Gael Monfils is a professional tennis player from France. He was the best junior in the world in 2004 and is known to be one of the best athletes ever to play professional Tennis. As of May 2011 he is ranked number 9 in the world.
Monfils: One of the most gifted athletes ever in Tennis!
Born in 1986 in Paris, Gael Monfils was a phenomenal tennis player already at a very young age. At the age of 16 he already won important junior tournaments in the Under18 age division. In 2004 he finished his junior career with wins at three of the four possible Junior Grand Slam Tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon).
He finished the year 2004 ranked number one in the world in Junior Tennis!
So far he has not been able to achieve the kind of success on the Pro Tour that most people expected though! His career highlights up to this point include three titles on the ATP Tour and a quarterfinal appearance at the 2010 US Open.
Let’s break down his game in the context of the four areas of the game!
Monfils has excellent technique on most shots and overall has all the tools necessary to beat the best players in the world!
Gael Monfils has a great forehand. He has superb technique and can hit the ball incredibly hard. Unfortunately he does not play nearly as aggressive with this shot as he probably could!
Monfils hitting a rocket forehand with 186 km/h speed!
His forehand has all of the key characteristics of a great forehand. He starts with a good upper body turn, takes the racket up high and swings on an inside-out swing pattern to contact where he keeps his head still. These are all key characteristics of great tennis strokes!
To learn more about the key body positions for great tennis strokes visit the Tennis Video Instruction page on this website!
Monfils also has a great two-handed backhand!
He has a lot of variety with this shot. He can hit solid cross-court topspin shots, he can hit crazy flat winners and he can hit really nice angles as well.
He starts the motion with a good body turn and then continues with a very short compact swing pattern with no unnecessary movements.
Great strokes usually have a compact swing where not much can go wrong and the Monfils backhand is a great example!
He really uses the bigger muscle groups well to generate power!
Essentially he makes great use of the kinetic chain, coiling and uncoiling all of the important body segments in a sequential order and at the end transferring all the energy into the hitting arm!
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Monfils does not hit a very good slice backhand.
He rarely uses the slice and when he does he lacks a few key mechanics that are necessary for a great slice!
He does not turn enough for the slice and therefore his racket does not go back enough. This essentially results in not enough coiling. As a result he can put enough speed and bite on his slice shots.
Gael Monfils is not a very good net player.
As defensive as he often plays it is tough to even find footage of him at the net.
From what I have seen his forehand volley seems pretty solid. He certainly lacks stability on his backhand volley though. His wrist is not in a stable position which makes it difficult to stabilize the rackethead.
Gael has a great serve and he can serve over 140 mp/h consistently!
His service motion is very similar to Andy Roddick’s motion even though Monfils claims that he did not copy it.
He starts with the so-called pin-point stance where the feet are very close together and continues with an abbreviated swing, taking the racket arm up very early in the motion.
With his serve Monfils can really hit the angles well!
What I mean by that is his flat serve down the T from the deuce court goes on a very straight line and does not curve into the opponent. His slice out wide also really curves out away from the opponent and same holds true for his serves in the ad court. This in combination with a lot of power makes it a very dangerous serve!
From a tactical perspective Monfils is one of the weakest players I know on the men’s tour. He plays way too defensive and most of the time you see him very far behind the baseline playing like a counter-puncher.
In the video below you can get a good idea of what I am talking about.
Monfils Tactically: Simply Not Aggressive Enough!
Monfils has the athleticism and the strokes to play aggressive Tennis but he simply does not do it nearly often enough. In order to compete for Grand Slam Titles he needs to have a radical change in his game plan.
Even when he is on offense he does not put enough pressure on his opponents and often lets them off the hook again.
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Gael Monfils is in my opinion the best athlete on the men’s tour. He is more gifted in this area than anybody else I have ever seen play Tennis!
He is not only incredibly strong and fast but also very flexible!
On hard courts he slides to balls that seem unreachable on a regular basis!
Gael Monfils tactical weakness is closely related to his mental game in my opinion. I am certain that many coaches have told him that he needs to stand closer to the baseline and try to dictate points, but unfortunately he does not seem to be able to do that yet.
One of the reasons is most likely that this style of play was very effective for him especially during his junior years. Therefore it is engrained in his subconscious mind.
In order to change and win more he needs to get out of his comfort zone, which he does not seem to be willing to do yet.
Monfils is also known for hitting some crazy shots on the court that most top level professionals would not attempt. This is entertaining for the viewers but does not help him in regards to his mental toughness.
Check out this insane forehand for example!
I rank Monfils’s skills in the following order:
Gael Monfils needs to change his game plan and become a much more aggressive player!
He needs to get comfortable going for more with his shots and dictating points in general. He has all the necessary tools!
Once he plays more aggressive and stand closer to the baseline there will also be plenty of opportunities to finish off points at the net. Therefore he should also work on improving his net game, especially his backhand volleys.
Overall this could mean losing a few more matches until he is comfortable with a more aggressive style. It should lead to much better results in the long-term though!
So much for the Gael Monfils Biography and Game Analysis!