Tennis: when Gaël Monfils is disqualified… from an exhibition tournament

What’s good is that there is always something happening with Gaël Monfils… and that all means are good to get people talking about the UTS, this exhibition in a totally offbeat format created by Patrick Mouratoglou during the 2020 confinement , and who is trying to find a place in a very busy tennis calendar.

The former French number 1, 37, was due to compete in the Norwegian stage in Oslo this weekend. “La Monf” (both its diminutive and its stage name for the occasion) however only made a short trip with a defeat on Friday February 9 against the Australian De Minaur (aka “The Demon”). , before being fired from the rest of the events.

The Ile-de-France resident was in fact disqualified following an incident that occurred backstage with the show supervisor. “A playful exchange in the locker room between Gaël Monfils and the tournament supervisor, Stéphane Apostolou, resulted in a minor injury for the supervisor, explained the organization in a press release as lunar as the rules of the game. The UTS is convinced to 100% that there was no malicious intent on Gaël’s part, but as there was an injury, even minor, to an official, we felt that there was no other solution than to disqualify Gaël. »

As a result, the Habs had to put away their rackets and give way to replacement Lucas Pouille, renamed “The French Flair”. While he wants to take advantage of his last days on the circuit to put on a show on the court, Monfils definitely has little luck with exhibitions.

Last September, the former world number 6 achieved the feat of tangling with Félix Auger-Aliassime during a Laver Cup match, the event dear to Roger Federer. Representing Team Europe, the Habs had obviously come to have a good time in addition to the prize money. This was not to the liking of the Canadian, his opponent from Team World, who criticized him for being too relaxed and lacking in seriousness.

“Honestly, I’m not in the mood to play,” said the former Roland-Garros semi-finalist. If I don’t want to do a tournament, I don’t do it. Someone called me saying that the Laver Cup was so cool, that we could play freely. I’m here to have fun…” The Parisian is now expected at the ATP 500 tournament in Rotterdam, which he won in 2020 and where he will face a qualifier in the first round.

“If I feel good and I manage to impose my game, I am not safe from playing good tennis,” he explained after his elimination in the first round in Montpellier. What’s hard is that my average level has dropped compared to what I used to be. The competitor is still there so it’s hard. I lost here in the 1st round but I might make a semi-final in Rotterdam, even if there is a greater chance that I lose in the 1st round…”

UTS didn’t have much luck with its headliners this weekend. After Monfils, Thiem and Rune also left the ship prematurely, this time due to illness. “Thieminho” is suffering from food poisoning and “The Viking” has been feeling woozy for a few days…

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