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Australian Open Diary: Tsonga The Fireman

Melbourne, Australia

Tsonga© AFP/Getty ImagesTsonga would be a fireman if he wasn't a professional ATP World Tour player

ATPWorldTour.com takes a look at the news and talking points at the Australian Open on the first Saturday. 

If I Wasn’t A Tennis Player
In an interview on the Australian Open website, some of the top-ranked players were posed the question: "What would you be if not a tennis player?" Novak Djokovic said he’d be a football player or a skier, Roger Federer said he’d probably be “a bad football player,” and Andy Murray said he would have given a football career a shot. The ever-refreshing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had an answer that was a little different. “I always said I need something with adrenaline,” smiled the Frenchman, before settling on the idea of becoming a fireman. Milos Raonic grinned, “I’d be in university right now…so I’m happier here.”

Around The Grounds
With a little gas left in the tank after his well-attended practice session, Djokovic picked out a young fan to join him on court. After a brief stretching session, the World No. 1 traded some groundstrokes and later signed his new hitting partner’s backpack and posed for a photo.

The kid didn’t need to worry about fighting through the crowd to be reunited with his family. Djokovic simply picked him up and handed him back over.

Del Potro’s Early Exit; Frenchmen Fire Up
Sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro, the only major title winner since Roland Garros 2005 with a surname that’s not Nadal, Federer, Djokovic or Murray, suffered a 6-3, 6-3,  6-7(3), 6-3, 3-6 defeat at the hands of Jeremy Chardy.

The Argentine, who is aiming to return to the world’s top five, said the depth in men’s tennis was becoming more apparent. “Seppi beat Cilic, Berankis [played] a good match against Murray, Tipsarevic won two matches in the fifth set…all the players are dangerous for us and [anything] can happen,” mused the 24 year old.

“It’s a big win for me and maybe the best of my career,” said Chardy, who has advanced to the final 16 in Melbourne for the first time. Chardy has now won three of his past four matches against Top 10 opponents, including defeating Tsonga and Murray at ATP World Tour 1000 Masters tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati last year.  

His win lifts the number of Frenchmen in the fourth round to four, equalling the Australian Open record in 1965, 1973 and 1998.

Match Of The Day
Italian 21st seed Andreas Seppi took three hours and 38 minutes to reach a career-best fourth round at the Australian Open, ousting 12th seed Marin Cilic 6-7(2), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in three hours and 38 minutes.  Seppi narrowed his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the Croatian, and now trails 4-5. It's been a good week for the 28 year old who has a 13-11 win-loss record in five-set matches.

Murray The Pick For Scribes
The Scot was awarded the International Tennis Writers' Association ambassador of the year award, snatching the crown from Novak Djokovic.

ITWA’s awards recognise a combination of achievements on the court, conduct that shows tennis in the best possible light and co-operation with the media. ITWA (www.itwa.org) represents the world’s leading tennis journalists. Serena Williams won the women’s award.

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