WASHINGTON: Gael Monfils is fit and raring to go as he prepares to defend the ATP Citi Open title and make another deep run at the US Open.
Having shaken off injuries the flamboyant Frenchman meets Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri on Wednesday in a second-round match on the Washington hardcourts, where he lifted his sixth and most recent career title last year.
"It's pretty exciting to come back. It's a great feeling," the 30-year-old Monfils said Tuesday. "It's always good to come back to a place where you have played good before. This tournament has always been very good for my game."
Sixth seed Monfils, who matched his best Grand Slam showing by reaching last year's US Open semi-finals, had been a career-high sixth in the world rankings last November.
But Monfils, whose other Slam semi-final was at the 2008 French Open, suffered a left patella tendon and left Achilles heel injury in March at Indian Wells and this week slid six spots to 22nd in the world rankings.
"So far I've not played my best tennis," Monfils said of his 2017 campaign. "I've been fighting with a couple of problems with my body. I felt most 100 percent for the French Open. Grass didn't help me a lot."
Monfils was ousted in the fourth round of the Australian Open by Rafael Nadal and the fourth round of the French Open by Stan Wawrinka.
He reached the Eastbourne final a month ago only to fall to Novak Djokovic then went out in the third round at Wimbledon.
But after a week off in Miami, Monfils said he feels healthy and hopes to build back his game in the weeks before the Flushing Meadows fortnight opens on August 28.
"It took me a while to be 100 percent," Monfils said. "Now I just want to win matches, get back that confidence.
"I definitely am playing better than I have earlier this year."
Monfils hopes to recapture the form he enjoyed at last year's US Open, when he did not drop a set until losing to Djokovic in the semi-finals.