The Frenchman, who announced he would retire after Roland Garros this year, was beaten 6-7(6) 7-6(4) 6-2 7-6(0) by Norway’s Casper Ruud, wearing his 18 years of professional career at an end.
The 37-year-old received a standing ovation from the crowd from Philippe Chatrier as he said goodbye to a court he has entertained on countless occasions.
Although he has never won a Grand Slam singles title, Tsonga is a fan favorite and has won 18 ATP titles in as many years on tour.
He was in tears even before serving for what would be the final point of his singles career – Tsonga was due to play doubles at the French Open, but that looks highly doubtful after injury severely hampered him against Ruud.
“It’s a big day for me. The day I say goodbye to my longtime companion. I’ve never looked back but now is the time to do it,” an emotional Tsonga told the crowd.
“I want to thank everyone who helped me achieve my dream of becoming a professional tennis player.
“Thank you to the French Tennis Federation and all my coaches who supported me even when I was extremely stupid. I managed to be good in the middle of the best generation of players and I’m happy about that.”
After the match, Tsonga was joined on the pitch by his family, former coaches and other French players as the sport bid a collective farewell.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray all recorded messages for Tsonga and they were shown on the big screen inside the pitch.
“I’m sad to see him go but we’re getting old,” Nadal said, as Tsonga laughed.
Tsonga reached a career-high world No. 5 in 2012 but has suffered a series of injuries in recent years.
His best Grand Slam result came at the Australian Open in 2008, when he lost to Djokovic in the final. He did, however, help France win the Davis Cup in 2017.
“You have been an inspiration to me and many others,” an emotional Ruud said after beating Tsonga for the last time.