Frenchman wary of dropping names too early.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga revealed that he is nearing a decision on a new coach but won’t make any announcement until a deal is done.
The Frenchman fighting for a place in the eight-man season finals in London next month is top seed at the Austrian Open and begins in the second round after a bye when he faces German Daniel Brands.
Tsonga, who missed nearly three months of play over the summer with a knee injury, said that he will soon have a new mentor after splitting in September from Australian Roger Rasheed, who also formerly coached Gael Monfils.
“I’m looking for a coach and I’m getting close to one,” Tsonga said in his only words on the subject. The former Australian Open finalist has gone it alone in the past, playing without a coach in 2011 before picking up Rasheed after the Australian ended with Monfils.
World number eight Tsonga is coming off a Shanghai semi-final last week, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
Tsonga stands provisional ninth in the field for the World Tour Finals from November 4, but needs to keep earning ranking points if he is to be assured of making the trip. He is trying to stay ahead of a pursing pack led by compatriot Richard Gasquet and Canadian Milos Raonic.
As third-ranked Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has already withdrawn from the London event due to injury, the ninth-placed finisher will qualify.
The Frenchman said that he is still playing at less than 100 percent on his knee, but has been cleared by doctors to compete.
“The knee is not 100 percent but I have to play on it, just to work the muscles. Doctors told me I can’t hurt it by playing. If I want to make it to London, I have to get out on court.”
Tsonga won the Vienna title in 2011, his only previous appearance, and in his eyes he is defending that crown after not playing here in 2012.
“I’m feeling good and I’m fresh in my head,” said the player starting his fourth event in the last five weeks since making his return.
In a first-round match, Czech Lukas Kubot defeated German Florian Mayer 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 and will next play third seed Fabio Fognini of Italy.
Australian Marinko Matosevic was forced to withdraw with a sore right shoulder prior to his first-round match with Gael Monfils.
France’s sixth seed Monfils will instead make his start at the Stadthalle later against Czech Jaroslav Pospisil, ranked 214 and a lucky loser from the qualifying rounds.
The exit of Marinko and the Tuesday defeat of Lleyton Hewitt by Canadian Vasek Pospisil — no relation of Jaroslav’s — ended Australian involvement at the indoor event.