Gael Monfils to miss Australian Open as he hints at retirement plans
Gael Monfils has confirmed that he is likely to miss the Australian Open, with plans to use a protected ranking ahead of his home Grand Slam in Paris.
Monfils made a great start to 2022, but was hampered with foot and ankle issues that forced him to end his season early after the Canadian Open.
The Frenchman has often been spoken about as a player who has not fulfilled his potential, with Monfils suggesting that he just needs ‘one chance’ to obtain that illustrious Grand Slam title.
His best performances at a major have come at the French Open in 2008 and the US Open in 2016, reaching the semi-finals in both. Many fans thought that Monfils could go one better in Melbourne last year, especially with Novak Djokovic withdrawing from his section of the draw.
Monfils was coming off the back of good form as well, winning the title in his opening event of the year in Adelaide. He continued this form going into the Australian Open, making it to the quarter-finals for the second time in his career.
However, the charismatic Frenchman fell just short at this stage, losing to Matteo Berrettini, despite fighting back from two sets down to force a decider.
Although Monfils’ best performances of the season came down under, he has admitted that he is unlikely to play in Australia in 2023 in order to gain a protected ranking. Only players who are out of action for at least six months can use their ranking at the time of injury to enter tournaments when they return.
Monfils would need to be out until at least February to be able to access his protected ranking, which is 20. However, if he does not play until then he would fall outside the world’s top 200 leaving him in a vulnerable position.
“I know that there is a protected ranking, when you don’t play for a certain amount of months. I know that if I take it, I have to not play the Australian Open to reach the six months needed and that will be my decision,” said Monfils.
The 36-year-old has also spoken about his future beyond that, amid rumours about his retirement. “2023 is an important year for me, a year of transition, transition between my injuries and the fact to be competitive to try to qualify for Paris 2024. I would not like to miss the Olympics, it would be my last one.”
Monfils welcomed his first child, with fellow tennis player Elina Svitolina, back in October and admitted that this has changed his thought process on retirement.
“I hope that 2024 would not be my last year but maybe the one after that. Before, I said that I wanted to play until I’m 40 but the more time I spend with my daughter, the more time I’m thinking maybe I’ll play a bit less.”
It is yet to be known whether Monfils will definitely not be featuring in Melbourne, however he will be back on the court soon as he is playing in a team exhibition event in Dubai later this month, suggesting that he is on the mend from his injury.
Team Kites is set. 🔵 @iga_swiatek@felixtennis@MirzaSania @Gael_Monfils #WorldTennisLeague #Greatestshowoncourt #TeamKites pic.twitter.com/P6rpYtW4Vp
— World Tennis League (@wtltweets) November 6, 2022
Monfils will compete in the World Tennis League as part of team kites alongside Iga Swiatek, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Eugenie Bouchard and Sania Mirza. The Frenchman will compete in a singles match against Dominic Thiem, as well as two mixed doubles matches partnered with Mirza.
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