World no. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is bracing himself to miss Wimbledon and the rest of the upcoming grass-court season for the second time in the past three years after MRI scans revealed the Frenchman has suffered a serious muscle lesion in his hip.
Tsonga was forced to pull out of his French Open fourth round match against Mikhail Youzhny on Sunday after only a set and at the time believed he was suffering back problems.
He managed to battle Youzhny for just 30 minutes but admitted: “I could hardly put my foot down on the court so from the very first game, I knew it was going to be difficult.”
Tsonga began the tournament fearing he was far from full fitness and was annoyed when the tournament organizers insisted on him making a Sunday start. He survived a long five setter against the German Daniel Brands in the opening round but felt pain in both back and thigh as he overcame the Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker in the round before facing Youzhny.
“Mikhail did a winning forehand, I blocked and I felt a sharp pain,” said Tsonga who was driven to hospital by his French Davis Cup team-mate Gilles Simon who was forced to miss the tournament because of a knee injury. “Immediately after I knew that it was the same thing that I had felt in the previous match. It hurt even more.”
Tsonga suffered a serious knee injury that required surgery after reaching the Australian Open final in 2008. The 25 year-old was also constantly troubled with back and abdominal problems during his early years on the tour and suffered a herniated disc when still in his teens.
“I do the best to be at the top level but I have injuries,” he said. “So be it. I try to do my best to be ready. I hired a physiotherapist this year to be with me all the time, even when I'm not playing in tournaments. I also have another chiropractor looking at me. I really do my best, and I take all the necessary precautions.”
Tsonga has been ordered to take a complete rest with no physical activity whatsoever for ten days. Then he will undergo further check ups to determine whether he can resume court work.
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