Two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will warm-up for this summer’s grass-court grand slam by competing in the new ATP Tour event in Nottingham in June. The Nottingham Open had been an important warm-up event for Wimbledon for 14 years before the tournament folded in 2008, but the ATP Tour will now finally return to the East Midlands venue for the first time in seven years this summer.
Joining Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in signing up for an event that will act as a warm-up to Wimbledon, Tsonga will be hoping to be heading into the summer’s grass-court season on the back of a successful showing at Roland Garros. The world number 11 was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open at the start of the year with an arm injury and the French Open will be a gauge of just where his game is as we near a busy summer of events, including both Wimbledon and the US Open.
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Tsonga has been one of the best grass-court players on the tour over the past five years, reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2010 and the semi-finals in 2011 and 2012, and the Frenchman will be looking to bounce back from his two modest previous appearances at the All England Club. A disappointing defeat to Ernests Gulbis in the second round in 2013 might have come as a huge surprise, but there was less shock about his straight sets defeat to eventual winner Novak Djokovic in the fourth round last year.
On the back of a below par 2014, suffering an injury at the start of the year was not the ideal start to the season for Tsonga. But while he might not be one of the betting favourites heading into Wimbledon, odds of around 66/1 with betfair when this article was produced may end up looking like an absolute steal if Tsonga can build up some momentum on his way to the All England Club. Still yet to win his maiden grand slam title, the former world number five has been unfortunate on a number of occasions throughout his career when it has looked as though he would go all the way at one of the majors.
Tsonga, who turned 30 in April, knows that time is running out for him to win a grand slam title, but there is little doubt that the former Australian Open finalist has all the tools needed to beat the best players in the world on his day. While there might be a host of players ahead of him in the betting by the time he arrives at Wimbledon in late June, not many of those players will be overly keen on being drawn against Tsonga.