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The great entertainer of tennis, Gael Monfils, finally ended a horrific Grand Slam run so bad that it had him questioning his pro future

Summary List PlacementGael Monfils, one of tennis' great entertainers, won his first Grand Slam match in over a year Tuesday, just months after he broke down in tears after an Australian Open defeat, then thanked his onlooking family. 14th seed Monfils beat Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday to book his place in the tournament's second round. Until Tuesday, the 34-year-old had failed to make it past the opening match of a Grand Slam since the 2020 Australian Open. He also went between February 2020 and May 2021 without a single...

Gael Monfils

Summary List Placement

Gael Monfils, one of tennis’ great entertainers, won his first Grand Slam match in over a year Tuesday, just months after he broke down in tears after an Australian Open defeat, then thanked his onlooking family.

14th seed Monfils beat Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of the French Open on Tuesday to book his place in the tournament’s second round.

Until Tuesday, the 34-year-old had failed to make it past the opening match of a Grand Slam since the 2020 Australian Open.

He also went between February 2020 and May 2021 without a single victory in any tournament – a run of form that saw him break down and cry in front of reporters in a harrowing press conference at this year’s Australian Open.

During the conference, Monfils begged journalists for “mercy” and appeared to question the point of continuing to play professional tennis.

Monfils’ tone was notably more buoyant on Tuesday.

“It was incredible,” he said after his victory over Ramos-Vinolas. “There was both of my parents there, my brother, so that was very big for me. Very, very big.

“Even my auntie was there, some cousins, so it was very big to be honest for me.”

Monfils, who is renowned for his entertaining style of play, also thanked the rest of the “special” crowd at the Court Suzanne Lenglen for their support during the match.

“They made it special,” he said. “It’s easy to say, you know, but I’d put that win on the crowd and my parents.

“[That] helped me quite a lot to achieve a better match. I was more me, I had a bit more fun. It was a better Gael Monfils today.”

Monfils is often a fan favourite at any tennis tournament due to his charisma and highlight reel style of play, and some had speculated that the lack of crowds was negatively impacting his play.

“He’s a social human being and loves to play in front of a crowd,” former world number one Mats Wilander said in February.

On Tuesday, Monfils initially struggled to find his rhythm early on in the match, conceding the opening set in just 24 minutes and finding himself 1-4 down in the second. 

However, after the Frenchman recovered to force and win a tiebreak in the second set, he closed out a crucial third set 6-4.

He fell behind again in set four, but battled back to 4-4, before Ramos gifted him a break to love, allowing him to serve out the match.

Monfils faces Swede Mikael Ymer in the second round on Thursday.

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