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Red-hot Monfils could gatecrash the party

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on February 23, 2020
Gael Monfils addresses the press ahead of Dubai Duty Free Men's Tennis Championshipon Sunday. - Photo by M. Sajjad

The Frenchman is on a roll, so to speak, winning two tournaments at the start of the year - the Open Sud de France at Montpellier and the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

With Swiss maestro and eight-time champion Roger Federer withdrawing from the ATP 500 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, due to a knee surgery, much of the focus has been on world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

But there are a number of contenders who could gate crash the party, and one among them is Gael Monfils.

The Frenchman is on a roll, so to speak, winning two tournaments at the start of the year - the Open Sud de France at Montpellier and the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. 

With such red-hot form, Monfils is a serious challenger for the title in Dubai. But the 33-year-old has tempered down the expectations and wants to take it one match at a time.

"If I can win tomorrow first, that would be the first goal," Monfils said on Sunday.

The 2008 French Open semifinalist takes on Hungary's Marton Fucsovics in the opening round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Monday night.

Monfils revealed that this consistency comes with putting in the hard yards in, everyday.

 "I try just to be working hard every day, try to be a better player. I try, exactly what I say, try to have some goals and try to be next to them or reach them. That's the most important thing I think. Win or not, give my best and enjoy it and see in the big moments how I react," he revealed.

Despite his run, Monfils said that everyone has a shot at winning here in Dubai.

"My chances here are the same as everybody on the field. I think we can all do damage. I can win, hopefully. Then for the season, it's definitely to try to stay in the top 10. Why not reach a spot that I never reach? It's been maybe once in the top 5 even one week," said Monfils, who is currently ranked No.9 in the world.

About his first round opponent, Monfils said: "I think he is a great player. Is definitely a player that we played last year, it was really tough to beat him. I feel like he is very solid. He had a great Australian Open this year. I saw him play in Rotterdam against Roberto Bautista Agut. Was a solid performance from him. He was a bit unlucky. I expect a tough one. If I can pull out a great match to beat him, I will be happy."

james@khaleejtimes.com

 

 


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