Gael Monfils ‘Feeling Great’ Ahead Of Return As He Gives Update On Wife Elina’s Comeback - UBITENNIS
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Gael Monfils ‘Feeling Great’ Ahead Of Return As He Gives Update On Wife Elina’s Comeback

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Image via https://twitter.com/Gael_Monfils

Former world No.6 Gael Monfils will end his hiatus from the Tour on Wednesday at Indian Wells after being absent from professional tennis for almost seven months. 

The 36-year-old French star has been sidelined from action since injuring his leg at the Canadian Masters last summer. Usually, a long injury break is a frustrating experience for a tennis player but in Monfils’ case, it was also a blessing in disguise. Last October his wife, fellow tennis player Elina Monfils, gave birth to a baby girl called Skaï. 

After enjoying time with his first child who he calls his ‘little princess,’ Monfils is finally back on the Tour. As a result of his absence, he has dropped down to 210th in the world but is eager to climb his way back up the rankings once again.  

“I feel great,” Monfils said during an interview with ATPTour.com. “It’s been a couple months now I’m away. At the same time, I have a couple weeks without my little princess. It’s the first time, it’s the first feeling like that. It’s a mixed feeling, but in a positive way.”

So far in Monfils’ career, he has won 11 Tour titles and earned almost $21M in prize money. He is one of the very few players to have contested at least one Tour final for 18 consecutive seasons (2005-2022) and he has recorded more than 500 victories.

Returning to action has been a long process for Monfils who had to gradually build up his fitness again over the weeks. He initially planned to return during the European indoor swing before his coach said he wouldn’t be ready in time. 

“It’s been a long time. I won’t lie, I missed being on the Tour playing, competing, challenging myself. Now I just have the feeling [of love with the fans]. Actually Indian Wells is great because you have fans very close on the practice court. You can feel the energy,” Monfils said. “That definitely was [exciting] for me the few days I came here. I felt great and I felt lucky and blessed that I could actually get back in shape to experience that again.”

Now he is back on the court, when will Monfils’ partner Elina return? Ukrainian-born Elina (whose maiden name is Svitolina) has been ranked as high as third in the world and has won 17 WTA trophies. She also won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. 

“She’s right there. She’s obviously very motivated to come back. It was actually crazy because she just gave birth and obviously she was super happy, but she really wants to get back very quickly in good shape,” Monfils said. “She wanted to feel that she can play again. She was worried because she hadn’t played for a long time. She picked up the racquet quite good. It was great.
“Now she’s practising, she’s loving it. She’s starting to move a little bit more because at the beginning she couldn’t move so much. But now it’s better and I think she has some goals, so I think she will soon say what she wants to do and when she wants to come back.”

In Indian Wells Monfils will play Jordan Thompson in the first round. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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