Jo-Wilfried Tsonga predicts 'it will be madness' against Andy Murray

 

All-action Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will play through the pain barrier when he heads into the "madness" of tomorrow's Wimbledon semi-final against Andy Murray.

Only a fortnight ago, and with Wimbledon just days away, Tsonga was suffering so badly with the finger injury he sustained at Queen's that hitting a backhand was agonising.

The Switzerland-based player asked his medical team what the prospects were of him being able to turn out for the first round in London.

Fortunately for Tsonga the news was positive. The injury to the little finger on his right hand was a sprain, not a tear, and that meant it would not worsen under the strain of match action.

So far he has seen off former champion Lleyton Hewitt, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Lukas Lacko, Mardy Fish and Philipp Kohlschreiber, and now comes the trickiest challenge yet for Tsonga as fourth seed Murray looms.

For Tsonga, each victory has been a bonus, considering his fear that he would be watching the tournament from home.

"I thought I wasn't even going to be able to play here. When I was trying to train at home on the Thursday before the tournament, I wasn't able to play a backhand," he said.

"The doctors assured me that it wouldn't be possible to aggravate it so I told myself that I'd go, I'd take the chance. That if it doesn't happen for me, it doesn't happen. If it works, all the better.

"I'm still playing under anti-inflammatories and with pain but I think it's been worth it."

Tsonga is a crowd favourite wherever he plays and will have supporters tomorrow, but he accepts the Centre Court crowd will largely be siding with home favourite Murray, bidding to become the first British men's finalist since Bunny Austin in 1938.

While Tsonga was roared on to victory over Kohlschreiber yesterday, he says: "It will be a totally different match against Andy. It'll be madness. Almost all the crowd will be with him.

"I will have nothing to lose, the pressure will be on him. We're at a new stage of the tournament now. I'm going to try to play it with a light heart."

Murray has lost in the semi-finals for three years in a row, whereas Tsonga reached the last four for the first time last year, losing to Novak Djokovic, the man who captured the title.

"It's a second chance to do something great here. I play to try for the big titles," Tsonga said.

"This one is a fantastic one, so if I have a chance I'm not going to let it slip away.

"Last year I was in a state of euphoria. I got to the semis by coming from two sets down against Roger Federer.

"This year, I have my feet firmly planted on the grass and it's that which makes me think I'm better prepared. I'm more relaxed, more composed."

As well as preparing on the practice court, Tsonga has also been training his mind with expert assistance.

"I'm not a better player than I was before, but I'm stronger in the head," he said.

"I win matches where I start badly and where I am favourite and don't let go. That's what makes the best players. They hardly ever lose to the weaker players.

"The aspect I needed to work on the most was in the head, how to approach games, how to approach my career.

"I worked with mental experts, I've done things differently and that's a plus. But I still have a lot to do, I still have swings in my concentration."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
books
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
people
Voices
Nigel Farage arrives for a hustings event at The Oddfellows Hall in Ramsgate on Tuesday
voicesA defection that shows who has the most to fear from the rise of Ukip
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Life and Style
Brave step: A live collection from Alexander McQueen whose internet show crashed because of high demand
fashionAs the collections start, Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution