Gael Monfils (MON Feeze) is without question high on my favorite players list, and also on the who I’d most like to have drinks with. The athletic Frenchman is one of the most fun and entertaining players to ever grace a tennis court. And talk about great photos .. no chance of getting bored at a Monfils match. Running, sliding, leaping, joyous, sad, this Frenchy’s matchs have it all.. and what about those arms? Fortunately for the women in the crowd, K-Swiss had the good scense to keep in in a sleevless shirt. My only problem is coming away with so many photos to edit and choose from. Of course I’d certainly rather have that problem than struggling for hours to get a couple of decent interesting images.
Nicknamed “Sliderman” for his superhuman sliding ability even on hard courts, this has become his signature move. I remember watching him on court one at the US Open, sliding sideways as if it were clay and wondering how in the world he does it, and how hard it is on his body. His coach Roger Rasheed, confirmed that he has advised Gael that he should take lessen his sliding on hard courts, but the Frenchman loves his move, feels sliding is faster and easier, has been quoted as saying, ” To me, it’s a gift, it’s natural. It may be different, but I’m me. I’m more of an artist.”
Anyone who has had the pleasure of watching a Monfils match live will agree, this is tennis art at it’s best. His spectacular shot making, along with a mercurial personality will steal the spotlight from even the top ranked guys, but no one accuses him of showboating. This is just simply who Gael Monfils is. Rafael Nadal has commented that “Monfils is a special player, a different player, a spectacular player, He is very good for tennis.”
Unfortunately the tall wiry Monfils has been injury prone and mentally suspect for a lot of his career, but Rasheed, is working on both problems. Sometimes when I’m looking at him through a long lens, and he is loosing points, he looks so sad it makes you sad for him. He’s like a child who is frustrated and unhappy when things start going wrong for them, but then when they turn around, the smile and joy are infectious.
Watching him today against David Ferrer, the ground stroking machine from Spain, I did feel he was mentally stronger. After he lost his serve at 5-3 in the fifth, then was unable to break Ferrer, frankly I thought it was all over. Ferrer may be 29 but he is in super condition, and is a fighter to the death, but Monfils shook it off and won the match 8-6 in the final.He’s looking like more of a serious player, someone who wants to win a slam rather then just wow the crowd.
He’ll face The Fed in the next round and personally, I like his chances. Since this match today was called for darkness last night it will mean Gael will have to play 3 days in a row, but we know he will give it his all no matter how he feels, and the French fans will certainly be a factor.
My favorite quote from Sliderman, “I love tennis, but the main thing in my life, is life,”.
In this world of computer generated everything, it’s great to have an original.