Who Is Gael Monfils?
Gael Monfils is the ATP’s 10th ranked player in the world, who ousted Andy Roddick from French Open on Monday at Roland Garros. Monfils who was born on September 1, 1986 in Bobigny, France, is currently the third highest ranked French tennis player. Gaël is nicknamed “La Monf”, or occasionally “Sliderman” due to his unusual sliding technique, especially on clay surfaces. He is of Caribbean heritage, his father, Rufin, a former soccer player and soccer agent, comes from the french island of Guadeloupe and his mother, Sylvette, a nurse hails from the island of Martinique. Monfils has a younger brother named Daryl.
Monfils considers Arthur Ashe to be his favorite player. He is fond of listening to music, particularly R&B. If he did not play tennis, he would play basketball. He is a huge fan of NBA team Detroit Pistons and his favorite basketball player is Carmelo Anthony. His best friends are countrymen and former juniors Josselin Ouanna and Paterne Mamata and fellow pros Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
He was coached by countryman and former ATP pro Thierry Champion since September of 2004, but they parted company in September 2006. Nevertheless, Monfils’s fitness trainer is still Rémi Barbarin and for the 2008 season, Monfils has hired Roger Rasheed as his coach.
Monfils is primarily a defensive counter-puncher who likes to stand far back from the baseline and retrieve every shot until he forces an error from his opponent or maneuvers around to hit a clean winner.
However, his ability to go from defense to offense very quickly often takes his opponents by surprise. His signature shot is his two-handed backhand which he sometimes executes in mid-air. Although Monfils is mostly a defensive player, during his own service games, he tends to go for an ace or a one two combination to finish off the points early. Only when he is forced to play an extended rally (usually on his opponent’s serve) does he retreat to a counter-punching position. He is also known for dancing to celebrate victories. Monfils possesses a huge serve capable of reaching over 140 mph.
Tennis commentators have noted that during his time on the junior tour, he imitated the service motion of Andy Roddick, who possesses the fastest ever recorded serve, though Monfils himself disputes copying Roddick’s serve. He now has a service motion that appears very similar to Roddick.