For the first time this season, French No. 1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will step out on court to play a match on the ATP World Tour. Following an injury plagued few months, the Frenchman will begin his Miami campaign against Tim Smyczek, whom he has never encountered previously on the professional tour. Their match will headline the night session on Friday evening.
The tournament’s 11th seed has been dealing with arm pain as far back as the Cincinnati Masters event and ahead of the US Open. He would go on to play up until the end of the season at the Davis Cup final against Switzerland. By then, he was far from peak form.
Now, however, Tsonga plans to make a comeback and is inspired by other Top 10 players who have passed their 30th birthday.
“When I see players like [David] Ferrer and [Roger] Federer and others, they are able to play really good tennis,” he told ATPWorldTour.com on Monday. “I hope my best tennis will come this year.”
“I don’t have big expectations for this tournament,” he said. “I’m just happy to be back on the court. The only thing I expect is to play my best tennis in the moment and that’s it.”
The Frenchman will begin his week in Miami against Tim Smyczek, who rallied from a set down to defeat qualifier Adrian Menendez-MacEiras 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. He struck seven aces, won 77% of his first service points and saved three break points to close out the match in one hour and 52 minutes.
This marks the first time that Tsonga and Smyczek will cross paths on the professional tour, and considering the Frenchman has been away from the tour for a while, it is difficult to gauge his ability this time around.
Prediction: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Three Sets