Plenty of substance behind the show, says Monfils

Gael Monfils said he\'s never been a showman at all but just a player who\'ll do anything to try to win a point.

Published: 07th September 2016 04:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2016 04:30 PM   |  A+A-

US Open Tennis_Mukh

Gael Monfils, of France, returns a shot to Lucas Pouille, of France, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. | AP


NEW YORK: Gael Monfils has been all business in reaching the US Open semi-finals, but the flashy French player scoffs at the idea he's damped down the showmanship on purpose.

In fact, he says, he's never been a showman at all but just a player who'll do anything to try to win a point.

"You make it up," Monfils told reporters who asked if a more controlled approach was behind the consistency he's demonstrated of late.

Since Wimbledon the 30-year-old is 19-2 on hard courts with an ATP title in Washington and now, the second Grand Slam semi-final of his career with his 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win over compatriot Lucas Pouille on Tuesday.

"If I do a trick shot, one, and still kill it, you will say I'm a showman. So with all the respect to everyone, it's you guys who put me on the spot," he said.

Maybe so, but since his stellar junior days Monfils has always played an entertaining brand of tennis, lunging after balls with abandon, sliding and stretching and twisting his torso to make seemingly impossible shots.

He shot down speculation that having marked his 30th birthday on September 1, and with a litany of injuries behind him, he has decided to adopt a more conservative approach.

"It makes me laugh because honestly, if I could do it today, today if I had a 360 smash, definitely I would have done it," he said. "But I didn't have the ball."

When he is flinging his body around the court, Monfils added, it's not for the benefit of fans.

"Come on," he said. "I'm going to hurt myself for people? No, I dive because I want to win the point."

Monfils says the training he puts in allows his body to withstand the stresses he puts on it.

But it hasn't always been the case.

From 2007 to 2016 he missed nine Grand Slam tournaments with injuries, including problems with his right knee, right shoulder and left wrist.

"Yeah, my health has been big trouble all my career," said the six-time ATP title winner, who working with Mikael Tillstrom has produced one of his career best campaigns.

"Now it is somehow stabilized. I think I work differently. I think I understand different stuff.

"I think it helps me a lot to be stronger."

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