PERTH, Australia – With a new coach in his corner, French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga heads into a new year believing his maiden Grand Slam title is within reach.
Ranked eighth in the world, the flamboyant Tsonga finds his path to Grand Slam glory blocked by three of the best players of all time in Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as well as US Open champion Andy Murray.
It is an imposing quartet to overcome for a title the 27-year-old, an Australian Open finalist in 2008 and a semi-finalist at three other Grand Slams, desperately craves.
Speaking in Perth as he prepared for the Hopman Cup, where Djokovic is one of his rivals in the $1-million mixed teams tournament, Tsonga admitted the road to his first major title was a tough one.
However, he said his goals were higher than ever heading into 2013.
“To reach the sun, you have to pass the moon,” he said.
“It feels like they are far away at the moment, but I feel like I have a lot of energy.
“I will do my best to join them. This year I want to win a Grand Slam.”
Now coached by Australian Roger Rasheed, who previously worked with Lleyton Hewitt and fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils, Tsonga enjoyed a consistent 2012.
His best effort in the majors this year was at Wimbledon, where he lost to Murray in four sets in the semis.
But he failed to notch a single win over any of the aforementioned quartet, apart from a walkover victory against Federer in Doha in January. – Sapa-AFP