The ATP World Tour Finals are usually an opportunity for tennis’ top players to showcase their talents, and that is exactly the opportunity that Gael Monfils took in his match with Milos Raonic on Sunday.
Monfils is competing in his first ATP World Tour Finals at the 02 in London after an impressive year. The Frenchman claimed victory in the Citi Open in Washington in July, and also recorded career-best results when he reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and then the semi-finals at the US Open.
Monfils owes much of his recent success to his coach Mikael Tillstrom, who has helped him become the first player since 1972 to make his bow at the season-ending ATP World Tour competition over the age of 30, and just the sixth in history.
The current world number six was defeated in London by Wimbledon runner-up Raonic in his opening match at the tournament, but his hopes aren’t over yet. He is still to face both Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem in Group A, after Djokovic survived a scare to beat Thiem in three-sets on Sunday after the Austrian won the opening set.
Whatever happens in the coming week however, Monfils will undoubtedly have played one of the shots of the tournament in his opening day defeat to Raonic. The 30-year-old has grown a reputation for playing unique shots, and he produced yet another one on Sunday.
During the first set of his game with Raonic, when with his back to the net, he nonchalantly lifted the ball the ball over the net and won the point.
Monfils will hope to produce something of a similar quality when he comes up against Dominic Thiem on Wednesday, as both hope to get their first win.