Tsonga tar­gets vic­tory in Abu Dhabi to kick­start 2017 sea­son

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

Af­ter a dif­fi­cult year in which he was once again plagued by in­juries, JoWil­fried Tsonga has tar­geted win­ning the Mubadala World Ten­nis Cham­pi­onship (MWTC) in Abu Dhabi at the end of De­cem­ber to kick start 2017 on a pos­i­tive note. In the UAE cap­i­tal to an­nounce the draw for the ninth edi­tion of the tour­na­ment, Tsonga will have to over­come Bel­gian debu­tant David Gof­fin in the open­ing round if he hopes to land the ti­tle. The world No. 12 will face Gof­fin on the same day 14-time ma­jor cham­pion Rafa Nadal takes on To­mas Berdych for a place in the semi-fi­nals. Speak­ing about his ex­pec­ta­tions for the Abu Dhabi event, Tsonga said: “This tour­na­ment is my best warm-up for the Aus­tralian Open, I get to play against the best play­ers in the world and com­pare our prepa­ra­tion for next sea­son. “When the guys come down here, they re­ally want to test their ten­nis and it is a com­pe­ti­tion that is hard to win. I know it be­cause I have never won it. “But I am look­ing for­ward to win­ning it this year, which would mean a great start to 2017.” The French­man once again strug­gled with in­juries this year, with a knee prob­lem forc­ing him to re­tire in his US Open quar­ter-fi­nal against Novak Djokovic. How­ever, he be­lieves he can still com­pete against the best play­ers in the world when fully fit. “This year was re­ally dif­fi­cult, there were many in­juries that re­stricted me play­ing well but at the end of the sea­son I came back strong and I hope to con­tinue that into 2017, which is a very im­por­tant year for me,” said Tsonga. “I know if I play well at Mubadala, I have a chance to beat other play­ers ahead, be­cause the player who wins here usu­ally ends up top three at the end of the year.” The MWTC will take place at the Ten­nis Cen­tre in Zayed Sports City from De­cem­ber 29-31.

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