PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had predicted weeks ago that no Frenchman would triumph at Roland Garros this year and, to his despair, he was proven right on Tuesday despite four times coming within one point of staying in the tournament.
The fifth-seeded Tsonga, who had four match points against world number one Novak Djokovic in their quarter-final, eventually lost 6-1 5-7 5-7 7-6 6-1, staying a few minutes his head in a towel before leaving Court Philippe Chatrier his head held high.
"I said that (no Frenchman would win the French Open this year) and I was not wrong. Same question will be asked next year and the answer will be the same," Tsonga told a news conference.
"And as long as none of us wins it, we won't be able to claim we can win it. That's all."
No Frenchman has won the French Open, let alone a grand slam title, since Yannick Noah lifted the Musketeers Cup in 1983.
Tsonga, the last Frenchman to reach a grand slam final when he lost against Djokovic at the Australian Open in 2008, at least had no regrets.
All four match points were on Djokovic's serve and the Serbian, looking to become the first man in 43 years to hold all four grand slam titles at once, saved them with a few great shots.
"On the match points, there is nothing I can feel sorry about," said Tsonga.
"I tried a passing shot, I played a passing shot and he went on the good side."
Djokovic went on to win the fourth set's tiebreak 8-6 and strolled to victory in a one-sided fifth set.
"I was tired. I was frustrated. I was disappointed. You get all kinds of feelings going through your mind. You want to break your racket," said Tsonga
"You want to shout. You want to cry. You want to laugh and say, 'oh, come on, that's a joke. How could I lose this match?' You sort of want to wake up."
Tsonga, however, was quick to look ahead to the grasscourt season.
"At the end I had no energy left in my legs. That's it. That's the way it is. I'll have to close that chapter and start practicing on grass," he said.
"I will try to remember this match and this loss so I have more confidence in tournaments like Wimbledon. Because if I can hurt top players on clay, I can do worse on grass." (Editing by Alison Wildey)