French world number seven Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has withdrawn from the Millennium Estoril Open with a knee injury. Tsonga had struggled with the knee issue before, but seemed ready to go for Estoril, after opting to take the week of this week instead of playing in Barcelona.
Estoril tournament director on Tsonga's withdrawal
Millennium Estoril Open tournament director João Zilhão discussed the disappointing withdrawal of the tournament's top seed.
"Jo-Wilfried Tsonga communicated to us his dropout, highlighting physical problems that have been affecting him," said Zilhão. "Unfortunately, as we have seen with some frequency this year, it is a situation that happens and we have to respect the decision of the players, to preserve their physical condition. He was eager to come and play the new tournament in the heart of Estoril and had even praised the tournament campaigns, in which he was included. However, he confessed to us not being able to give 100 per cent, even if beginning to play only on Thursday".
Tsonga's recent injury-plagued year
Tsonga began his 2015 having to withdraw from the entire Australian swing and the Australian Open due to a forearm injury. After being un-successful in making a return in Indian Wells, the Frenchmen returned in Miami, where he reached the third round. Tsonga struggled through much of the European clay court season, before making an out of no-where, fairytale run to the last four at Roland Garros. After enjoying a career best result at the French Open, injury struck Tsonga again, with an abdominal injury forcing the former Australian Open finalist out of grass court lead-up events in Nottingham and Halle. Tsonga finished out the year relatively injury-free, looking good to go in 2016.
The world number seven began his 2016 season at the ASB Classic in Auckland, making the semifinals before falling to Roberto Bautista Agut. Tsonga followed that run up with a fourth round showing in Melbourne, before mediocre quarterfinal and opening match losses in Buenos Aires and Rio respectively. After playing a Davis Cup rubber against Canada, the Frenchmen made the quarterfinals of Indian Wells, before a disappointing third round loss in Miami.
Troublesome knee issues in Monte Carlo
Most recently, the former Australian Open finalist made a semifinal run in Monte Carlo, before falling in lackluster fashion to compatriot Gael Monfils. After falling 6-1, 6-3 to the eventual finalist, Tsonga said on knee pain during the tournament: "Well that particular moment, everything was going well for me. I felt good. Yesterday during the match against Roger, I felt something in my knee. Since the beginning of the week, thanks to the medical service, I was feeling good. Except yesterday, I had a little thing."
Tsonga followed up on the knee injury when asked about if it affected him in the loss to Monfils by saying, "Not at all. That's what I was saying. It's thanks to the medical staff. When I came here in the tournament, it was hurting a little. Dr. Patrick Coudert and his staff really helped me a lot this week, and I really would like to congratulate them. If you could talk about it, it would be great because they were fantastic."
Tsonga's upcoming tournaments
Next for the Frenchmen is the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL D'Italia in Rome. With just a week before Madrid starts, Tsonga will need to rehab his knee and get ready to the fast, high-altitude conditions in the Spanish capital, before venturing to the slow clay courts of Rome. After the two back to back Masters 1000s, the Frenchmen will head to Paris for his home Grand Slam, the French Open.