Picture Credit: Twitter/@rolandgarros

Picture Credit: Twitter/@rolandgarros

Former world number 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bid emotional farewell on Tuesday after losing to Casper Ruud of Norway in the first round of the French Open. The 37-year-old, who announced last month he would retire following the French Open, was beaten 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 7-6 (7/0) by the Norwegian eighth seed. Tsonga brought an end to an illustrious career that saw him reach the 2008 Australian Open final and 18 career titles.

As Tsonga served for the final time in the match, he was reduced to tears and was seen getting emotional. The home crowd applauded him for his outstanding services to the game and gave him a standing ovation on Court Philippe Chatrier. His former Davis Cup teammates Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils, greeted Tsonga. Interestingly, fans came with a drum, a trumpet and a massive painting of Tsonga's face.

During a changeover in the final set, the entire crowd spontaneously sang the Marseillaise. Post-match, Tsonga said he was pleased to see his first coach, family and close friends in the group, which made this day special for him. "It was quite moving to see my first coaches on the court," said Tsonga. "Even my parents are usually quite discreet, and I know they don't like to be seen in front of the crowd," he added.

A ceremony was held on the central show court, with friends, family and fellow players joining Tsonga as a video featuring his career highlights and messages from Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer played. "Today is a big day. A day that I say goodbye. I want to thank everyone that has come with me on this adventure. I had the luck and the opportunity to do all of this. It's been amazing to be part of a wonderful generation of French players," he added.

Tsonga concluded by saying that he had a fabulous time on the court and showed a lot of resilience to win the game. "I hope my journey will inspire Tennis aspirants. "I am standing here without my racquet, along with my best friends of 30-years. My family are now my priority. Thank you, tennis. I love you," he said.