Busted Racquet insider Patrick Mouratoglou breaks down how fellow Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pulled the upset of Roger Federer and examines his chances in Friday's semifinal against Novak Djokovic.
Roger Federer was beaten in quarters of Wimbledon by a great Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Should this loss put his tennis again in question? No, because in reality he's back to a very good level, as we saw it last month in Roland Garros. He seems also in a great shape and he's moving very well again like in his good old days. And it's a very important side of his game for him to be able to mix it and to deal with change of pace and sequences.
Yet it wasn't enough this time. Why? It's simply because the former No. 1 in the world doesn't inspire the fear like before. As with Tsonga on the Centre Court, the best players are now coming into the match feeling they can win. Before 2010, coming back while trailing two sets against Federer in Wimbledon would have been unthinkable because his confidence was out of this world and he let you know it.
I think this loss is going to hurt him in the next days because losing so early here is tough for him. But I'm sure he's not going to be discouraged by it at all. Roger is driven by tennis, he's still hungry for more and enjoy it on a daily basis. And he still believes in his abilities. There's just a single worrying point: against Tsonga he looked resigned on the decisive points. Regarding Jo, I told him before his match that everything would be possible if he would serve as well as he had in his previous matches. We're seeing the Tsonga of the Australian Open 2008, this player who loves short points, whose serve is the key of his game like also those great forehands. After this famous final, he lost his way by trying to become a more complete player accepting longer points but that didn't suit him. It was done at the expense of his strongest weapons. Breaking with his coach looks like it has pulled the trigger and help him to find his attacking side back. He's showing more and more pleasure to be on the court and it's maybe the most important. It's totally influencing his game.
As far as I'm concerned Tsonga is the "shots" player. It's not suiting his temper to be 100 percent motivated for a whole season, weeks in weeks out. He needs goals on biggest events and so getting prepared in the best possible way for them. Is future success is tied to his ability to deal with his schedule. If he achieved this, he has the will and the ambition of all the great champions who can dream of the biggest prizes. It could be right now in Wimbledon. He's the only French player who owns those two abilities, far above Richard Gasquet and Gaël Monfils.
Can Jo beat Nole?
Regarding his semi-final against Novak Djokovic, there is one sure thing: the solutions he found to beat Federer would be the same he has to set up against Djokovic. He will need a great percentage of first serves, not only to protect himself from the outstanding return of his opponent, but also to be calm and confident on his own returning games. He will also have to keep this touch of unpredictability and spontaneity which are true keys in order to upset a No. 2 in the world who is, of course, very able to adjust but who will be under even more pressure because he's playing the No. 1 spot in that match.