How Come Monfils Looks Like He’s More A Court Jester than a Serious Player?

I watched the second set tie-breaker between Monfils and Lleyton Hewitt today. The breaker was Monfils for the taking. He had openings, he has the bigger serve, but I’ve never seen a top-20 player sabotage himself as much as Monfils does. He hits the ball almost with a nonchalant whip. He tries shots that made Boris Becker, who was announcing the match on the Tennis Channel, say, “Monfils was going for the reaction of the crowd rather than a winner on that shot.” And he misses on balls that he seems to just give up on. It’s almost like he cares more about winning style points than matches. Hewitt, of course, is the exact opposite. The Aussie’s game is more metronomic than flashy and all he cares about is getting the Big W. (And maybe uttering a couple of good ‘ol “Come on’s!” and having his pretty blonde wife who’s always in a sun dress, smile down on him from the stands.)

Roger Rasheed, who has been Monfils’ coach for too long in my opinion because the Frenchman seems like he’s always injured and still doesn’t try hard enough, winced when Hewitt missed an easy shot in the breaker today. Then I think Rasheed realized that he’s not Hewitt’s coach anymore, and quickly wiped the expression off his face. But I could understand why he wouldn’t want to be Monfils’ coach. Never has so much talent been wasted in such a major fashion.

The rankings always mystify me, too. How is this guy ranked No. 20 when he’s been dropped from all three majors this year in the third round and has only reached three quarters in minor tournaments, well, maybe Madrid is a Masters Event, not sure about that one? How is that a top-20 showing? I know it’s 52-weeks, but still.

I, personally, can’t root for Monfils anymore. He’s like the Tracy McGrady of tennis, only not as talented as McGrady, he can’t win the big one or even get out of the first round of the playoffs, like McGrady, in almost every big event except the French. Au revoir, Gael. Good riddance, brother. Next time your on Centre Court Wimbledon, come out and compete 100%.

Monfils should hire Brad Gilbert as his coach. I think Brad might be able to get Monfils to understand about playing points in a winning fashion. Rasheed certainly hasn’t gotten that message across.

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 26, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Red, could not agree with you more. It’s so frsutrating to see La Monf unable to fulfill his talents. This guy must be super stubborn – as top tennis players can be – as he simply wants to play on his terms, for the show and not the percentage shot.He is a crowd pleaser, that’s his personality, he is a showman, he loves to play using his athleticism at full throttle. It would be so interesting to see what he could do if he played smart tactical tennis, but we’re probably never going to see it.

    Just like we never really saw the best of Rios.
    Just like we never saw Spadea get into Rambo type shape.
    Just like we never saw Blake play patient tactical tennis (Blake played showman tennis too)

    Also, do you remember that period of Becker’s stubborn insistence on trying to outbattle Agassi from the baseline and beat Agassi at his own game? Ironically, Boom Boom could be just as stubborn as Monfils.



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