Jannik Sinner gives Gael Monfils highest praise possible for a tennis player

Sinner defeated Monfils in the past week in Rotterdam.

Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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When tennis was arguably at its most popular in the 1970s and 1980s, the reason for the sport being so was likely because of the quality of play plus the character of the players. Moreover, tennis allowed the characters of the players to be shown. This was not a time of simply hitting the ball back and forth from baseline to baseline, but allowing a player to show emotion and, well...be human.

While Gael Monfils has never reached the final of a Grand Slam and never been ranked in the top five on the ATP tour, he has consistently been a more entertaining watch than many who have been ranked among the best in tennis. The reason? He doesn't mind being himself on the court and showing some flare.

He is also, of course, a really good player. Maybe he has never won at the highest level, but he also has never been an easy out. He is a tricky player who will take every opportunity he has to try an unorthodox shot. And heck, he makes a bunch of them too.

Jannik Sinner is understandably appreciative of Gael Monfils

Even though Jannik Sinner beat Monfils last week at the ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam on Sinner's way to winning the tournament, that does not mean Sinner has not been a long-term fan of Monfils. Sinner is the better player now and would have likely been the better player 10 years ago had Sinner been of age to play Monfils. There was no shame for Monfils to lose to the Italian.

After the match, Sinner seemed more like a fan than someone who had just triumphed over his opponent. Sinner said of Monfils, "He’s an incredible showman. All the crowd and people, they love him. That’s what this sport needs...When I came to the tour, he was always nice from the beginning. I think that's also (something) to admire."

I am not even sure which part of that is best from Sinner. It is all true. Yes, tennis needs Monfils more than he needs tennis most likely. But that Monfils was nice to his fellow players as well when he had no reason to go out of his way to be? Awesome.

Simply put, the quality of today's tennis is great. The character of tennis to the general public, though? Not so much. Tennis needs more players such as Gael Monfils and Jannik Sinner is completely aware of that.

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