Contesting the final tournament of his 18-year professional career, the two-time semi-finalist treated his supporters to one final rollercoaster against Norway’s world number eight Casper Ruud at the French Open.
Serving to take the match to a deciding fifth set on Court Philippe Chatrier, the emotional Frenchman was hampered by injury as he ultimately fell to a 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-6 (7-0) loss in Paris.
He had tears in his eyes when tossing the ball for what he must have known would be his final serve and after a moment where he seemed to let it all sink in, he dropped to his knees and bowed his head into the clay.
Ruud took little joy in wrapping up the victory in the manner he was forced to, embracing his opponent at the net before paying tribute to a player he described as an “inspiration” in his post-match interview.
A ceremony was held on the main show court, with friends, family and fellow players joining Tsonga as a video featuring his career highlights and messages from Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, was played.
The 37-year-old has been plagued by injury in recent years, missing almost the entire 2020 season with a back problem, and last won a match in February.
The court erupted and the crowd rose to their feet for a rendition of La Marseillaise as the Frenchman signalled he was not quite done.-BBC