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The Quotes of 2022, Episode 8 – Auger-Aliassime: “Jo (Tsonga) was my number No 1 idol”

To end 2022, Tennis Majors offers you a return, in chronological order and series format, on the striking, inspiring or funny quotes of the year. Eighth episode, Félix Auger-Aliassime and the aura of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Felix Auger-Aliassime at the 2022 National Bank Open Felix Auger-Aliassime at the 2022 National Bank Open Image Credit: Icon SMI / Panoramic

“It is with great emotion that I announce today my decision to stop my professional career at the next Roland-Garros.”

On April 6, via Twitter, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga announced the date of his retirement. Three weeks earlier, in the second round of the Marseille tournament, although defeated, he gave a nice embrace to Felix Auger-Aliassime. A memorable scene for the young Canadian. Contrary to what has often been said, his greatest role model was not Roger Federer.

“It was a special moment,” FAA said at a news conference. “He (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) was my No. 1 idol when I was younger. The other great players, I couldn’t relate to them. Jo made me feel like a big brother. I told him (during the handshake) how much he was my idol growing up. He told me to aim for the stars, not to be shy, that I can reach the top.”

If he has often been mocked, belittled in part of the general public in France – this statement showed how different the aura of “JWT” was beyond his borders.

WHEN I PLAYED AGAINST HIM (TSONGA), I STILL LOOKED AT HIM WITH MY CHILDHOOD ADMIRATION

Kyrgios

Another proof: in the past, Nick Kyrgios, during various interviews, had also revealed his admiration for the native of Le Mans. “Federer was not my idol, even though he is a great role model,” he said. “Growing up, I kind of shaped my game after Tsonga’s: big serve, big forehand, trying to dictate the exchange. (…) When I played against him, I still looked at him with my childhood admiration. Playing against ‘Jo’ put me in stress. (…) In 2008, when he made the final of the Australian Open, I was 12 years old. I went to all his training sessions, I didn’t miss one! Each time with a new ball, and he signed them all.”

At every step, no doubt, Kyrgios repeated to him “Thank you.” And we can never say enough to him, for all the emotions he has given us: thank you, “Jo”.

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