It is almost 8 p.m. on the second day of the competition, the floodlights illuminate a nearly deserted Suzanne-Lenglen stadium and Gaël Monfils has already completed his Roland-Garros 2020.
For the first time since his debut in the large painting at Porte d'Auteuil, fifteen years ago, the world No. 9 packed up as soon as he entered the running.
Dominated by the fantastic Russian Alexander Bublik (6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in 2h35), who remained in a quarter-final in Hamburg last week.
The Parisian has not won a single match since February.
Three outings, three setbacks.
As if he had never succeeded in deconfining himself.
Before the cut, he had won sixteen out of nineteen matches… A striking contrast with his partner Elina Svitolina, in great shape and winner of the Strasbourg tournament last week.
“I simply lost the rhythm, blows the No. 1 tricolor.
I make a lot of mistakes, I position myself badly, I have no feelings.
I just don't play well.
In addition, given the conditions, it gives a not great result.
Monfils: - "Monstrous!"
Bublik: - "I confront you, I have to do something."
- Tennis Legend (@TennisLegende) September 28, 2020
"I keep my 8th from last year"
Usually, Monfils arrives in Paris on the tank gauge and relies on the presence of his relatives and the support of the public to fill up with energy and motivation.
But this time, Covid obliges, the gas station is desperately empty… “When you win, you feel less of all the constraints
(Editor's note: related to the health protocol)
, he says.
When you lose, it's necessarily harder.
But you have to go with it and adapt, I have no excuse for my three poor performances.
Monfils almost wanted to leave the Seine through an even smaller door.
“Finally, this defeat does not count
(Editor's note: with the freezing of the standings)
and I keep my 8th from last year, he slips on the verge of autoflagellation.
I would have liked a defeat counted in the first round ... "
The former semi-finalist and three-time quarter-finalist of the tournament is expected to continue his season in Cologne in two weeks.
“I will go home first, take some time and train,” he says.
We'll see when I resume… ”