The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

INTERVIEW: Gael Monfils

August 8, 2019

Wednesday, August 7, 2019
G. MONFILS/I. Ivashka
6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Obviously you’re out there, played in many places in the world, but does it ever get old when you have the stands packed and everyone cheering for you?

GAEL MONFILS: It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’m just saying sometimes great to play smaller court, with the crowd very close. We can feel their energy, the passion, yeah, the love in it. I love it, to be honest. It’s great.

Q. A lot of tennis players dream of Grand Slams. Did you ever dream of entertaining the fans when you were little?

GAEL MONFILS: Not really. I just been myself. Sometime haters would say or misunderstand how lucky I am to doing what I’m doing, to be healthy and play my sport and passion. For me, tennis is a sport, yeah, some people would say my job. It’s my job, yes, but it’s a sport. It’s my passion.

I can play with kids for hours. Play Grand Slam for me is just a passion. When I’m on the court, you know, it’s a blessing.

I can see so many of my friends, they wish to be there. Then I think just work for it, enjoy for it, just be myself, not try play a role, whatever.

Q. Is there a way to describe how much you love that you get to travel the world hitting a yellow ball?

GAEL MONFILS: It’s tough. As I say, I didn’t expect. Now I’m older, so it’s easy now to look back a little bit. I come from nothing. People now they see Gael Monfils, I should have this, that. Never someone have my parents. I come from nowhere.

That was great. That was a great opportunity for me to travel around the world, to see different culture, to share with my family, to help my family, and me to enjoy myself.

Somehow with the years you build your fan base, fans, discover many stuff. Yeah, I just a lucky man. I hope this never in the way. That’s why I keep working hard. Yeah, I still believe that I can wish my dream on that.

Q. You said you come from nothing. Other sports has athletes that speak about politics, issues concerning society. Tennis does have that many players willing to do that. What are your thoughts? Do you think it’s important for athletes to speak up?

GAEL MONFILS: Yes, they can actually. I think it’s a great question. I mean, I don’t have the knowledge to speak about that because maybe I’m not that good about politics and other stuff. That’s why I’m not really speak out about that.

When I fight for a cause and I know it, I fight for it. I’m not scared to say something. I think some tennis player, maybe they’re a bit scared, whatever it is the reason.

I think now more and more they up and up and they see. Definitely, some athletes, they fight for big cause. They speak it loud. I think it’s great. It’s great for sport. It’s great for life.

For myself, I can’t because I’m not that good.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. You had a lot of trouble finishing the match. After you hurt yourself. What happened?

GAEL MONFILS: I’m a bit tired. I was not moving well because of the tiredness. I had a bad move with the tension. At the end it was more difficult. I was able to manage this well with my experience.

I was playing well in the match. I was playing better than yesterday. It was good, better than yesterday or two days ago, I don’t remember. Two days ago.

It was a good match up to the moment when I dropped my level a little bit.

Q. You had injuries in Wimbledon with your ankle.

GAEL MONFILS: No, I feel I’m all right now. I lack training. I compensate for that, so I’m a bit short. Because of the injury and physically I’m not fit enough.

In spite of that, I was playing a good match, very intense. You have to push yourself. But I trained a lot before, maybe a bit less today. I’m a bit tired.

This morning I had a session of physical training and weight lifting. At a certain moment I dropped my level because I was a bit tired. But it’s important for my preparation.

Of course I want to play well here. I’m trying to do that. You can see my level of game improved during the past two days because I worked a lot training.

Q. You’re talking about your injuries. Do you believe the humidity gives you trouble?

GAEL MONFILS: I love humidity. That’s why I play well in Washington. I like to go there. It’s why I play well here. I played two matches. It was very hot. I like when the temperature is high because of my origins.

But today I hadn’t been playing for a while, so it was not in my favor. But I’m someone who likes humidity.

Q. In spite of your tiredness, are you ready for tomorrow?

GAEL MONFILS: I wanted to come here to play many matches, so I’m happy to play a third match. I will do my best tomorrow. I’m playing at the end of the day tomorrow. I’m going to have a training session before, but maybe a bit lighter tomorrow. I’ll do stretching, as well. I’m going to do whatever I can for the match.

I’m preparing myself to be able to play five sets, to tell you the truth. I’m exhausted, but it’s good for me because there’s a goal to that. There’s the tension, I was able to put it out all the same, so I’m not worried.

I hope it’s going to go well. The goal is to be ready, to be fit. I feel better. Today was better, a lot better. It was cleaner, more consistent. I moved well.

Often people forget what we do. They see us in the tournaments. But in this tournament I had no practice, so I’m happy with what I’m doing.

Q. At the end you enjoyed it with the crowd.

GAEL MONFILS: That was cool. Playing in that great stadium, the crowd was close, and they pushed me. Even if I was exhausted, I tried. I kept trying. The crowd helped me. I like playing this stadiums where the crowd is very close to the players.