Gael Monfils: I Want To Win A Big Title, The French Open Is My Dream
by Tom Gainey | April 18th, 2016, 2:15 pm
  • 53 Comments

One of the nice surprises of 2016 has been the play of Gael Monfils. The Frenchman has sidelined the showboating antics this year in favor of a more focused game. And results are clear.

Monfils began the year ranked No. 24 and he’s already up 10 spots after reaching his first clay Masters final yesterday in Monte Carlo.

He’s also 20-6 on the season with two finals and a quarterfinal at the Australian Open and quarters or better at all three Masters events.

With the French Open just a month away, Monfils, a former semifinalist there, is targeting Paris. At age 29 under new coach Mikael Tillstrom, could Monfils be someone who could actually win a Grand Slam?

“I’m continuing to learn. In two weeks I’m hoping to be better,” Monfils said Sunday after losing to Rafael Nadal in three sets. “In three weeks, too, and be better for the French Open. I’m not thinking about the French Open right now. As I’ve always said, I want to continue improving and winning a title. I want to win a big title. A big title could have been here already.

“I’m far, but I’m not that far. I’m going to practice well because I want to go to Madrid being ready for all that. And in Rome, too. After that, the French Open is a dream. It’s my dream.”

Monfils is scheduled to play in Munich next week.


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53 Comments for Gael Monfils: I Want To Win A Big Title, The French Open Is My Dream

jane Says:

dear la monf, you have to stick with it then! you know how to do it. remember? juniors? #threeslamsdude


lyle nubbins Says:

It would be so great for our sport if he got his fitness together.


RZ Says:

“If I could turn back time…”


chrisford1 Says:

Gaels is 30. That ship sailed long ago Very few years left and habituated to the “La Monf” way of match play. H


Wog Boy Says:

Agree with RZ and CF1, too late now Gael.


Wog Boy Says:

Since this is the most neutral thread when it comes to Nole, just to let you know, Nole won “Laureus” sports award for the third time, you desreved it it Nole, the best of the best:

http://youtu.be/KYTfWnBw0Mw


jane Says:

^ yes and serena too: win-win for tennis!


Wog Boy Says:

jane,

I am curious to see how did they vote, do you have the number of the votes and order for Nole and his opposition, so to call them?


jane Says:

no i don’t know wog boy but i think (?) usain bolt was second.


ulysses02 Says:

While I want to agree with Wog Boy’s undertaking of RZ and CF1′s comments, in the spirit of contrarianism, I must counter.

Monfils is 30, so what? When did Wawrinka turn his ship around? You might argue that well, Stan was 28 or 29 (same age as Monfils incidentally), but let me remind you that the Frenchman has actually lost significant blocks of time on tour due to injury and he strikes as beginning to realize the preciousness of that: – at least 9 months following 2007 Wimbledon (which, by the way, to all the headlong critics, is the reason — like most superstitious athletes — he had and probably still has a mortal fear of injuring himself on grass).
- Another 12 months ending AO2013 or so

While that doesn’t compare to Del Potro’s hades, it’s still 2 years of an athlete’s limited time. In addition, Monfils doesn’t strike you as a guy that labours himself to greatly mentally that there’s no way they’ll keep enjoying this in a few years. Hewitt you kinda worried (although that worry proved wrong); Safin, Murray, Roddick certainly. Nadal and even Djokovic, I worry. Who gets that feeling with Federer or Monfils. That’s significant for freshness of mind. I actually can’t think of many other players as relaxed as Fed and La Monf in the top 50. (that’s of course, around where comparisons end).

Also, Monfils actually has lots of improvement potential in the endurance department, as has been evident from recent matches (he lost to Nishikori because he was tired; he couldn’t really give himself a chance against Rafa in the final set for the same reason as he couldn’t against Murray in FO2015). Hopefully, his handlers are paying attention. Maybe his lung capacity is just shot, or maybe he’s the only one not on jelly beans. Whatever it is, since his game revolves around hitting heavy shots and demoralizing opponents with coverage, gaining that extra 5-10% of endurance supplies confidence that will allow him to use more of his newfound aggression once he starts being able to stay with opponents. Rafa was tired too in Monte Carlo I’m sure, but he just had that extra 5% — and he knew it — so all he had to do was pounce (empty the tank) in the final set to prevail.

Another area for improvement: his serve. It’s already very good, but his 2nd serve certainly could improve the kick out wide and he could find ways to more consistently place the first even if he’s off any one day.

Going back to the Wawrinka comparison. If the argument were that Monfils simply doesn’t have the capacity to be a Grand Slam champion, then I’d be willing to accept that as a stronger argument (assuming offered with some decent reasoning of course). But other than Djokovic, Nadal and weirdly, Berdych, Monfils can beat the guy in front of him if motivated. It’s not far-fetched to think if the draw opens up and he places himself in contention, he could hoist up a bigwun before the rays of his career set.

It’s low probability, but not inconceivable.


ulysses02 Says:

Of course, 30 in initial sentence was hyperbole. Monfils is, in fact, 29.


Wog Boy Says:

ulysses02,

I actually agree with most you said but you missed major difference between Stan and Gael when you compared their ages and making parallels, Stan decided to do more when he hired Magnus Norman in 2013 and won his first GS in 2014 at the age of 28. Monfils is already late since he is planing to the same but he is already 29, meaning (since it is too late to improve his stamina for this FO it takes time for that), he will be 30 by the time he is ready fittnes wise to win GS, your comparison would be right if Monfils said and did this two year ago, like when he choked 2014 USO against Roger, it is too late now.


Van Persie Says:

Really glad for Nole….wow, his 3 Laureus. Well deserved :)


Van Persie Says:

Regarding Gael, if Pennetta won her girst GS with 33, Gael can make it too. Everything is possible


Van Persie Says:

first GS


Wog Boy Says:

VP,

Of course it is possible, but not very likely.


Van Persie Says:

agree, is not the easiest thing to do…and hope that it will not happen at this FO :)….he has plenty of time after this year


gee Says:

The guy choked with disgrace at the us open against Federer, despite being a better returner for 4 sets.
He tanked worse than Roddick did at 2 Wimbledons & Masters Cup vs. fed.

He never recovered from illness & injury to win huge, not even 1% as successful as Djoker.
Look at Hewitt & Safin. They combined for 1 Slam in 2003-2007.


Giles Says:

Boris is on the Council! 😳😎


RZ Says:

@Ulysses, my concern with Monfils is his ability to last for 7 5-setters. Between his lack of sustained mental focus, propensity for getting injured, and just making some bone-headed decisions while on the court, I don’t see it happening. The talent is there but the brain and body are weak.

However, these statements are the first I remember him saying he wants a big prize, and that is certainly a big step in the right direction.


RZ Says:

@Wog Boy and Jane – good selections by the Laureus committee. Laureus always seems to take all sports into consideration (then again, their purpose and mission is quite different than Sports Illustrated).


Markus Says:

Congratulations to Novak and Serena. Well-deserved awards. My question is, what’s the difference between “Sportsman/woman of the Year” and “Athlete of the Year”. I see that Lionel Messi won the latter award. I would think that athlete of the year is the overall best athlete including both men and women. However, Djokovic beat Messi for Sportsman title, so it could not be. I find this to be a perplexing title. I checked the previous Laureau years and did not find this category in the preceding years.


ulysses02 Says:

@ Wog Boy — yeah I think that’s the overly dismissive analysis I addressed in my comments (read again). Margins are thin in tennis yes, but again did you not see the point I made about 2 years being out? Freshness of mind and age are of huge importance. If monfils has in fact decided to totally commit himself — and this is doubtful — then it seems too easy to say Wawa did this a year earlier and so there’s a cut-off line that says he won’t achieve. It might be a fat tail, but not an outlier in distributions of success to commit late and get something out of it.

Recall, this guy was a 3-time junior champion. He does have winner in him somewhere.


ulysses02 Says:

@ Wog Boy (again) — btw, I’m not beholden to the idea of Monfils winning (lest you take my earlier comments as offensive or anything). I simply have noticed there are a few aged folks still in the tennis game who I grew up watching. It’s nice to see and I’ve felt some of them might achieve later in life. Wawa was one of them. Perhaps Monfils, Tsonga, and are beginning to realize it is possible. At the very least, you may agree, that putting himself in contention week in, week out (as Hewitt used to say) would increase odds of winning.


SG1 Says:

Gael and I do have some things in common after all. Both of us want to win a major…and neither of us will.


Margot Says:

Well that’s a shame SG1 because I just bet my house that you will. Nothing on Gaelforce tho….;)


J-Kath Says:

You got to give it to her…


jalep Says:

wow. ulysses02.
Thanks for your thoughts about Gael Monfils 4/18, 10:03 pm. Well said.

Nice to read another Monfils believer.

He needs to do something, if at all possible, about his endurance, indeed. Maybe his friend Gilles Simon can help him? Gilles’ endurance gets better every year – it seems. His running forehand at the end of a 20+ shot rally is one of the best on tour – also has a fast recovery time after the effort. Gosh I love watching Simon run.


Margot Says:

@jalep
Gael has quite an unusual body shape- massive and I mean massive, upper body and really skinny legs. Quite disproportionate. I wonder if that contributes to the endurance problems? It must be quite difficult for those legs to haul that body around!
@Daniel
Did you see Ferrer withdrew from Barcelona? I fear we’re right about his decline.


jalep Says:

😮 Margot – I know!

His Bod. Well, I mean I don’t know what that would be like to haul a body around like that.

Simon and Goffin look like distance runners. And I have thought that Cilic took a hit in endurance and speed when he gained weight. Still – a pretty good mover for 6’6″

All the commies talk about Sascha needing to gain weight/muscle and a small part of me screams no, only to the extent it won’t slow him down.

Did you see Karen Khachanov today? 19 yr. old Russian beat RBA. 6’6″ muscular kid – a slower mover than Sascha; doesn’t look 19 — looks and acts 29! Very mature for his age, Khachanov. Forget about Rublev – Khachanov is the one to like!


RZ Says:

Here’s a tweet that shows some of our favorite tennis head-cases are quite self-aware.
https://twitter.com/fabiofogna/status/722416024147070976


Margot Says:

Coincidentally jalep, I’ve just watched highlights of that match on tenntv.
Wow! I think Karen looked formidable. But probably the first time RBA has played him so he had quite a surprise factor going for him. I really like RBA too, such a neat, little terrier of a player. Scuttles round the court like Road Runner.
Agree Sacha doesn’t need to bulk up. I’m sure some of Nishikori’s injury problems stem from this weight/muscle gain. His frame is slight and can’t take it.
A Catch 22 situation for many players.


Wog Boy Says:

ulysses02,
In no way I took your earlier comment as offensive, why would I? It was fair comment and I agreed with most of it, just think that it is little bit late now, that’s all, I don’t mind if Monfils proves me wrong, just not this coming FO;)


Daniel Says:

No Margot, heard from you now.

Seems if he ends up bottom of top 10 this year it will already be great for him in his current state.

Berdych is the next to follow than Wawa me thinks. Wawa looks like he is mentally tired to put himsrlf into all the effort and comitment to stay at the top. If he doesn’t do any damage including RG think he’ll start to drop as well.


Wog Boy Says:

I am better off posting it here, Andy’s thread is little bit overstretched:
Funny (and sad) thing is that Serena and Nole won most prestigious sport award in the world, which is huge, not just for themselves, but even more for tennis as a sport, but there is no thread about that.
When certain one goes to Hollywood, we have thread after thread what he is doing there and who is he meeting which is, of course, far more important than Laureus with hundred of former and present greatest sport champions in the audience.
Good job TX.


Daniel Says:

Indeed WB, there should be a thread to praise Novak and Serena. Laureus is big, sometimes seema tennis-x are on day off and some days they flood 6 threads at the same time. Go figure.


SG1 Says:

Margot Says:

Well that’s a shame SG1 because I just bet my house that you will. Nothing on Gaelforce tho….;)

—————-

LOL! There’s already too much stress in life. Now I have to worry about where you’re going to live after Roland Garros. AHHHHH!


SG1 Says:

Margot,

I just can’t buy what Gael is selling. What’s point of being able to hit a jumping 105 mph forehand if you miss the easy ones (…relatively easy ones anyway) when the match is on the line. And he’s not going to get a whole lot more fit between now and RG. He looked completely out of gas at the beginning of the 3rd set.

Does Monfils have a better chance of winning RG than you winning the lottery? Sure. But I think the odds aren’t as far apart many may think. The present group of French players is talented and impressive. Yet between them, how many major finals have they made it to. Perhaps 2? Over the last what…10 years? This group just doesn’t seem to have the DNA to win majors. Not with Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Murray and Stan kicking around.


Margot Says:

@SG1
As I shall blame you if I become homeless after RG, I intend to come and live in a shed in your garden, so there….;)
Agree about Gael, fabulous to watch from an entertainment point of view, but so frustrating if you are a fan. And, unlikely as you say, to win RG this year, anyway. Happy to be proved wrong.
As for the French, love their flair and individuality and the sheer joy they bring to tennis.
And the adorable doubles partnership of PHH and Mahut look as if they may take over from the Bryans, unless Jamie and Bruno can offer a challenge.


SG1 Says:

And time is running out. Sooner or later, the Zverev’s of this world are going to step up and make their claims to Slam titles.


SG1 Says:

Margot…I’ll make sure the guest house is in tip top shape for your arrival in June… ;)


SG1 Says:

No late night partying though.


RZ Says:

SG1 – here’s a tip to help you win the French Open (and effectively keep Margot in her house): buy a pair of ugly red checkered shorts. They produce magic on the clay of Roland Garros!


Ulysses Says:

Yeah the Zverev’s, Coric’s etc etc of this world will stand up and so forth. That’s what they said of the old new crop. I mean, Nishikori, Dimitrov, those guys were very impressive (and they are). We may be right in that the roadblock was the greatest 4 or 5 players in one generation we’ve seen in a while. That’s excusable (and should squash weak era theories).

But I’ve just yet to see proof that Monfils can’t beat just about any other player if motivated other than Nadal, Djokovic and weirdly, Berdych. It’s partly a mental roadblock with those guys. You hear him say things like “you know, you’ve gotta admit sometimes that he’s just too good” when he plays those 3. You just don’t hear him say that about any other player, even Federer. When he thrashed Dimitrov, who was playing very well at the time, it’s that belief that “I can take him” which makes me think the guy stands a chance. I wouldn’t write Gael Monfils off.

Now, as to upcoming talent, my pick remains Dominic Thiem. I’d just him over Kyrgios, Coric, Zverev etc. He’s just mentally and physically stronger and Coric’s talent will always be his kryptonite (although he might pull a Djokovic and totally prove me wrong). Like, he’s there.


Margot Says:

Oh really RZ, those are lengths, or should I say shorts, to which any self-respecting person should not go, even for the sake of winning RG.
SG1: very glad to hear it, tho really it’s the least you can do in the circumstances…
Ooh just noticed how close SG is to RG, a mere letter away. Must be an omen. ;)


J-Kath Says:

Margot and SG1

Great, best chuckle I’ve had for a time —Margot and SG1 —price winning in the entertainment section.

Is there a winner?

Next match tomorrow?


MMT Says:

I think Monfils is an exceptional athlete masquerading as a tennis player. I don’t think he has a snowball’s chance of winning RG or any major this or any year, and not because it’s too late, but because he doesn’t have the skills.


MMT Says:

“gee Says:…He tanked worse than Roddick did at 2 Wimbledons & Masters Cup vs. fed.”

Did you mean choked her, or tanked? I was no huge fan of Roddick, but I’d be shocked if it turned out he ever tanked a match, let alone 3 of them, to Federer or anyone else?

Somewhere “Von” is breaking her computer reading that.


Humble Rafa Says:

Is it possible that you may get permanently injured while imagining lifting the RG trophy..don’t dismiss this as a joke, Mr. Monf.

Also, as a proud Frenchman, don’t you want to continue the tradition of your founding fathers..choking when it matters most.


Daniel Says:

MMT,

I was thinking the same thing reading some og gee’s posts agaisnt Roddick kkkkkk


SG1 Says:

Margot Says:

Oh really RZ, those are lengths, or should I say shorts, to which any self-respecting person should not go, even for the sake of winning RG.

——————

I’d play in a Tiara and a leisure suit to get an FO title. Stan’s shorts from last year don’t scare me one bit. I wonder if La Monf could say the same?


Ulysses Says:

MMT,

Do tell why La Monf man, a top-15 (career high 7) player “doesn’t have the skills.” Surely there are no other greatly gifted tennis players that have much less to show for their athleticism.

I didn’t know the specie existed: zero-skilled tennis players, not particularly known for the prowess of any one killer shot as say a serve- or forehand-bot would, ranked in the top-25 for 70% of the past 9 seasons (injury/recovery periods obviously excluded).

Objectively speaking, smells of similar arguments periodically levied against “athletic” or “flamboyant” quarterbacks.

Lets consider Fognini. Flamboyant, puerile athletic, and the much lesser of the two by historical record. Never even heard such comments about him.


Ulysses Says:

Make that top-20

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