Novak Djokovic did not spend much time on the court upon his return to the tour. He only spent 46 minutes on the court as Alejandro Davidovich Fokina retired due to a back injury. Djokovic’s next test at Cincinnati Masters will mostly make him spend more time on the court. Gael Monfils is a very familiar opponent for Djokovic. Both players have been playing against each other since they were teenagers.
Djokovic only had kind words about his next opponent; he said that Monfils was one of the most charismatic people on tour and truly respected the player. When asked how it feels to battle with someone the same age, Djokovic said, “He’s a year older than me. Everyone talks about my age but what about him? He’s doing amazing. It’s going to be the duel of the veterans tomorrow.” Both players are 36 years old.
Novak Djokovic on facing Gael Monfils next:
“He’s an amazing guy. Someone I truly respect a lot & like as a person. He brings so much joy & entertainment to the fans. 1 of the most charismatic players we’ve had in 2 decades. Great to see him back after struggling with injuries.… pic.twitter.com/SFlbHHgNM2
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) August 17, 2023
Monfils has never won against Djokovic in their eighteen career meetings. They also played once at Cincinnati in 2011, where Djokovic won in three sets. The Serbian will be the favorite to win, and it is assured that the crowd will get precisely what they want. Monfils has come close to winning against Djokovic in the past. A first win over the world No.2 can give Monfils the right dosage of inspiration at the US Open.
Will Gael Monfils play at the US Open?
Monfils has only played one grand slam match this year. Even last season, he did not play grand slam matches after the Australian Open. Injuries have affected his consistency on tour. His recent form indicates that he has recovered and has been moving well around the court. Monfils was included in the first entry list of the US Open.
The former world No.6 can play at the US Open using the protected rankings as he is eligible due to the injuries and recent absence from the tour. Monfils made his debut at the event in 2005, where he faced Djokovic in the opening round and lost in the match that lasted for four hours. This year it will be the Frenchmen’s fifteenth appearance at the US Open.
Monfils will need to play at the US Open as it will foster his ranking progression. The 36-year-old has been playing well in the past two events and can bring fire to the event. Monfils has time to prepare and, before that, will keep his energy reserved for the battle against Djokovic at Cincinnati.