‘Tsonga can challenge the top four’

2012-10-29 00:00

PARIS — Australian coach Roger Rasheed, the former mentor of Lleyton Hewitt, blasted the also-rans of men’s tennis on Saturday, accusing players of giving up on chasing the sport’s big four.

Rasheed, who has just become the coach of French world No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, insisted that Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are regarded as virtually untouchable by the chasing pack.

“The culture that I see at the moment on the tour, with players who are not that bad, is playing to finish second, behind the guys in the top four,” said 43-year-old Rasheed.

“I don’t like that mentality and Jo is not like that. He shows it clearly.”

Rasheed, who worked with former world No. 1 Hewitt from 2003 until 2007 and then Frenchman Gael Monfils between 2008 and 2011, believes Tsonga can become a Grand Slam title winner and smash the dominance of the top four.

Tsonga (27) got close to a Major in 2008 when he finished runner-up to Djokovic at the Australian Open and has twice been a Wimbledon semi-finalist.

“Of course, he can win a Grand Slam tournament,” said Rasheed.

“A player has to believe in his capacity to do it. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t have that conviction.

“Jo is one of the few players who are exciting to train. He has decided that he has to do everything possible to make the most of his potential. He has to be congratulated on that.”

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