Sunday, 13 January 2013

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Cold as Ice Heading into the 2013 Australian Open

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga shares a quarter with Roger Federer at the 2013 Australian Open. Although the Frenchman has won his quarter in a major on four separate occasions, and once at Federer's expense, the talented French player does not look like a candidate to make the semifinals of this year's tournament at Melbourne Park. Heading into the Australian Open, Tsonga appears to be slumping and it is hard to have confidence in him for that reason.

Fortunately for Tsonga fans, his early round draw at the 2013 Australian Open looks simple enough. The Frenchman will face aging veteran Michael Llodra in the first round, a player that might have difficulty competing in the majors in 2013. Following that match, Tsonga would face either Luke Saville or Go Soeda in the second round, two players that have not had any significant success in Grand Slams to date.

The closest seeded player to Tsonga in the Australian Open draw is Thomaz Bellucci. The Brazilian is a talented player however he is much more adept on the clay court surface than he is on the hard court surface with his only fourth round appearance in a major coming from the 2010 French Open. If Tsonga is playing well then a spot in the fourth round is definitely his for the taking, especially since the first Grand Slam of the year is historically his best tournament.

However one thing that has to be pointed out with Tsonga is that he's doing horrible against the top tier of players on tour. He went just 1-15 against the Top 10 in 2012 and he could face a Top 10 player in Melbourne in the fourth round. Richard Gasquet, ranked 10th, looks like he has a good chance to make the quarters at the Australian Open this year, especially since the Frenchman has a 4-3 winning record against Tsonga.

The former Australian Open finalist appears to be slipping a little and if he doesn't figure out how to turn in a stronger record against the stronger players, then tennis fans should expect him to slide down into a 'teen' ranking this season. He's still beating the guys ranked outside of the Top 10 with consistency but a 1-15 record against the guys in the Top 10 from 2012 shows that the Frenchman's game is off.