An interview with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
What’s On caught up with the French star to get his thoughts on this year’s tournament and more
How was the 2016 season for you?
2016 was very difficult for me, I had so many injuries and problems. But at the end of the season, I got to play well and without any issues, so I will continue like this and start 2017 with the Mubadala World Tennis Championship as well as possible.
And the current World No 1 is competing this year. How hard will Andy Murray be to overcome?
Yes, and I think he is on his best form. He is playing well. I played him a few times this year and he beat me every time. I’m looking for a victory and it is going to be difficult because he is going to be in good shape.
You’re about to become a dad. How will you juggle fatherhood with tennis?
You know, for me, it is something unbelievable. I always wished for a baby. It is just unbelievable what happened and I’m looking forward to it. I think it is going to be easy to do both – to be a dad and be on court battling for victory.
Your injuries meant that you’ve had a longer off-season. Will that benefit you in Abu Dhabi?
Almost every year I’ve had a pretty short off-season, sometimes because of the schedule – if I had to play the Davis Cup or the Masters or to go to London – and sometimes I was injured. For me, I think it is the first time I have had all this time to prepare well and start the year in good condition.
Do injuries become more of an issue the older you get? Do they occur more often?
Year after year it is always more difficult to recover, but now I have the experience. When I was younger I was sometimes a bit stressful about it and now I know that it is going to take time and I have to be patient.
How determined are you to win in Abu Dhabi?
For me it is not an exhibition. An exhibition is where you try to do things to make fun and that’s it. When we play at Mubadala we all play seriously because we want to see how we compare to the other players. Everything is preparation and most of the time the player who wins the tournament here finishes in the top three at the end of the year.
If you could go back in time to your first year in the sport, what advice would you give the young Mr Tsonga?
Just follow your instincts. You have so many things around you and sometimes you think that people are allowed to give you advice, but at the end of the day it is all about you and how you feel.
Abu Dhabi International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, Dhs100 to Dhs2,200. Tel: (800) 86823. Taxi: Zayed Sports City. mubadalawtc.com