Jo-Wilfried Tsonga recalls destroying Rafael Nadal at the 2008 Australian Open

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga recalls destroying Rafael Nadal at the 2008 Australian Open

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 36, never fulfilled his dream of becoming a Grand Slam champion but says he is proud to have played in the era of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. "What is very difficult today, with this generation, is that to win a Grand Slam, you had to beat, in a row, a top 10 player, like maybe Roger Federer, Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic, and then Rafael Nadal in the final," Tsonga said in his interview with Eurosport, per Sportskeeda.

"That was difficult, including for one of them." Tsonga surprised Djokovic in the 2010 Australian Open quarterfinal but then easily lost to Federer in the semifinal. "[In the 2010 Australian Open] I played Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

I played fantastic, in a highly intensive game. What I'll keep from the match is that it shows what has been difficult for me: being able, after an exhausting, really tough game, to win the next one after that," Tsonga said.

Tsonga has no regrets

Many great players from Tsonga's generation finished their careers without a Grand Slams and that's mostly due to the dominance of the Big Four. "I am also very proud to have played with [the Big-4], I think I am among the very few players who beat them many times," Tsonga said.

"Even the ones that were right behind them in ranking wouldn't beat them. It was very, very rare." Tsonga's lone Grand Slam final came at the 2008 Australian Open. That year, Tsonga destroyed Nadal in the semifinal 6-2 6-3 6-2 but then leasily ost to Djokovic in the final.

"[The 2008 Australian Open] was a great adventure. It started well in the first round, as I defeated Andy Murray in four sets. I faced Rafa in the semifinals after beating Mikhail Youzhny, who was also in top form then.

I played the match of my life [against Nadal] if I may say so," Tsonga said. "It was a huge performance. I beat him in three sets with shots that came a little bit out of nowhere. I still have goosebumps looking at the images."