Gael Monfils is a French tennis player who is known for his incredible trick shots and crowd-pleasing antics.
Monfils has been a consistent threat to the top players ever since he first burst on to the scene at the 2008 French Open. He is often considered to be a walking highlight reel, as his spectacular shot-making has the power to leave spectators spell-bound.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: Quarterfinalist (2016)
French Open: Semifinalist (2008)
Wimbledon: 4th Round (2018)
US Open: Semifinalist (2016)
Highest Ranking: No. 6
Style of play
Monfils has a big serve and bigger forehand, but he prefers to play a patient counterpunching game. He hits his groundstrokes with plenty of topspin and margin, and stands well behind the baseline on most points.
Monfils is not the most frequent visitor to the net, but can hit some deft volleys when he finds himself there. He also makes liberal use of the drop shot, slice and lob, as he looks to mix up his natural power with off-pace shots.
Strengths and weaknesses
Monfils foot speed is legendary. It has been said that he could have been an Olympics-level sprinter if he hadn't taken up tennis. No shot is ever truly beyond his reach; he can run down anything, anytime, and on any surface, although clay is his most comfortable hunting ground.
Monfils has a gigantic forehand, which he can hit with speeds up to 110 mph when he flattens it out. He doesn't flatten it out too often though, and for the most part rolls it deep and crosscourt to open up his hitting zone. That tendency to play it safe has often been criticized by analysts; many feel that Monfils doesn't make full use of his natural power.
The Frenchman has a good serve, and can take the racquet out of any player's hands by slamming down a big first delivery. His second serve is inconsistent though, and he has been known to spew untimely double faults.
Monfils' biggest weakness is possibly his mental game. While he performs well under pressure, he is often guilty of letting his foot off the pedal when in a commanding position. He also doesn't impose his game on his opponents often enough, preferring to defend from the baseline rather than attack from inside the court, which in turn nullifies some of his strengths.
Monfils was born in Paris, but comes from mixed heritage. His father Rufin hails from the Caribbean island Guadeloupe, while mother Sylvette is from Martinique.
He was introduced to tennis by his father, who taught him the basics of the game. Gael was also a track athlete while in school, but decided to focus solely on tennis once he entered his teen years. His role model while growing up was Arthur Ashe.
Monfils is one of the most accomplished junior players of all time, having won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon boys' titles in the year 2004. While he hasn't been able to replicate that kind of success on the pro tour, he has always given the crowd their money's worth with his dramatic performances.
Monfils is a self-confessed showman, and often puts his own enjoyment and the crowd's enjoyment above winning or losing. He is a gifted athlete who is capable of defeating any player in the world when he's dialed in, but his insistence on putting up a show for the crowd often comes in the way of his success.
None of that, however, makes him any less valuable to the ATP tour. He is a star in every sense of the term, and not just with his tennis; Monfils is also known to break dance after his matches, and is one of the most popular players in the locker room.
In a tennis world filled with ultra-disciplined, super-serious professionals, Monfils and his boyish charm are seen by many as a breath of fresh air.
Social media presence:
Gael Monfils Instagram: @iamgaelmonfils
Gael Monfils Twitter: @Gael_Monfils