Distraught Monfils says trapped in “nightmare” after early exit

Distraught Monfils says trapped in “nightmare” after early exit

Distraught Monfils says trapped in “nightmare” after early exit

February 8, 2021

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – An emotional Gael Monfils exited the Australian Open in anguish on Monday after a shock five-set loss to Finnish tyro Emil Ruusuvuori and said he felt trapped in a “nightmare” as he battles through a form slump.

Tenth seed Monfils, who last tasted victory in Dubai nearly a year ago, crashed to his seventh successive loss and only his second first-round defeat at Melbourne Park.

“I lost, I have zero confidence, I played badly,” Monfils told reporters, his voice breaking as he held back tears after the 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 loss.

“I cannot serve, I make mistakes … I do not feel right and it shows.

“I know that I have lost a lot and it hurts me. I would like to wake up and tell myself that this nightmare is over, but I don’t know when it will stop.

“I have no confidence, I have no confidence.”

Monfils, a former quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park, converted only six out of 23 break points against 21-year-old Ruusuvuori, the world number 86 who was in his main draw at the tournament.

The 34-year-old Monfils’ last first-round exit in Melbourne came in 2006.

Ruusuvuori was Monfils’ practice partner during their mandatory two-week quarantine after arriving in the country.

“I think he was just playing his game … It was way enough to beat me today,” said Monfils.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; editing by Richard Pullin)

Distraught Monfils says trapped in “nightmare” after early exit