Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won, in Toronto, the second Masters 1000 shield of his career, nearly six years after the first one (Paris-Bercy 2008), after defeating Roger Federer in a 7-5, 7-6(3) final that was more one-sided than the score indicated.
The Frenchman came into the tournament with a 0-7 record against the top 10 players. Over the course of the week, he defeated not one, but four consecutive players among the 10 best in the world: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, and Federer. All wins, save the one against Murray, were in straight sets.
“I was extremely motivated after all that happened in the last few months”, declared a radiant Tsonga after the match. “I prepared myself super well and I really had enormous confidence in myself, in my game, in my abilities.”
This showed throughout the whole tournament, and especially in the final, where he never even conceded a break point to his rival. “My serve is generally what gives him the most trouble”, said the Frenchman. “Every time I faced him, it’s the aspect of the game in which I often had an advantage, so I knew that this weapon would help me against him.”
Federer concurred: “I definitely think Jo served well, and when he does serve well it’s always going to be hard.”
Nevertheless, despite being very happy for Tsonga and with his week overall (after all, he did reach another final, his seventh of the season), the Swiss was not satisfied with the way he came out in the final, and the abrupt change from the night conditions (in which he had played all of his previous matches) to the daytime ones did not help him. “I think it was the overall day conditions that were tough for me”, he said. “It was faster than in the night, all my previous matches, so I think the turnaround was tough. Today was just difficult in terms of rhythm from the baseline, so it was like a new tournament for me today. It wasn’t my day. It was just a shitty day. (Laughter)”
After his great tournament in Toronto, Tsonga is back in the top 10 of the ATP rankings and admits that the last week will definitely help him in his U.S. Open preparation. “I think it will help me a lot, simply because it gives me a lot of hopes for what comes next”, he told BATennis World. “It will help first and foremost because beating so many good players this week proves me that I can do it. I have the abilities to do it and today, I was able to be back at my best level. So I can be added to the mix.”
Peya and Soares clinch the doubles
The doubles title went, for the second straight year, to Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, who defeated Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-3 in a very entertaining final.
“It feels great”, said Peya about the title defence. “Last year we won our first Masters 1000 title in Montreal, and it was kind of strange to defend the title in a different city. It’s unusual. But I think we played good from the start again, felt like home again in Canada, and picked up where we left off last year.”
Soares agreed with his partner: “I think when we came here we were feeling much better on this surface. We managed to do everything right this week. Like Alex said, Canada feels like home for us.”
Soares was facing his friend and countryman Marcelo Melo in the final, a fact that highly rejoiced the Brazilian. “It’s very special”, said Soares, “because in Brazil they really support the game of doubles and they really appreciate everything that we have been doing. It’s first time in history that two Brazilians play each other in Masters 1000 final. So we are really proud of what we are doing, and hope we can do it many more times.”
We also noticed an unusual fact: that Bruno Soares had his last time printed on the back of his shirt. Curious, we asked him why that was, and he replied with humour: “That’s something that we are doing. Mr. Alexander Peya actually forgot his shirts with his name, so his wife brought them. She’s in Cincy right now. So in Cincy we’re gonna be Peya and Soares, not Soares and this guy. Now we are back as Peya and Soares.”
(Photos: Getty Images)