Gael Monfils shines on Court Phillipe Chatrier
For former top 10 player Gael Monfils, 2023 has been a culmination of struggles.
Struggles that included a winless record coming into the French Open, along with injuries and fitness struggles.
One had to wonder whether Monfils’ days of competing were over.
Yet, Tuesday’s night session at Court Phillips Chatrier indicated otherwise.
A time violation warning.
It didn’t matter.
At the end, Monfils was pictured crying on the French clay.
A five-set marathon with oohs and ahhhhs.
Gael Monfils took us on a trip down memory lane.
A memory lane which included hitting extraordinary shots, impressing us with his fitness, and remaining resilient through adversity.
Gael Monfils def. Sebastian Baez 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5
In a near 4 hour thriller, Gael Monfils edged out Sebastian Baez.
At times, it wasn’t looking great for Monfils.
For example, in the final set, he was down 4-0, yet he somehow rattled out seven of the next eight games, dealing with cramps, fatigue, and match duration.
Notably, this was Monfils’ first slam appearance since the 2022 Australian Open.
Monfils took us on a trip down memory lane, hitting incredible shots that we might have imagined were beyond reach.
No matter what Baez threw at him, Monfils was there every step of the way, even the drop shots that required the 36-year-old to run as fast as he could.
For Gael Monfils, not only is this an incredible result, but it’s also a much needed one.
As mentioned, 2023 has not been so kind for Monfils, and to be able to edge out a top 50 player and a clay-court specialist in a five-set match, Monfils has to feel good about his chances going forward.
Monfils will likely be playing on Phillipe Chatrier again, and, of course will be a crowd favorite.
However, his next opponent, Holger Rune, will bring an even greater challenge.
Rune is one of the top players on tour at the moment, and is among one of the favorites to hoist the trophy.
With his hard hitting abilities and recent levels of high consistency, this will again be a fight for Monfils.
Even if Rune gets off to a hot start, Monfils has all the momentum in the world and should embrace a ‘nothing to lose’ mantra, with the crowd behind him singing La Marseillaise.