Gael Monfils is one of the few players left on tour who will complete two decades of playing the sport. Monfils turned professional in 2004, a year after Novak Djokovic entered the circuit. The current world No.1, Carlos Alcaraz, was not born when the pair first played a match. Now the 20-year-old has played and won matches against both. Djokovic and Monfils first played a match in a youth competition in 2002.
Their first match-up went viral on X after a fan posted a picture of them greeting on the net. Djokovic had beaten Monfils at the Derby Cadets de la Baule in France. It was their first ever meeting in the sport; the event was active until 2008 and then discontinued.
Fans began comparing the timeline as they said, “At that moment, Carlos Alcaraz was not born,” “Absolute legends and still showing the young guns how to win.” The Cincinnati Masters meeting was a special place to celebrate two decades of rivalry.
At that moment, Carlos Alcaraz was not born 😂😂
— Milca Milutinovic (@milicamil33) August 17, 2023
Absolute legends and still showing the young guns how to win
— Double Fault 🎾 (@DoubleFaultBets) August 17, 2023
Great pic, made me smile, thanks!
— VanessaH (@V_hardsteppa) August 17, 2023
Djokovic is the first player on the ATP tour to have nineteen consecutive wins over a player. Richard Gasquet has lost to Rafael Nadal eighteen times, and now the feat can be beaten by the Serbian.
Monfils recent matches have shown that he still has the old magic tricks in him. Although his victory is unlikely, there is a bit of suspense in every game when Monfils is in form.
Gael Monfils is focused on the comeback and not on the rankings
Playing at the top for over two decades in a sport requires the utmost fitness and dedication. Very few athletes have achieved the feat. as consistency gets more demanding as they age. Injuries tend to become severe, which often ends careers. Gael Monfils was injured last season and struggled to keep his rankings afloat.
The Frenchmen said that he is giving importance to being able to play continuously. He expressed that he is not obsessed with rankings as of now.
Monfils added, “Maybe when you’re younger, you think about it. Maybe when you want to be seeded, you think about it.” The former world No.6 was ranked No.211 a few weeks back and has been returning to the top in the past two weeks.
The 36-year-old is currently ranked No. 161 and will move further after Cincinnati. Fans and fellow players have truly enjoyed his comeback. The spectators did enjoy the battle of the oldest players left in the main draw as Monfils played Djokovic. However, the younger Djokovic came out victorious this time in straight sets.