x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Tsonga is aiming at No 1 spot

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga climbed into the world's top 10 for the first time thanks to his potentially career-defining week at the Paris Masters.

PARIS // Jo-Wilfried Tsonga climbed into the world's top 10 for the first time thanks to his potentially career-defining week at the Paris Masters. But the Frenchman has his targets set a lot higher. Tsonga, 23, reached the Australian Open final in January but a string of serious injuries meant he slipped out of the limelight. He has recaptured his form in style, winning in Bangkok - his first ATP title - and following that up with his first Masters Series crown.

That his 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over David Nalbandian, the 2007 champion, came on home soil meant even more to Tsonga, who yesterday rose to No 7 in the world. A genuine challenge to the top four of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray may still be some way off but he expects to challenge them soon. "I have made it into the top 10 and that is a dream for me. But every week I think of being No 1. I tell myself being No 1 would be amazing," he said.

"And really it is that which is helping me progress all the time. I have to continue thinking like that in order to climb as high as possible." Tsonga has an opportunity to test himself against the best in the world - his Paris Masters triumph helped him finish seventh in the ATP Points Race which means he qualifies for the end-of-season Masters Cup in Shanghai. That tournament starts on Sunday. With his rivals feeling the effects of a long season, Tsonga could be the surprise package in China. Nadal and Federer pulled out injured midway through the Paris Masters while Djokovic and Murray admitted during the past week that fatigue was catching up with them.

* PA Sport