•Tsonga has not played since lower back pain forced him to retire from his first-round match at the Australian Open in January against Alexei Popyrin
•Elsewhere, American teen Coco Gauff arrived in Rome on the heels of two early exits in New York
A lingering lower back problem has forced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga out of his home Grand Slam at the French Open and the rest of 2020, the former world number five said on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old Tsonga has not played since lower back pain forced him to retire from his first-round match at the Australian Open in January against Alexei Popyrin while trailing 6-7(5) 6-2 6-1.
Tsonga, the 2008 finalist in Melbourne, said the problems still persist and he will have to miss the French Open, which starts on September 27, and the remaining tournaments in the year.
“But I still have the morale, the rage, the desire and the motivation to come back in 2021, hoping that things will develop for the better,” said the two-time French Open semi-finalist, who is ranked 52 in the world.
“Getting back to the courts and fighting against all these incredible players would be a dream.”
Elsewhere, American teen Coco Gauff arrived in Rome on the heels of two early exits in New York and was glad to get her season back on track with a victory over Ons Jabeur at the Italian Open in her first Tour-level main draw match on clay.
The 16-year-old made the fourth round of this year’s Australian Open and reached the same stage at Wimbledon last year but suffered a first-round exit at her home Grand Slam at the U.S. Open two weeks ago.
That defeat came after she lost her opening match in the Western & Southern Open, which was also held in the bio-secure environment in New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m definitely happy to get a win today, especially after a couple of tough losses back in New York,” Gauff told reporters after Tuesday’s 6-4 6-3 win over Tunisian Jabeur.
“She’s a tricky player because she definitely changes the ball a little bit. I knew it was going to be tough, so to get a win over her on clay was really good.”
Australian Open quarter-finalist Jabeur had also lost to Gauff last month in the last-eight in Lexington. She reached the same stage at the Western & Southern Open before advancing to the third round at Flushing Meadows.
Gauff fell in the qualifying rounds of the French Open last year in her only Tour level claycourt event but says she feels at home on the surface.