Monfils hopes to turn magic into more success
Date published :
08 Aug 2011 - 17:30:05
Flamboyant leaps and an athletic frame that allows him to scramble after balls for spectacular shots in rallies have made Gael Monfils one of the best entertainers in tennis.
Thus far that has not translated into Grand Slam success for the 24-year-old Frenchman, who came away a loser to Czech Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-4 in Sunday's ATP Washington Classic final, falling to 3-11 in ATP title matches.
But seventh-ranked Monfils, whose longest Grand Slam run was the 2008 French Open whee he reached the semi-finals, says a greater belief in his style of play rather than deeper focus is what will propel him into his first Grand Slam final.
"Have confidence in myself. Have a stronger belief," Monfils said. "I'm a believer but to reach the top I have to believe more, endure more. When I do two hours of practice, I need to add 30 minutes more.
"I need to feel something inside to go further. I think I show too much respect to my opponent. Maybe I can be more selfish. If I do that, I believe I can reach the finals."
Monfils split with Australian coach Roger Rasheed last month following three years together, saying at Washington that he was unhappy and that he and Rasheed had different goals.
Patrick Chamagne, who had been Monfils' fitness coach, is now his main coach as he heads into ATP Masters Series events at Montreal and Cincinnati ahead of the start of the US Open later this month.
"I think he can handle it," Monfils said. "I can trust in him."
That coaching comfort zone comes as critics say Monfils needs to be less of a showman on court and adopt a more tactical and focused approach in order to maximize his potential.
But Monfils also says he loves the role of entertainer, drawing roars and applause from crowds with amazing efforts on particular points.
"I want to show my passion to the people," Monfils said. "I'm pretty natural on the court. Always I remember what my parents told me. 'It's a gift to be on the tennis court.' Since I was three years old I keep it like this.
"I love playing games with my friends and trying tricky stuff. I try two percent (of those tricks) on the court. I like to try crazy stuff so I do it in a match."
The trick is turning flair into victory more often. Monfils gives a nod to such needs, but says he only needs fine tuning despite having lost a Washington final to a rival who was 2-5 against him, one he beat two weeks before on clay.
"My game is not far to be ready for big challenges against the big players," Monfils said. "I need to get back to work, be more aggressive, be more comfortable about small details, make my serve percentage a little higher.
"Physically I'm happy with where I am. Now I need to work to be stable and hopefully I can make a final."