“The Olympics? It always spoke to me”: Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils expresses what the historic competition means to him and how the Olympics have "always been special" to him.

Gael Monfils
Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils is all set to make his 3rd appearance at the Olympic games. At Beijing in 2008, Monfils reached the quarter finals where he lost to number 3 seed, Novak Djokovic who eventually won the bronze medal. History repeated itself when he lost again in the quarter finals at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. Despite having three match points in the deciding set, he lost to eventual bronze medalist, Kei Nishikori.

The Frenchman tied the knot to longtime girlfriend and WTA World number 6, Elina Svitolina last week in Switzerland. The married couple then flew to Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in hopes to win a medal for their respective countries.

Monfils he has not had the best year on tour thus far. Despite being a seeded player in all the tournaments he has played, he has not been able to reach a single quarter final and has won only three matches throughout the year. At the three Grand Slams this year, Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, he lost in the first round at Melbourne and in the second round in Paris and London to non-seeded players. Ranked world number 11 at the beginning of the year, he has dropped in the table and is currently ranked world number 18.

However, he is not letting himself get disheartened or demotivated as the Olympics has always been something special to him and believes he can surpass himself in Tokyo.

Gael Monfils opens up about what this historic competition means to him

Gael Monfils
Gael Monfils

Monfils is seeded number 10 in Tokyo and will start the competition with a tough first round as he will be up against Belarusian Ilya Ivashka. But, before thinking about his first round, the Frenchman expressed what the Olympic games means to him.

“The Olympics is about surpassing yourself and for your country, it has always spoken to me! It’s very strong for me” said Monfils.

“Very early on, I told Gilles Simon and Sébastien Grosjean that I wanted to play the Olympics. It’s a decision taken very early on, it’s a sharing. Unfortunately, you can’t see all the sports, but it’s a sharing of culture. We learn a lot” he added.

“Olympics for me is always an important event and I’m extremely proud to represent Ukraine. All the time when we have Olympic year, I look forward to that and I try to prepare as best as I can. For me, it’s very special when I play for my country. It doesn’t matter if it’s Billie Jean King Cup or if it’s Olympics. It’s always something extra and you find this edge to fight more and try to play better. The goal, for me, is to get that Olympic medal. I’ll do my best to prepare well and be ready for that” said his wife, Elina Svitolina.

Also read: Tennis at Tokyo Olympics 2020: Gael Monfils vs Ilya Ivashka Preview, Head to Head and Prediction