“Was Quite Nervous”: Gael Monfils Reflects on First Victory in 15 Months at Lyon Open 2021

Published 05/18/2021, 2:50 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 France’s Gael Monfils reacts during his first round match against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


Former world number six and 2016 US Open semi-finalist Gael Monfils, had a rough time getting adjusted to the new playing conditions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic as he failed to win a single match once the tour resumed last year.

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The same pattern continued this year as well. The Frenchman lost his opening round matches at Australian Open and also at the Rome Masters. But, Monfils broke the streak as he won his first ATP tour-level match in 15 months at the on-going Lyon Open.

Gael Monfils of France celebrates victory after his Men’s Singles first round match against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain on day two of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
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Gael Monfils made a promising start at the Lyon Open 2021

The Frenchman defeated Thiago Seyboth Wild in straight sets 7-5,6-4 and reached the pre-quarters. Young Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka awaits Monfils in the third round.

Known for his impeccable athleticism and entertaining style of play, Gael Monfils reached as high as number six in the ATP men’s singles ranking for consistent performances in grand slams and several Masters 1000 tournaments.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 France’s Gael Monfils in action during his first round match against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

However, the Frenchman always struggled to rise his level in important matches. As he was victorious on a tennis court after so long, Monfils was satisfied to get the confidence to move forward in the Lyon Open.

I’m happy. I train well, I try to regain confidence. I do a lot more practice matches with the guys. Today it was disjointed. Little by little, I try to find the rhythm”,  Monfils said.

Monfils started the match unlike his usual self as he stuck to the baseline and tried to play defensive most of the times. This conventional approach worked for the Frenchman as he managed to clinch the first set with a single break point,7-5.

“I was quite nervous”, says Monfils after slow start in his first match at Lyon

Talking about his defensive approach in the first set, the Frenchman admitted that he was nervous at the start of the match, and hence didn’t go for his usual shots.

I was quite nervous. It was not at all that, the game plan. I felt more like doing the rallies”, admitted Monfils.

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In the second set, both Monfils and Thiago Wild had enthralling baseline rallies. Monfils took the risk of coming to the net and won several points comfortably. However, the young Brazilian also put up a tough fight and didn’t yield the match till the last point. The Frenchman won his service game at 5-4 in the second to win the match.

Gael Monfils will take the confidence of this match and looks to go deep at the Lyon Open as he hopes to make a mark during the French Open later this month.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

215 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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