Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Tennis: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga arrives in Auckland

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Photo / AP
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Photo / AP

The main drawcard for the next weeks ASB Classic men's tournament has arrived in town - more than a week before he will be seen on court.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga touched down in Auckland this afternoon, on his first visit to New Zealand.

There were fears that he might not make the trip - after he pulled out of an exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Saturday citing a forearm injury.

But Tsonga, who has been ranked as high as number five in the world and reached the 2008 Australian Open final, appears set to make a serious tilt at the title.

He won't be seen on court until next Wednesday - the top four seeds at the ATP tournament receive a bye into the second round - and intends to combine practice sessions and preparations with some fishing trips on the Hauraki Gulf.

"After a very long trip, I'm really happy and really excited to be here for the tournament," said the world No 10, who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year. "I hope I will enjoy it and have a good time."

The 30-year-old Tsonga has arguably underachieved across his career - especially in grand slams - but remains one of the most talented and popular players on the tour. He has won 12 ATP tour events, including two Masters level trophies.

"Jo is a true tennis superstar and someone we have wanted to bring to Auckland for three years, said ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge.

- NZ Herald

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