France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga began his training days at CREPS Poitiers when he was a junior and now, the hall where he began his training, has been named after him. Tsonga began his high-level tennis course in 1999 and 2000 at CREPS Poitiers and the hall now bears his name as well as that of Marguerite Broquelis, the first French Olympic champion in 1912 and Pierre Boyard, the former national tennis coach.
According to Lanouvellerepublique, Tsonga says, "It is a real pride. I would not have thought it possible a few years ago, when I was at CREPS and I was only a young boy like all those who have passed here. When we arrived in Poitiers, we were 13 years old and we all had dreams of professional circuits, of life too because we wanted to lead it as best as possible by living out of the ordinary things.
I am delighted to be able to represent all these young people who pass through these centers, have a great career and great things for their country. They are synonymous with hope for others. When you are a player, you are very focused on yourself and when you do not get that far from the finish line, you start to realize that there have been a lot of things that have allowed us to experience all of this.
We obviously want to be grateful. " Speaking about his attachment to the CREPS site, Tsonga says, "There is a lot of nostalgia because they were wonderful years. I had the impression that this was the city, while we were in the middle of the forest.
For me, it was about new things where everything was big with huge tennis halls, ideal infrastructure to develop. I came from a small club in Sarthe, the JS Coulaines, and I came to this center to improve. We cut ourselves off from our friends, from our families, but here we found a perfect environment where we made new friends, and where sport conveys good values.
I have had great experiences and fabulous moments here." Speaking about his biggest learnings at the CREPS site, Tsonga says, "Here I learned to be a man. Of course, my parents instilled the basics in me, but I continued to develop them here with my coaches where the slightest delay was sanctioned, the slightest little word also wrong.
We had warm-up protocols to follow, rules, respect for our coaches and training partners. What I want to remember from this place is that it taught me to be a man, to respect my environment and to give myself fully in what I do."
On his back injury, Tsonga says that he hopes to be back soon on the circuit. "I'm a little injured, I'm waiting to see how it will evolve. At the start of the season, I had no specific objective because I was coming out of a year where I tried to return to the highest level after a long injury.
I'm a little disappointed that I can't start the way I want to, but I have hope and I hope it will come back soon. "