“Every Time He Starts to Lose…”: Andrey Rublev and Gael Monfils Involved in a Verbal Fight at Cincinnati Open 2021

Published 08/19/2021, 11:47 PM EDT
Aug 12, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Andrey Rublev of Russia returns a ball to John Isner of the United States (not pictured) at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports


Under the heat and humidity at the Cincinnati Open 2021, things got heated between Gael Monfils and Andrey Rublev. It was the medical timeout that the Frenchman took, which did not go well with his opponent. However, he then came forward and resolved the situation.

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Inarguably, the conditions on the day were as gruesome as they come on a tennis court. It made Monfils sick, and hence, he needed a doctor. What’s interesting about it is that the Frenchman repeatedly mentioned to the chair umpire that he did not want to disturb his opponent. Conversely, Rublev claimed that is what Monfils does when he is losing.

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The heated exchange between Gael Monfils and Andrey Rublev at Cincinnati Open 2021

At the start of the second set, Monfils started to feel the impact of the conditions. On receiving confirmation, the chair umpire called for a doctor on the Grandstand.

“Before my serve, I want to have it if it’s possible because I just don’t want him to be disturbed,” Monfils told the chair umpire. In response, the chair umpire explained, “Gael, it’s always – wait until the changeover, but if at some point, you really need it…”

Aug 13, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Gael Monfils of France plays a shot against John Isner of the United States during the quarter finals of the National Bank Open at Aviva Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Subsequently, Monfils reiterated that as he did not want to disturb Rublev, he would take it after or before his service game.

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Before the medical timeout, the former World No.6 hit a stunning winner that ticked the Russian off. “Not feeling well? Look how he runs. Not feeling well… Seven years, the last seven years, every time he starts to lose, something is happening,” Rublev argued.

Apr 2, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Andrey Rublev of Russia reacts after missing a shot against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland (not pictured) in a men’s singles semifinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Out of sheer sportsmanship, the 34-year-old Monfils tried to reconcile with the 23-year-old Rublev. He said, “It’s nothing against you. I am sorry. You know what? I said before, I stop, then for you, I want to play. I am very sorry. But why do you have a problem?”

When told the reason, the Frenchman revealed he had thrown up because of the conditions. Afterward, the two clutched their palms as resolution, and the crowd hurrayed in unison. 

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Eventually, the match saw two tight tiebreakers that went in favor of Rublev. As a result, he will now play another Frenchman, Benoit Paire in the quarterfinals.

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Indeed, the next matchup is also a recipe for tennis drama. Let’s see what more is in store at the Cincinnati Open 2021.

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Purav Joshi

1131 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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