Tsonga a throwback to good old days, says Rafter | sports | Hindustan Times
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Tsonga a throwback to good old days, says Rafter

Pat Rafter has hailed gifted Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as a throwback to the good old days when tennis was more about skill than brute force.

sports Updated: Jan 25, 2008 12:49 IST

Pat Rafter has hailed gifted Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as a throwback to the good old days when tennis was more about skill than brute force.

The unseeded Tsonga has been a revelation at the Australian Open, claiming four big scalps on his way to Sunday's final, including an emphatic and dazzling win over world number two Rafael Nadal.

Rafter, a two-time US Open champion, said it was a breath of fresh air to see someone mixing up his game and coming to the net so often, a trait that has largely lost favour among the sports big-hitters.

"I saw him play against (Richard) Gasquet, and I just loved the way he changed the pace of the ball up," said the Australian former world number one.

"He did a lot of slow sort of looping balls. I thought he could play from all court: baseline, at the net, big serve, big athlete, big kid.

"But no one these days ever changes the pace of the game up. No one does the slice backhands or the loopy stuff anymore and he does that. It's just really nice."

The 22-year-old Frenchman has burst from nowhere to storm through the draw at the expense of ninth seed Andy Murray and eighth seed Gasquet, then Mikhail Youznhy, ranked 14, before humbling Nadal.