Gael Monfils admits the fitness of young players surprised him as he was not prepared for their level at the Laver Cup 2023

Monfils believes that fatigue played a part in him being slow between the points against Felix Auger-Aliassime. 


Gael Monfils admits the fitness of young players surprised him as he was not prepared for their level at the Laver Cup 2023

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Geal Monfils engage in a heated debate as John McEnroe looks on (Credit : Eurosport YT)

Things got heated at the recently concluded 6th edition of the Laver Cup as Felix Auger Aliassime and Gael Monfils were involved in a tense confrontation in their singles encounter. The duo faced off in the third match of Day 1 of the annual team tournament last Friday. 

Aliassime apparently complained to Monfils about the lack of intensity exhibited by him. According to Felix, Monfils was taking too long between the points and demanded that the ATP regulations be enforced. “What did the people that brought him here tell him?” he said to Ben Shelton during the changeover at 5-4 in the first set. Gael asserted that he thought the event was a bit more relaxed. “They call me and say, ‘You can be free…’ For me, I’m here to have fun,” he said to his team.

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Giving his version of the incident, the Frenchman said, “For me, it was a different event, after not playing for a long time it was great. It was very different from what I expected, with a lot of fatigue, it reminded me a bit of the Davis Cup weeks. I think we trained hard, with very long days and a lot of matches. It was a different experience and certainly exhausting.”

Explaining his reasons for being slow between the points, Monfils said, “I was surprised by the physical fitness of these players, perhaps because I am quite old and I know how difficult it becomes over time. It’s a big event, but you have to be very well prepared physically. I felt that these two very young teams were, it was great to see.”

The 23-year-old Canadian won the match 6-4 6-3 to give Team World a 3-0 lead. The defending champions eventually went on to lift the trophy as they comprehensively defeated Team Europe 13-2.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime shares his side of the story on the feud with Gael Monfils

Speaking after the match Felix Auger-Aliassime said that he was standing up for himself when he asked the umpire to speed-up the play. “I think it’s okay for me to step up for myself and be like, Look, I’m here to compete, and I’m not going to let my opponent kill the time and try to, you know, kill the rhythm on my serve,” he said.

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Laver Cup

I came in thinking I have played this tournament and I think everybody involved, not just myself, we all believed that Laver Cup is a tournament that I think has the potential to be taken very seriously, not just now but also in the future. So we’re taking this seriously, the 22-year-old added.

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Auger-Aliassime is scheduled to play at the upcoming China Open, where he has a tough first-round match against the 3rd seed, Holger Rune. The head-to-head between the two is level at 1-1. 

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