Rafael Nadal pays tribute to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga following Frenchman's retirement

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Rafael Nadal pays tribute to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga following Frenchman's retirement

Record 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal described Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as "very charismatic" and admitted he is sad to see the Frenchman retiring. Tsonga, 37, played the final match of his career on Tuesday at the French Open.

Two months ago, Tsonga revealed his plans to retire at the French Open. Tsonga, ranked outside the top-200, was granted a wildcard into the French Open. Tsonga drew eighth-ranked Casper Ruud in the first round and suffered a four-set defeat.

After the match, a special ceremony took place on the court. “Jo is very charismatic. I know him since we were kids, good guy. I think he brings a lot of positive things to our sport so I’m sad to see him going but we’re getting old so [it’s] gonna happen to everyone," Nadal said in a video message that was played during the special ceremony.

Nadal, Andy Murray pay tribute to Tsonga

Nadal and Tsonga clashed 14 times and the Spaniard won 10 of those 14 meetings. In 2008, Tsonga defeated Nadal in the Australian Open semifinal to reach his maiden Grand Slam final.

Nadal and Tsonga last clashed at the Paris Masters in 2019 and back then the Spaniard claimed a straight-set win. One of the players that paid tribute to Tsonga was three-time Grand Slam champion Nadal. Tsonga and Murray met 16 times and the Frenchman won just two of those 16 meetings.

Murray wished Tsonga a happy retirement and called him a great ambassador of the game. “Hey Jo, I just wanted to send you a quick message to wish you a happy retirement and also to congratulate you on an amazing career.

You’ve achieved so much with so many highlights, you’ve been a great ambassador for the sport. I always loved watching you play and competing against you so you’re gonna be sorely missed. All the best mate," Murray said.