Former world No. 5 Tsonga to play qualifying in Miami

Indian Wells (United States) (AFP) –


Former world number five Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France will play the qualifying tournament at the ATP Miami Masters as he works to build his ranking in the wake of injury.

Tsonga, who sank to 140th in the world after 2018 knee surgery, won his 17th ATP title in Montpellier in February then reached the quarter-finals in Rotterdam to rise to 118th in the rankings.

However, the 34-year-old skipped this week's Indian Wells Masters, telling French media that he preferred not to make the trip because of the effects of the blood disorder sickle cell disease, which affects him particularly after long flights.

He has accepted a wild card into the qualifying draw in Miami, which will mark the first time he's played a qualifying tournament since 2007 at Queen's Club.

Players receiving wild cards directly into the men's main draw include Spanish veteran David Ferrer, who has said 2019 will e his last season.

On the women's side, Mari Osaka, sister of world number one Naomi, will play her first WTA main draw singles match after receiving a wild card into the draw.

Mari Osaka, a year-older than her 21-year-old sister who has shot to the top of the rankings thanks to back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens, has twice played in WTA doubles made draws, most recently with Naomi at the 2017 Toray Pan Pacific Open.

Other women's wild cards went to two of last year's junior Grand Slam singles champions in Roland Garros winner Cori Gauff of the United States and US Open champion Wang Xiyu of China.