Tsonga’s 2017 aim is to be con­sis­tent

‘I want to get back in the top 10’ in short term, he says

The National - News - Sport - - TENNIS - Ahmed Rizvi

ABU DHABI // Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga has set sights on forc­ing his way back into the top 10 in the new sea­son after clos­ing his Mubadala World Tennis Cham­pi­onship cam­paign with a con­fi­dent 6-7, 6-3, 10-3 win over the 10thranked To­mas Berdych.

Start­ing 2016 at No 10, Tsonga climbed three places by mid-April be­fore a leg-in­jury cut short his French Open cam­paign and see him drop to No 12 in June.

A month later he was back in the top 10 be­fore in­jury struck again – this time in his left knee – forc­ing him to re­tire from his US Open quar­ter-fi­nal against No­vak Djokovic.

“When you are in­jured, you can­not give your best, [and] you can­not beat those guys,” said Tsonga, cur­rently ranked 12th, who will usher in the New Year at tonight’s Cold­play con­cert at the du Arena on Yas Is­land. “So, the most im­por­tant thing for me in 2017 is to be con­sis­tent.

“To be hon­est, I have set tar­gets ev­ery year and ev­ery year it has been dif­fi­cult. Any­way, I set my tar­gets re­ally high so that I can go as far as pos­si­ble.

“The tar­get for me in the short term is to get back into the top 10, be con­sis­tent and stay there so that I am able to play against these top guys ev­ery week, cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties to win against them, and go far in the big tour­na­ments.”

Tsonga, like Berdych, will be open­ing his 2017 cam­paign in Doha next week. The French­man said he can take plenty of pos­i­tives from his two matches in Abu Dhabi, es­pe­cially the way he fought back to win the sec­ond set against Berdych and then the su­per tiebreak. “It was a good match for me,” he said.

“Of course, there are things I could have done bet­ter, but I played well. I started re­turn­ing well in the sec­ond set. When I am re­turn­ing well, I am a bet­ter player.”

EPA

In­juries ham­pered Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga’s pur­suit of a bet­ter rank­ing in 2016.

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