It’s a worrying halt a few days before the start of the Australian Open. While he had ideally started his 2022 season with a title during the first ATP 250 in Adelaide last Sunday, Gaël Monfils was forced to retire on Wednesday due to neck pain in the second round of the second tournament in the Australian city. Exempted from the 1st round as the number 1 seed, he threw in the towel after 1:57 of play, when he had just been broken at the start of the third set (6-7, 6-3, 1-0 ab.) by his opponent of the day, the 83rd in the world and Brazilian “lucky loser” Thiago Monteiro.
Perhaps he should have been content with a week of training to fine-tune the final settings before the first Major of the year. But Gaël Monfils had decided to go to Adelaide, which his body did not allow him on Wednesday. Hit in the upper back and in the neck, the Parisian by birth preferred to stop the costs after two rounds against an inspired and catchy opponent. Is it a simple precaution to avoid aggravating a problematic discomfort or injury in the short term and calling into question his hopes in Melbourne? The future will tell.
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Monfils was in pain even before entering the court
Still, Monfils had by far his most difficult match since his return to school. Immediately joined after having broken in the 4th game, he had to wait for the tie-break to convert his 6th set point – he had obtained the previous 5 on the raise to 5-4 and 6-5 before the decisive game – and take the lead. But comfortable in the rally from the baseline, Monteiro hardened the game in stride. Barely avoiding the break during his first two sets of services in the second act, the French number 1 called in a physiotherapist in the meantime.
During this change of side which saw him being manipulated in the cervical area, Monfils unveiled two vertical strips stuck on the upper part of his back. Proof that the pain was present even before showing up on the court for this second round. At 3-3, he could have made a small hold-up, but Thiago Monteiro did well dismiss the Frenchman’s only break point in this round and did not lose a single game.
Returned to a set everywhere, the Brazilian thus delighted from the start of the third set the service of a Monfils increasingly in difficulty in his movements. And in the next game, he decided to stop the fees. There is more to cross your fingers in the French clan so that it is only an incident.
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