Gael Monfils stuck in tennis 'nightmare'

Shayne Hope
·1-min read

A devastated Gael Monfils appears destined to remain the greatest player of his generation never to win a grand slam after crashing out of the Australian Open in the first round.

The 10th-seeded Frenchman was reduced to tears after his shock five-set loss to unheralded Finn Emil Ruusuvuori at Melbourne Park on Monday.

The 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 result was Monfils' seventh consecutive tour-level loss.

"I lost, I have zero confidence, I played badly," Monfils said.

"I cannot serve, I make mistakes ... I do not feel right and it shows.

"I know that I have lost a lot and it hurts me. I would like to wake up and tell myself that this nightmare is over, but I don't know when it will stop.

"I have no confidence. I have no confidence."

In 2004, Monfils achieved the rare feat of winning three junior grand slams in a calendar year and was crowned the International Tennis Federation's World Youth Champion.

Fast forward 17 years or so, and the 34-year-old has 10 ATP Tour titles to his name and a career-high ranking of No.6, achieved after reaching the 2016 US Open semi-finals.

But that remains his equal-best result at a grand slam, having also made the last four at the French Open in 2008.

Ruusuvuori may have gained some unexpected insight into the Frenchman's game in recent weeks. He was Monfils' practice partner during a mandatory quarantine period after they arrived in Australia last month.

It was the 86th-ranked Finn's fourth career match at a grand slam.