May 29 (Reuters) - Kylian Mbappe has picked compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as his outside bet to win French Open - though there are no prizes for guessing who the Monaco striker rates as favourite.
“(Rafa) Nadal (is favourite), because he’s incredible on clay,” Mbappe told the French Open website (www.rolandgarros.com). “And I‘m backing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga too – although I‘m biased, because I’ve got a soft spot for him!”
Mbappe has emerged as one of the top talents in Europe following a stellar season which ended with his club winning a first league title in 17 years.
The 18-year-old is also an admirer of tennis, a game he played when he was younger.
“I‘m astounded by the endurance that the sport demands, because the matches can easily last much longer than football games,” he said.
“But what amazes me most is how tennis players deal with being lone rangers. It’s a far cry from football, where if you make a mistake, a teammate can save your blushes. If you make a mistake in tennis... no one else can bail you out.”
If Tsonga were to upset the odds, he would become the first Frenchman to win at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah in 1983.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet