He was just 23 minutes into his contest with his old rival Richard Gasquet when he looked up and saw that it was all over – Gasquet’s back had gone into spasm and he could not go on.
On paper it had looked like a mouth-watering match-up: Gasquet, who had been playing some of the best tennis of his life this year (he reached his first Roland Garros quarter-final last month), and Tsonga, the powerful, aggressive, grass court enthusiast. Gasquet’s backhand vs Tsonga’s volleys. It looked like a cracker.
But after a handful of games, Gasquet pulled up as he tried to run across the back of the court and looked to be in serious distress. He kept at it for a few minutes more, dropping his serve to go 4-2 down and then two points into the seventh game, he called it a day.
Tsonga looked confused for a moment and then he looked concerned. He went to shake hands, followed his pal to his chair and chatted for a couple of minutes. He knew only too well what Gasquet was going through - at the French Open, he was leading Ernests Gulbis 5-2 when he pulled a muscle in his leg and had to stop.
He left Roland Garros in tears that night so he knew the disappointment Gasquet must have been feeling.