Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Can the Frenchman Capture a Slam Title in 2012?
Coming fresh off his first win at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga appears to be the man to beat outside of the Big Four.
After enjoying what turned out to be the biggest season of his career last year, he set out to play the warm-up tournament for the Australian Open.
The match against his compatriot, Gael Monfils, proved to be the third successive final for him on the ATP World Tour.
Although he did not have to technically play Roger Federer this time, who pulled out of the event citing a back strain, or Rafael Nadal, who was taken out by Monfils in the semis, he still showed signs of how he has improved and become a giant in the men's field.
Last year, Tsonga appeared to be in a slump during the early stages of the season, falling to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round of the Aussie Open and losing early in smaller tournaments afterwards.
To further complicate his poor form, he announced that he and long-time coach of seven years, Eric Winogradsky, would split as a team. Nevertheless, coach-less Tsonga picked up his performance after his third-round exit at his native Grand Slam of Roland Garros.
He reached the semifinals at the Wimbledon Championships for the first time in his career, doing so by becoming the first man to come from two sets behind to defeat Roger Federer in a major.
Next, he reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open for the first time and also reached the finals at the ATP 1000 Masters in Paris, followed by yet another finals showing at the World Tour Finals, which proved to be his first final there.
Which major is the most probable for Tsonga to win?
Playing at such a high level currently and steamrolling his opponents, it seems that there will only be a matter of time before Jo-Wilfried not only reaches another major final but also takes home the winner's trophy.
His aggressive game play and flat ball-striking seem to put his chances at Wimbledon ahead of the other Slams, but he has also proven to be a force at not just the Australian, but on hard courts in general.
Count him out for the French Open, but do not be surprised if Jo-Wilfried shocks any of the Big Four in a major this upcoming season.
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