As the long-time captain of France’s Davis Cup team and now the tournament director at Bercy, Guy Forget knows the current crop of French players surely better than anyone. Formerly a top 10 player himself, Forget sat down with The Tennis Space in Paris on a number of issues, including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s decision to hire Gael Monfils’ former coach, Roger Rasheed, as his new coach.
What do you think was behind Jo’s decision? Jo has been on his own now for a year and a half or two years. I was very surprised that it took him that long to work with someone. I think he realised after that experience, which he liked apparently, that he wants to get one stop further, and to do that, he will do it quicker with someone else. There are not a lot of coaches on the tour right now that are available who can help. I think Andy Murray was a great example, he worked with Ivan Lendl, someone who’s been there before, who was a great player, and step by step, he has modified Andy’s game and approach to the game. I saw Andy in Melbourne this year and way he played, and I thought, oh, there’s a few changes. I didn’t know if they were going to last but you could see already that things were a bit different. And that’s what you expect from a coach.
Is this a good time for him to get a coach? I think Jo’s at a point in his career now where he needs to make some changes. No one knows if this work will be rewarded right away because Jo’s ranked pretty high already, but at least he’s trying. I was a bit afraid that he was going to pretty much stay where he was, drift, and wait for time to go by, but I think it shows that he’s pretty ambitious, to do that now.
Roger Rasheed is renowned for being strong on fitness. Is that what Jo needs most? I think physically he can get a bit quicker, on his footwork especially, because he’s a heavy guy. Technically I think he has a few things he can work on and tactically, in some matches sometimes, he could have a little bit more variety in his game. I think Roger will help him in that matter. It’s always so much easier to do it when you are two; when you’re on your own you don’t really know why you lost; you say, oh, I was unlucky. But when you have actual facts, to explain why you lost, it helps a lot.