In victory or defeat, Tsonga has a flair for the dramatic. The shotmaking showman has suffered two painful losses in the previous two French Opens: In 2011, he wasted a two-set lead over Stanislas Wawrinka; last year, he had four match points against Novak Djokovic, before eventually losing in five sets. It’s hard to imagine what could top that, but suffice it to say, Tsonga has some incentive to become the first Frenchman to win Roland Garros since 1983. Like fellow big-hitter Tomas Berdych, consistency continues to be a problem for Tsonga, even after some seemingly career-changing performances. He remains on the cusp of the ATP elite, but there’s no mistaking his place in the pecking order. The Parisian crowd can boost his morale or burden him with expectation, but one face in the stands, new coach Roger Rasheed, may be the key to Tsonga’s quest.
What to Like:
At his best, Tsonga’s game both neutralizes and overwhelms his opponent’s. His win over Roger Federer at Wimbledon three years ago is impossible to forget, and he really should have beaten Djokovic here last year.
What Not to Like:
He plays on the edge long enough for something to inevitably go wrong. Tsonga has been diffused by the top guns more often than not, but he’s been susceptible to early-round trouble as well. Again: Consistency.
What to Expect:
His result is a reflection of his ranking: Anything less than a quarterfinal would be a disappointment; anything more would be a surprise.
2013 French Open Profiles: