Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hasn't had a coach since April 2011 but the world No.5 is content to go it alone, albeit while tapping in to the knowledge of those around him
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga laughed when he was asked at the Dubai Duty Free Championships for the latest news on his coaching situation. “There are two people inside me,” he smiled. “One coaches and one plays.”
The 26-year-old Frenchman is clearly in no hurry to appoint a new coach, having parted company with Eric Winogradsky in April last year. Tsonga had worked with Winogradsky for seven years, but has prospered ever since going his own way. He was world No.17 at the time of the split but has since climbed to No.5 in the rankings on the back of some excellent performances.
“I have some people who help me a lot off the court,” Tsonga said. “They're not with me all the time, but I know I can count on Guy Forget, my Davis Cup captain, who gives me a lot of advice. He has been good for me in the past and I think he knows a lot about tennis. Last year I had some advice from Andre Agassi and there are a lot of other people around me who give me advice.”
If Tsonga’s most eye-catching performance last summer was his victory at Wimbledon over Roger Federer, when the Swiss lost a Grand Slam match from two sets up for the first time, he enjoyed plenty of good results elsewhere. Tsonga won the titles in Metz and Vienna and ended the year with successive appearances in finals, firstly at the Paris Masters and then at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. He lost to Federer on both occasions.
Tsonga began this year by winning the Qatar Open, but suffered a surprise defeat to Kei Nishikori in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Last week he reached the semi-finals in Marseille before losing to the eventual champion, Juan Martin del Potro, after which he arrived in Dubai only hours before his first match. Despite having only half an hour’s practice, Tsonga beat Marcos Baghdatis 7-6, 6-4.