Tsonga wins in Paris to qualify for Cup.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,Tennis,Tennis Masters Cup
By Ajay Singh, November 1st, 2008

It was like a Hollywood writer’s best thought out scenario, but it was real enough for the 15,000 French fans who cheered their young countryman to victory in the Paris Masters over defending champion David Nalabandian. Joe Willy as he affection ally known will be the first French player to win the Paris Masters to qualify for a place in the world’s top 8, and to secure a berth in the season-ending Shanghai Masters Cup. Winning only his second title and his first Masters series title placed Tsonga in the number seven position and he will join, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Nicolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro as a member of the elite group heading to China. Nadal’s participation is undecided at the moment, he is suffering from acute knee pains that are so bad that he cannot flex his knee and certainly cannot bear any weight on it.

If he drops out of the competition his place will be taken by the first alternate player Giles Simon, leaving James Blake as the other alternate. The Shanghai event is scheduled to begin Friday, and unlike regular ATP tour events where the seeded players often have an easy game or two in the early rounds, all the matches in the Master’s Cup will be tough and probably long, so if Rafa has any notion of showing up to play in less than top condition he will be quickly defeated and on his way home. We all want to see him play in this event, but if he is injured he should stay home. Rafa echoed his coach’s frustrated remarks during an interview after his withdrawal from the Paris tournament suggesting that in light of the number of injuries suffered by the players at the end of the season, the ATP should take a careful look at its grueling schedule. If it’s any consolation Rafa, I am on your side and in complete agreement with you. It must have already become evident that to remain at the top position for any length of time takes an enormous amount of discipline and a playing style that does not punish a player’s body. The demands of the ATP schedule are high, but so are the rewards!

The four doubles pairs to qualify are, the Bryan Brothers, Nestor/Zimonjic, Bhupathi/Knowles, and Erlich/Ram. It will be the first time for the successful pair of David Nestor and Mark Knowles to be on opposing teams in a Masters Cup Final event. As a team they were former winners of this event.

This Masters Cup Australian open tournament event promises to be the most highly competitive event in its history, there can be no favourite, no player who stands out as a sure winner, but whoever emerges as the winner will move on to the 2009 season brimming with confidence.


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