Jo-Wilfred Tsonga’s hopes of claiming a maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this January have suffered a big blow after the Frenchman limped off court during his Hopman Cup exploits with a hamstring injury.
Tsonga was representing France in a singles clash against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson when he overstretched for a shot in the later stages of the three-set match. Although he went on to win the tie 7-6 7-6 it was clear Tsonga was in discomfort over the final rallies and was lucky there wasn’t another set to play.
It appeared the 27-year-old,, who is fifth favourite in the Australian Open Odds
, was fit enough to play the doubles match later in the day alongside Mathilde Johannson, yet just three games into the second set Tsonga withdrew through serious pain.
“I don't know exactly what I have, but I felt something during the singles,” he told reporters. “It was a bit short between the singles and the mixed doubles and I didn’t have time to know exactly what it was.
“It was a bit sore during the mixed doubles, so for me it was better to quit. I didn’t have time for some medical exams, but I cannot take a risk.”
The hurt not only sees him out of Sydney, which begins on 7 January, but also puts his chances of playing in the Australian Open
in doubt. For a hamstring injury is a major muscle to recover from in just 11 days and because of Tsonga’s powerful playing style he needs to be 100% fit if he is to take the Melbourne crown.
Indeed, should he enter the tournament even slightly injured he will have little chance of making it past the quarters and may even be the same fourth-round casualty he was in 2012.