French Open quarterfinalist Gael Monfils, is known to be one of the most animated players on tour. Monfils, the No. 1 French player in the world is facing No. 1 British player in the world, Andy Murray in his fourth career appearance in a quarterfinal at Roland Garros. Watch the video above to see some of the fan favorite’s best moments.
Here’s what you need to know about Monfils:
1. His Most Successful Grand Slam Tournament is the French Open
This will be Monfils’ 5th quarterfinal appearance at a Grand Slam event. In 30 Grand Slam tournaments, 4 of his 5 appearances have been in the French Open. The only other has been in the US Open in 2010. His most recent quarterfinal Grand Slam appearance was in 2011′s French Open.
2. He Had a Dance Off with Laurent Lokoli
Monfils is animated both on and off the court. The day before the opening matches at the French Open, Monfils and fellow Frenchman Laurent Lokoli engaged in a dance off on Kids’ Day. There have also been clips of some of Monfils’ showy and sometimes risky shots during big matches. The No. 23 seed has now gotten past J. Struff, F. Fognini and G. Garcia-Lopez to get to the quarterfinal round. His personality has made him a fan favorite. Watch the video above to check out their moves.
3. He is Nicknamed “Sliderman”
Once again, Monfils has been noted for his distinct style of play. He has been nicknamed “Sliderman” due to the way he slides across clay courts such as the one at Roland Garros. Although his unusual techniques are erratic and entertaining, he is known to be consistent and is usually 2 steps ahead of his opponent at all times as an experienced player when it comes to his placement on the court. He also has one of the best victory dances in tennis as shown by the video above.
4. He Was a Track Star
Monfils parents are from the Caribbean, but moved to France because of his father’s job. His father, Rufin, was formerly a football player from Guadalupe before becoming an agent for Telecom while his mother, Sylvette, is a nurse from Martinique. Both he and his younger brother, Daryl, play tennis at a professional level, but Gael has always been a standout in any sport he picked up. Watch the video above to see some of his stunning athletic moves on the tennis court.
Monfils is one of the most athletic players on tour. He has told sources that if he didn’t play tennis he would play basketball because of his passion for the game. Track could have been another option for Monfils, according to his former track coach in school. His coach believed that if he had kept up with it, he would have been competing in the Olympics since at the ages of 13 and 14, he had the fastest 100m time in the country.
5. He Has Beaten Nadal, But Not Djokovic
Monfils has been competing against the top players in tennis since his debut in 2004. Two players particularly that Monfils could be facing in the French Open if he gets past Murray are No. 1 in the world, Rafael Nadal and No. 2 in the world Novak Djokovic. Despite Nadal’s higher ranking, Monfils has managed to beat him 2 of the 9 times he has played him while he has won 0 of 9 matches against Djokovic. If he manages to face either player in this tournament, he will surely be the underdog.