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, according to Sportskeeda. "That was tough, even for one of them." Tsonga stunned Djokovic in the 2010 Australian Open quarterfinals, but then lost easily to Federer in the semifinal.
"[At the 2010 Australian Open] I played against Djokovic in the quarterfinals. I played fantastic, in a very intensive game. What I will keep from the match is that it shows what has been difficult for me: power, after a match exhausting and really difficult, to win the next one after that," Tsonga said.
Many great players of Tsonga's generation ended their careers without a Grand Slam and that is mainly due to the dominance of the Big Four. "I'm also very proud to have played with [The Big-4], I think I'm among the few players who have beaten them many times," Tsonga said.
"Even those who were right behind them in the standings wouldn't beat them. It was very, very rare." Tsonga's only Grand Slam final came at the 2008 Australian Open. That year, Tsonga destroyed Nadal in the semi-final 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, but then lost easily to Djokovic in the final.
"[The 2008 Australian Open] was a great adventure. It started well in the first round as I beat Andy Murray in four sets.
Rafa on his famous rituals
Rafael Nadal recently lifted his second Australian Open title, in the process becoming the first man ever to win 21 singles Grand Slams.
"I believe that the fewer weird things to do to focus, the better," Nadal said. "And I say that then when I have particularly marked rituals when I play. I'd much rather not do them." The Spaniard went on to address how mentally demanding tennis can be as a sport, and how you need to stay focussed the entire time.
In that context, Nadal believes an ordered system of rituals can help block out distractions. "That doesn't sound like an excuse, but tennis is a mentally aggressive sport, demands a lot of you at all times; the slightest mistake sends you home," the 35-year-old continued. "You have to find a way to be 100% focused, without being distracted by outside things."