Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Djokovic prepared for an onslaught from big hitting Tsonga

Novak Djokovic saw semi-final rival Jo-Wilfried Tsonga demolish the theory that men's tennis is all about the 'big four' and expects to face more fireworks from the French dangerman today.

A place in the Wimbledon final and the world number one ranking are on the line for Djokovic.

Both are important to the fiery Serbian, who has regained his composure since the racquet-smashing tantrum during his third-round match. But he knows Tsonga carries with him plenty of menace, as was demonstrated during his stunning five-set victory over Roger Federer.

“It's not only about the top four,” Djokovic said. “There are other players that are able to play great tennis, and Tsonga has proved it. It's all very close at this level, especially in the second week of a grand slam.”

With his booming serve and supercharged forehand, Tsonga has been threatening to break into the elite group for several years, but injuries have stymied his progress. However, that victory over Federer has plunged him right back into the public eye.

“It was an amazing comeback,” Djokovic acknowledged. “He's been playing great in the grass-court season so far. So he's very dangerous.”

Tsonga knows the differences between the pair as he prepares for his first SW19 semi-final.

“He's more consistent than me on his baseline,” Tsonga said. “He hits the ball maybe slower than me. But he takes the ball really early, so this is maybe the difference. Maybe also my serve, because I served really well (against Federer).

“Anyway, we are different: different character, different personality. We will see.”

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