Gael Monfils indelible mark
In this way, Monfils gave himself the ability to cope and truly enjoy what he was able to do around the world.
His reckless style took its toll over the years as has missed 15 Grand Slam events since 2005. When he was at the big events, his game did not translate against the best. Monfils is 2-14 against Nadal. 4-10 against Federer and a stunning 0-18 against Novak.
He would typically cap out around the 3rd or 4th round at the Majors. But you knew in those handful of matches he was there, it was must-see TV. That was almost more important than him winning. That singular moment of Monfils magic made you wonder, how the heck did he do that?
Few players can ever share that kind of gift in sports. To do it all the time for nearly 20 years is something else entirely.
Even now, at 36 years old and ranked almost 400th in the world, he is making another run in Washington at the ATP 500 event. As of this writing, he is locked in a 3rd set battle for a Quarterfinal berth.
Yet, in previous rounds, he is still flying through the air for overheads and making something out of nothing. It’s intrinsic to who he is. His tennis DNA is to put on the best show possible first and foremost. Winning is a nice bonus.
While that is backward to what one might think for someone at the highest level of athletics, but it worked for him. He reached a career-high of No. 6 in the world and his aforementioned stats above will always be there. Did he leave more on the table in his career? Perhaps, but what he did capture, the hearts and memories of tennis fans around the world, is more than enough for the one and only Monfils.
He will be missed whenever he finally stops playing for good. Until then, when he takes the court stop whatever you’re doing and sit down. You’re bound to see something spectacular.