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Gaël Monfils ( ) (born September 1, 1986) is a Frenchmarker professional male tennis player. He is currently the second highest ranked French tennis player, and number 13 in the world (November 2009).

He has won two ATP singles finals, the first in 2005 at Sopot, and the second at Metz in late 2009. He was the runner-up at the 2009 Paris Masters.

Tennis career


In 2002, Monfils finished as runner-up at the Dutch Junior Open. In the same year, he won the German Junior Open (d. Bayer). Monfils ended the year ranked the 44th junior in the world. He also represented France in the junior Davis Cup.


2003 got off to a positive start as Monfils earned his first career ATP point at the France Futures #13 by reaching the second round. He also reached the second round at France #14, Egypt #2, and Spain #28. In that year, he played a total of nine Futures events. This included a showing in the doubles final at Spain #27. In junior events, he was the runner-up at Orange Bowl (l. to Marcos Baghdatis) and USTA International Winter Championships (l. to Sebastian Rieschick). He reached the quarter-final of the Australian Open juniors tournament (l. to Florin Mergea) and won the doubles title at the Victorian Junior Championships (with Josselin Ouanna). He was ranked number 21 in junior rankings at the end of the year.


In 2004, the French teenager finished as the world's number 1 junior, winning three of four junior Grand Slam events (Australian Openmarker, French Openmarker, Wimbledonmarker). He improved his INDESIT ATP Entry Ranking by over 700 positions. In October, he made his ATP debut as a wild card entrant in Metzmarker and reached the quarter-final, defeating Xavier Malisse and Olivier Patience and losing to countryman Richard Gasquet. He qualified for the ATP Masters Series in Paris and reached the second round beating former Top 10 player Thomas Enqvist before falling to No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt. He won junior titles at the Australian Openmarker (d. Ouanna), French Openmarker (d. Kuznetsov) and Wimbledonmarker (d. Kasiri). He did not drop a set down under and lost one set each at the French Open and Wimbledon. He reached the third at the U.S.marker Openmarker (l. to Troicki). He also won the LTA International Junior Championship in Roehampton (d. Murray). He was the runner-up at the Australian Hardcourt Junior Championships (l. to Zverev) and was 31-2 in junior events. In April, he reached his first career Futures final at Italy #4 (l. to Dlouhy). A week later, he won his first Futures title at Great Britain #1 (d. Bogdanović). He reached the quarter-final of the Grenoble Challenger. He went 14-6 in Futures and 3–5 in Challengers in 2004.

In doubles, Monfils reached the final at France #7 (w/Ouanna). He reached the semifinal at the Australian Open and the quarterfinal at the French Open (w/Ouanna).


In 2005, the young Frenchman made one of the biggest moves in the Top 50 from the previous season, climbing 200 ranking spots. He finished the year as the No. 3 Frenchman (behind No. 16 Richard Gasquet, No. 26 Sébastien Grosjean) and captured his first ATP title while reaching two other finals.

In the first seven months, he won Challenger titles in Benancon (d. C. Rochus) and Tunis (d. Santoro), and also reached the fourth round at the ATP Masters Series Miami (l. to Hrbaty) and a Grand Slam best third round appearance at Wimbledon (l. to Ančić). He compiled a 10-14 record in ATP level play and 12-1 in Challengers through July.

In the last three months, he went 15-8, highlighted by his first ATP clay title at the Idea Prokom Open in Sopot (d. Mayer). Then he struggled with a 2–5 mark before reaching the final in two of the last three indoor tournaments of the season, both in his native country in Metz (d. Gasquet, Hrbaty, l. to Ljubičić) and Lyon (d. Gaudio, Grosjean, l. to Roddick). He went 11-4 in tie-breaks and 1–2 vs. top 10 opponents, defeating No. 10 Gastón Gaudio in his first match of the season in Doha. He compiled records of 12-10 on hard, 6–7 on clay, 5–2 on carpet and 2–3 on grass.


In his first tournament of 2006, in Dohamarker, he reached the final but lost 3–6, 6–7 to world number 1 Roger Federer. In a surprising event in Las Vegas there was a Tennis paddle tournament held by the Tennis Channel. Monfils was given a wildcard into the doubles event but became more interested and inquired about getting a singles wildcard into the main draw. He then received an entry into the qualifying singles (which he won) on a count of it being unfair for the other players in the main draw. Monfils competed in the main draw of this Paddle tennis Tournament and surprised everyone when he outed world no.1 Paddle Tennis player Scott Freedman and eventually went on to win the whole tournament.

Later on in 2006 Monfils reached the semi-finals of the Rome Tennis Masters Series before losing to the eventual champion Rafael Nadal. En route to the semi-finals Monfils defeated former world number one Andy Roddick. He then entered the ATP Hamburg masters event where he lost in straight sets to fellow teenager Andy Murray in the first round. After that he faced Murray once more, this time in the first round of the French Open. After a gruelling five - set battle, Monfils emerged victorious. Monfils then proceeded to play the Belgian Dick Norman in the second round. Once again the match went to five sets and Monfils got the better of his formidable opponent. Monfils then faced his toughest opponent yet, the American James Blake. Blake was the favourite for the win, as he was 8th seed while Monfils was 25th seed. However, Monfils defeated Blake in another 5 set match. Monfils described this run as 'a marathon'. Blake said of Monfils that 'he was the fastest man on the tour'. The fourth round was Monfils' last, as he lost to Novak Đoković in straight sets. Monfils said after the match: 'I am disappointed that I didn't take the opportunity, but you can expect me to return next year'. Monfils then left the court to a standing ovation.

As a result of his progress at the French Open, Monfils moved up 5 positions to reach a career high of No.23. This also made him the number one player in France, two positions ahead of Sébastien Grosjean.

Monfils then entered the Stella Artois Championships, where he won his first round match against Jürgen Melzer. He then played the American Bobby Reynolds and won in straight sets. His third round encounter was the third time he would face the world no.4 Ivan Ljubičić. Though the odds were against his, Monfils triumphed in straight sets, 7–6, 7–5. His quarter - final draw was with James Blake, who he had met earlier at the French Open. This time Blake succeeded. After having lost a set, Monfils retired as a result of a back injury. This injury effectively ruled his out of the Nottingham championships due to take place the following week.

At the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, Monfils made a surprising first-round exit when defeated by Igor Kunitsyn. Monfils won the first set, but ended up losing the next three, 5–7 7–6 6–3 6–4.


At the 2007 Australian Open, Monfils won his first round match against Daniele Bracciali 7–6 (7–2) 6–7 (9-11) 6–4 7–6 (7–5), and caused an upset after beating 11th seed Marcos Baghdatis 7–6 (7–5) 6–2 2–6 6–0 in the second round. During this match Monfils won the crowd over from the favourite Baghdatis, putting on an unbelievable show of tennis. A memorable moment being a forehand winner that Monfils hit at above 190 km/h, with commentator Jim Courier saying it was the best and fastest he has ever seen. However, he failed to defeat his friend and compatriot Richard Gasquet in the 3rd round of the Australian Open, losing 0–6 6–4 5–7 3–6.

Monfils had a good run in Poertschach as a warm-up for the French Open. He won his first match against Sam Querrey 6–4, 7–5. He defeated 7th seeded Hyung-Taik Lee by a score of 7–6(5), 6–4. In the third round, he triumphed over 2nd seeded Andy Roddick 7–5, 6–3 for one of the most impressive wins of the year for Monfils. He followed that win up in the semifinals with a win over 4th seed Australian Lleyton Hewitt 6–4, 7–5. The tournament ended with a loss against Juan Mónaco of Argentina in the 4th final of his young career by a score of 6–7(3), 0–6.

He failed to repeat his fourth round run of 2006 at the French Open, losing in the third round to David Nalbandian in a closely-contested 4 set match. He had beaten Olivier Rochus in the first round and upset the number 18 seed Juan Ignacio Chela in round 2.

The 2007 Wimbledon Championships have brought Monfils further success, having reached the 3rd round without dropping a set. He lost to Nikolay Davydenko, the sixth seed, in straight sets, 6–3, 7–5, 6–3.

Monfils cruised to the semifinals of the 2007 Legg Mason Tennis Classic, before losing to American John Isner in a thrilling 7–6, 6–7, 6–7 match. Monfils has dramatically improved since being labeled a clay court specialist with his continued success on grass and hard courts.

Monfils withdrew from the 2007 U.S. Open with a hamstring injury. He also was forced to withdraw from the 2008 Australian Open due to the same injury.


In the French Openmarker, Monfils reached a semi-final berth for the first time in any Grand Slam. On his way he defeated fellow countryman Arnaud Clément and well as Luis Horna, Jürgen Melzer, Ivan Ljubičić, and 5th seed David Ferrer who he defeated 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 6–1 becoming the first Frenchman in the semi finals since 2001. Monfils was defeated by no. 1 seed Roger Federer 2-6, 7-5, 3-6, 5-7.

A shoulder injury forced Monfils to withdraw from the 2008 Wimbledon Championships shortly before he was due to play his first round match.

Monfils was selected to play in the Olympics in Beijing by France and made a successful start for a medal by defeating the 14th seed Nicolas Almagro. He backed up this win by beating Victor Hănescu 6-4, 7-6. Monfils then set up a meeting with 3rd seed Novak Djokovic by downing Argentine David Nalbandian 6-4 6-4 to reach the Quarter Finals, but lost to the Serb 6-4, 1-6, 4-6.

At the US Openmarker Monfils lost in the fourth round to Mardy Fish on Monfils' birthday (September 1) in straight sets after having defeated World No. 7 David Nalbandian again, in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

In the Thailand Open Monfils reached the semi finals with a first round bye followed by straight sets victories over Robert Kendrick and Philipp Petzschner. However, there seemed to be little competition from him when he was defeated by his good friend Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 0-6, 3-6.

Monfils also looked convincing in the BA-CA Tennis Trophy played in Viennamarker, Austria with notable wins over Radek Štěpánek, Fernando González and Philipp Kohlschreiber. Unfortunately for Monfils he was not able to claim the title losing 4-6, 4-6 to Philipp Petzschner in the final.


Monfils played in Doha as his first tournament and caused an upset in the quarters against Nadal 6-4 6-4. Monfils lost to finalist Andy Roddick in 3 sets 6-7 6-3 3-6, being up a break in the first set 5-4 and losing it.

When in the 2009 Australian Open, Monfils started strongly by defeating Martin Vassallo Arguello in straight sets 6-1, 6-3, 7-5. He continued by defeating Stefan Koubek 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the second round, and Nicolas Almagro in the third 6-4, 6-3, 7-5. He lost to fellow frenchman Gilles Simon in the fourth round, 4-6, 6-2, 1-6, retiring due to a wrist injury.

At the 2009 Abierto Mexicano Telcel Monfils defeated Olivier Patience 7-6(4), 6-4 in the first round and Thomaz Bellucci 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-1 in the second round. He then defeated Leonardo Mayer in the quarter finals 6-3, 6-7(4), 4-1, his opponent retiring due to injury; and in the semifinals José Acasuso 6-3, 6-4. He lost in the final to Nicolas Almagro, 4-6, 4-6.

Monfils competed at the Monte Carlo Mastersmarker, losing in the first round to Janko Tipsarevic with the score 6-3, 6-1.

His recent knee injury, caused by Osgood-Schlatter disease resulted in his withdrawal from the Romemarker and the Madrid Masters. He however competed at the Roland Garrosmarker, and won his first round match against Bobby Reynolds 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. He then completed another straight sets victory in the second round by overcoming Victor Crivoi 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. In the third round, Monfils beat Jurgen Melzer 6-2 4-6 6-3 6-1. Against Melzer, Monfils made one of the most spectacular plays of the tournament, hitting a diving lob back to Melzer, sliding to save another point of Melzer and then putting the point away. He then played a much anticipated fourth round match against Andy Roddick, who made 28 unforced errors and allowing Monfils to win in straight sets (6-4, 6-2, 6-3). Monfils lost in the quarterfinals to Roger Federer, as in the previous year.

Monfils withdrew from the 2009 Wimbledon Championships due to a wrist injury.

Monfils returned to competition at the 2009 Montreal Masters. In his first round match he defeated former grand slam champion Marat Safin 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. He lost to qualifier Juan Carlos Ferrero in his second match 6-3, 7-6 (7) ending his Master Series campaign.In the 2009 US Open he defeated Jérémy Chardy and Andreas Beck in straight sets in the opening rounds. He then faced Argentine Jose Acasuso, winning the first two sets 6-3, 6-4 then Acasuso retire after Monfils won the first game of the third set. He lost to world #3 Rafael Nadal in the fourth round in four sets.

Monfils won the Open de Moselle held in Metz, France as the No.1 seed. He received a first round bye before downing Sebastien Grosjean 6-1, 6-1 in the second round. In the quarterfinals Monfils defeated Serbian Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 4-2 after Tipsarevic retired with an injury. Monfils then brushed off a stern test from Richard Gasquet to claim a spot in the final with a convincing 6-4, 6-3 win. He faced Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final and came out on top with a scoreline of 7-6, 3-6, 6-2.

Monfils made the quarterfinals at the Malaysian Open held in Kuala Lumpurmarker despite suffering from jetlag. He won his first round clash 7-6(3), 7-6(2) against Denis Istomin. Monfils then thrashed Martin Vassallo Arguello 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarters. Unfortunately he then lost 6-3, 6-3 to Nikolay Davydenko.

At the Japan Open Monfils reached the semi-final stage after beating Marsel Ilhan 6-2, 6-4 in the first round and Marco Chiudinelli 7-6, 6-3 in the second. Monfils then showed great character in the quarterfinals against Stanislas Wawrinka coming from a set down to then dispose of him 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. His good run came to an end in the semis losing to eventual champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

His next tournament his the Shanghai Masters, he won his first round match against compratiot Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-4 and then defeated former No.1 Lleyton Hewitt in the second round. He then played Ivan Ljubicic in the next round, losing the first set 6-2, and then being forced to retire with a back injury, when Ljubicic was leading the second set 3-0.

At the Paris Masters, Monfils defeated qualifier David Guez in straight sets. He took out compatriot Julien Benneteau who had upset Roger Federer in the previous round in straight sets as well to reach the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals he defeated #12 seed Marin Čilić 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. He then outlasted Radek Štěpánek in the semifinals 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final. Unfortunately, he was defeated in a gripping, epic final by Novak Djokovic by the smallest of margins, with a score of 2-6, 7-5, 6-7(3).

Personal life

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 employed as an agent for France Telecom, comes from the island of Guadeloupemarker, France. His mother, Sylvette, comes from the island of Martiniquemarker, France and is a nurse. He also has one younger brother, 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 Denver Nuggets 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. Monfils is also a fan of football and his two favorite football clubs are Arsenal F.C. and Paris-Saint Germain.

He was coached by countryman and former ATP pro Thierry Champion (since September 2004) but they parted company in September 2006. Nevertheless, Monfils's fitness trainer is still Rémi Barbarin. Monfils announced a partnership with a new coach, Tarik Benhabiles, in May 2007. However, for the 2008 season, Monfils has hired Roger Rasheed as his coach.

He dated WTA player Dominika Cibulková - the women's tennis player from Slovakiamarker in 2008.

He has tattoos on both wrists.

Playing style and equipment

Monfils is usually described as 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. Monfils is well known for his speed, athleticism, and court coverage. However, his ability to go from defense to offense very quickly often takes his opponents by surprise. Although Monfils is mostly a defensive player, he occasionally demonstrates that he is capable of generating significant pace on his groundstrokes, particularly his forehand. 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, though Monfils himself disputes copying Roddick's serve. He now has a service motion that appears very similar to Roddick's. Monfils is sponsored by Nikemarker and uses their clothes and shoes while he plays with a Prince racquet. He is strong built and a fast moveraround the court. He is shown to have immense talent and his athletisim has been compared to Rafael Nadal. He has problems staying focused during matches and if he is losing he tends to give in mentally.

ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Finals

Singles: 1 (0–1)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2009 Paris Hard (i) Novak Djokovic 6–2, 5–7, 7–6(3)

Singles finals

Singles: 2 (2–7)

Wins (2)
Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam (0)
Tennis Masters Cup /
ATP World Tour Finals (0)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (0)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (2)
Runner-ups (7)
Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam (0)
Tennis Masters Cup /
ATP World Tour Finals (0)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (1)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (2)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (4)

Outcome. No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. August 1, 2005 Sopot, Polandmarker Clay Florian Mayer 7–6(6), 4–6, 7–5
Runner-up 1. October 9, 2005 Metz, Francemarker Hard (i) Ivan Ljubičić 7–6(7), 6–0
Runner-up 2. October 30, 2005 Lyon, France Carpet (i) Andy Roddick 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 3. January 8, 2006 Doha, Qatarmarker Hard Roger Federer 6–3, 7–6(5)
Runner-up 4. May 20, 2007 Pörtschach, Austriamarker Clay Juan Mónaco 7–6(3), 6–0
Runner-up 5. October 4, 2008 Vienna, Austria Hard (i) Philipp Petzschner 6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 6. February 28, 2009 Acapulcomarker, Mexicomarker Clay Nicolas Almagro 6–4, 6–4
Winner 2. September 27, 2009 Metz, France Hard (i) Philipp Kohlschreiber 7–6(1), 3–6, 6–2
Runner-up 7. November 15, 2009 Paris, France Hard (i) Novak Djokovic 6–2, 5–7, 7–6(3)

Singles performance timeline

NMS means an event that was not an ATP Masters Series tournament.
NM1 means an event that was not an ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only once a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. This table is current through the 2009 Malaysian Open, which concluded on October 4 2009.

Tournament 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Career W–L
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Openmarker A A 2R 1R 3R A 4R 6–4
French Openmarker A LQ 1R 4R 3R SF QF 14–5
Wimbledonmarker A A 3R 1R 3R A A 4–3
US Openmarker A A 1R 2R A 4R 4R 7–4
Grand Slam W–L 0-0 0-0 3-4 4-4 6-3 8-2 10-3 31-16
Year-end championships
ATP World Tour Finals
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Indian Wells Mastersmarker A A 2R 3R 1R 1R 2R 4–5
Miami Mastersmarker A A 4R 2R 1R 2R 4R 7–5
Monte Carlo Mastersmarker A A 1R 1R 1R 3R 1R 2–5
Rome Mastersmarker A A A SF 1R LQ A 5–2
Madrid Masters A A 1R 1R A QF A 3–3
Canada Masters A A A A A 1R 2R 1–2
Cincinnati Masters A A 3R 2R A 2R 1R 4–4
Shanghai Masters Not ATP Masters Series 3R 2–1
Paris Masters A 2R A 1R A 3R F 7–4
Hamburg Mastersmarker A A A 1R A A NM1 0–1
ATP Finals Reached
ATP Tournaments Won 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2
Year-End Ranking 925 239 30 46 38 14 N/A

  • Davis Cup and World Team Cup matches are included in the statistics. Walkovers are neither official wins nor official losses.


  1. Monfils Doubtful for French Open, Retrieved April 21, 2009
  2. [1]
  3. Pro Tennis Fan: October 2005
  4. BBC SPORT | Tennis | Monfils tames Grosjean in Lyon
  5. The Peculiar Evolution of Today's Tennis Serve - June 25, 2007 - The New York Sun

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