rafa, he went down love-40.” That is true, that was the turning point of the match – and it gives the lie to my exaggerated claim. Even so, I don’t believe it materially alters matters.

That Murray is generally a dogged and stubborn player is surely true. He is known amongst friends and acquaintances for being relentlessly competitive. My sister once told me that her husband had never once let their son beat him in games like clock golf; this kind of compulsive competitiveness, certainly in this chap’s case, shows a certain brittleness of temperament rather than strength. And I think – but do not of course know – that this applies a bit to Murray.

In that Nadal match, even when not in the zone, Murray was undoubtedly feeling very good. He had just given a thrilling display against Ferrer, and he only lost the first set because he carelessly gave away the first game. One commentator, Tignor perhaps, speculated that might have been due to the high expectations bearing on Murray – not least in his own head – following the Ferrer match. It was my impression that for the rest of the first set, Murray was somewhat superior.

In these circumstances, you can see how the iron might have entered Murray’s soul when down those 3 break points. He just knew he was in top shape – no way was he going to let Nadal back in – this was his day. And so it proved.

I don’t think the delPo match counts. del Potro was absolutely exhausted in the match you refer to, and was nearly put away in straights. DelPotro was virtually staggering about the court, and somehow he dragged himself back into the match. A win by him would have been out of the fairy books.

What we need to see from Murray is a steady, grim determination to see it through when things aren’t going so well, when his game isn’t quite on song and so on. That’s what we see from the great ones, including your man Djokovic. First, they battle with and defeat the demons within. Then they turn their attention onto the geezer across the net.

It is in this area that I think Murray lacks credibility. Of course, he is not helped by the nature of his game – he can’t blast people the way Djokovic and Nadal and even Federer can.

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