Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Paris Olympics? It’s possible, in a new role off the court. Retired for a year and a half, the former world number 5 told the newspaper l'Équipe on Tuesday his desire to become captain of the French Davis Cup team. Sébastien Grosjean left to train Arthur Fils, the position found itself vacant and the Sarthois would like to take advantage of it.
“I didn’t think that Sébastien was going to end his mandate a few months before the Olympic Games,” he explained to the sports daily. “I received, like around ten others, a request to find out if I was interested in the position. we had to position ourselves in a few days.”
For the moment, the president of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretton, has not decided since there are numerous candidates. According to the Team, Marion Bartoli, Mary Pierce, Julien Benneteau, Arnaud Clément, Henri Leconte, Michaël Llodra or even Paul-Henri Mathieu, Fabrice Santoro and Gilles Simon would apply.
“Like crazy,” Tsonga said he was excited about the idea of managing the France group, which has been chasing qualification to the Davis Cup finals since 2018. “I want to do it! I like the fact that we have a group in reconstruction, that we have young people who are starting to hit very hard, older people who can provide support and guide them.
An emblematic figure of French tennis, the Australian Open finalist nevertheless remains cautious: “If the players don't want me tomorrow, I won't be there.” But he does not hesitate to plan ahead, knowing that the next captain of the Blues will be responsible for the selection during the Games in 2024, scheduled for the courts of Roland-Garros. “I'm not applying here to say, I'm looking forward to the Games! I want it to be a bit permanent. For me, the minimum is two years.”
Tsonga, very experienced, has solid arguments that can speak for him with the FFT. The first being that of knowing the young French generation as well as the older ones like Gaël Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Adrian Mannarino. “The motivation is the men and these young people who are there. Arthur Fils, Luca Van Assche, Giovanni Mpetshi, Ugo Humbert between the two generations. And then, there are the elders, who are my friends and who, for me, will have a role to play. The objective is to create this atmosphere where the elders pass it on to the younger ones,” he said.
The message has been sent, it remains to be seen whether French tennis decision-makers will trust the biggest winners of the 21st century, determined to don the blue-white-red jacket. A decision should be made at the end of the Rolex Paris Masters, this week being used by Gilles Moretton to carry out interviews with the candidates.