MELBOURNE, Australia — Five years have passed since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made his dazzling run to the final of the Australian Open at the age of 22.
He hasn’t been back to the final of a major since then.
Tsonga has a big game that can trouble the top players – he rallied from two sets down to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2011 – but he’s struggled to beat them consistently. He was 1-15 against the top 10 players last year, with his only win coming against Juan Martin del Potro in Rome.
The seventh-seed lost another tight match to a top player in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, falling to No. 2 Federer 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3.
When asked after the match why he feels it’s so tough for him to beat the top players, a disappointed Tsonga was at a loss.
“To be honest, I have no idea. You know, if you have some advice for me, I will take it because I don’t know. I don’t know what is the difference,” he said.
Tsonga might find success again with a new coach. After going more than a year without a coach, he hired Roger Rasheed – the former coach of Gael Monfils and Lleyton Hewitt.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova sports a tattoo on her right bicep reading, “Pain doesn’t kill me, I kill the pain.”
A frightening moment during her quarterfinal against No. 1 Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday put that maxim to the test.
Serving in the first game of the second set, Kuznetsova landed awkwardly after a fault, stumbled forward and nearly fell on the court. She played through the pain, but never recovered in the match, losing 7-5, 6-1.
“I was really scared because I almost broke it again,” Kuznetsova said. “My knee went backward, the same way, exactly. It was like millimeters, very close, so I (thought) I broke it again the same way I did.”
ON THE BEACH: Mike and Bob Bryan have one more Olympics left in them at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Then they plan to stop playing and maybe relax.
The Bryan brothers have little left to accomplish. They’ve won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles, finished No. 1 for eight of the past 10 years and competed in three Olympic Games, winning gold last year in London.
But the chance to defend that gold will keep them in the sport for three more years.
“I think that’s where we see the finish line. We’ll be 38. We’d like to maybe go out at that spot,” Mike Bryan says. “And then we’ll sail off into the sunset.”
“Maybe just stay in Rio for the rest of our lives,” Bob said. “Check into a motel on the beach and drink some margaritas.”
The Bryans stayed on track for a possible 13th Grand Slam doubles title by beating Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy 6-3, 7-5 to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open.
They’ll face the Italian team of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini for a chance to play in their fifth straight Australian Open final.
“It’s still fun. We create goals and new challenges each time we step out of the house in January,” Mike Bryan says. “The goal is to finish No. 1. That’s it. That’s really what we play for.”