French Open diary: Motormouth Monfils keeps everyone busy

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Chatty: Gael Monfils.

Gael Monfils is one of the most amusing players to watch and not just because of his theatrical tennis but because he doesn’t stop talking during a match, and usually what he says is quite funny.

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I once watched him during a first round match at Wimbledon on Court 18, and the whole time he was chatting to his friends, who happened to be sat in the same few seats as the media, complaining about how much he hates grass and how he didn’t want to be there. He scraped through in three sets that day.

On Sunday, against Roger Federer he asked umpire Carlos Bernardes for a “blanket” or “duvet”.

After Bernardes kept rejecting the request, Monfils suggested the Brazilian “ask the president”, referring to Jean Gachassin, the president of the Federation Francaise de Tennis who has been attending most of the French players’ matches.

After the changeover, Monfils actually walked over to Gachassin, whose designated seat is in the section right behind the baseline, and asked him for a blanket.

The following changeover, a ball kid brought Monfils a blanket but for some reason he turned it down saying he didn’t want it anymore. Moody much, LaMonf?

His coach, Jan de Witt, is possibly the hardest-working man in Paris this fortnight. De Witt coaches both Monfils and Gilles Simon and they’ve both been playing on the same day so far at the French Open, although Simon lost easily on Sunday.

But two days earlier, Simon battled Nicolas Mahut for five sets – after trailing two sets to one – before Monfils made a miraculous comeback to beat Pablo Cuevas in five sets. 

“He said ‘F***, Gaël, if you continue like this I will be dead in two years’ time’. But honestly, I think he loves it. He was so happy. He was so proud. When Gilles came out winning, he was so happy. And then he came to me, and he was so motivated,” Monfils said of his coach on Friday.

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