Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best. - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Both players belong to my favourites, Zabaleta was one of first tennis players I've ever seen on TV (in the 90s) and Monfils, I supported him in junior time because he's different to other guys, and of course witnessed his only ATP victory, with tennis at his prime.

But.

Both were really outstanding juniors with a great career predicted. Mariano reached his career high at age of 22 (21 ATP), and Gael - at the age of 20 (23 ATP). Both keep suffering from injuries, and both have rather energy-taking styles of game.

(Both have similar volley skills ).

The career of Zabaleta wasn't (isn't - he's still in action) that bad, he made USO quaters (Gael can reach it at Roland Garros - had the 4th round last year), became a Bastad king (Gael can become a king of Sopot).

Knowing Monfils' cheerful personality, he'd be the perfect person to lead the French version of "Tenis Pro" (by Zabaleta and Chela). Actually, when interviewing Mariano in 2006, I asked him who out of other players would be the best for such a programme, and "Monfils" was what he said.

Now let's expect Gael to slide more, hopefully not down the ranks, and maybe somebody gives him a hint to play same shots, but a bit shorter, but also standing 5 metres to the front.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 01:21 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Monfils hasn't been involved in an incident like Zabaleta was in Chile with his father getting hurt with the flying chairs, which was at a big time in his career. Zabaleta did make a TMS final in Hamburg as well and had match points.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Uhh, I saw some TV recaps from that incident in Chile. Do you think it could have affected him all that much? He wasn't the only person during these riots present on court, and also had much time to recover.

Blake, Philippoussis are known examples of people with self or family problems who managed to do fine in tournaments later on.

Sure that Mariano was in a 5 sets final against Rios in Hamburg in 1999 (four first were very tight); Gael was in a Rome semifinal last year (I know defeating Roddick and Ginepri isn't world's biggest on clay, but still he won instead of losing).

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 01:48 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Monfils has been seen as having prospects since the juniors but still lots of specialists have also been saying how much he would have to improve technically. The issue is currently he doesn't want to listen to his circle of acquaintances and has had bad words with them. Not a big deal, this kind of adolescence crisis will come to an end but he needs to challenge himself a bit. And of course injuries haven't helped.

A step ahead would be to find a coach and accept his advices...

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 01:54 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Monfils still can do big things. I think we didn't see all he got yet. I mean, Monfils is 20, and ranked 51, he's not finished yet


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

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Monfils has been seen as having prospects since the juniors but still lots of specialists have also been saying how much he would have to improve technically. The issue is currently he doesn't want to listen to his circle of acquaintances and has had bad words with them. Not a big deal, this kind of adolescence crisis will come to an end but he needs to challenge himself a bit. And of course injuries haven't helped.

A step ahead would be to find a coach and accept his advices...
He said he wanted to adjust his game into more attacking but didn't feel comfortable.

Hard to go far with such thinking. That's more passive than Nadal.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 02:09 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

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He said he wanted to adjust his game into more attacking but didn't feel comfortable.

Hard to go far with such thinking. That's more passive than Nadal.
Yes but that's part of the problem. Some have questioned his global motivation and the fact that he dissipates his energie outside the tennis. Only himself knows the answer curently though.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 02:43 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Monfils and Zabaleta is an interesting comparison. Though I feel Monfils is capable of producing decent tennis on a range of different surfaces and therefore should be able to beat Zabaleta's record for career high, titles etc, which was largely achieved by his success on the clay.

Already Monfils has managed 1 title and 3 finals compared to 3 titles and 4 finals for Mariano. If he can get out of his current slump Gael should be able to add to his total most years, getting into double figures.

Of the high profile younger players Monfils does appear to be the one least likely to win a slam. It strikes me that Gael has yet to learn how to be a professional; too many matches slipping away because he's not in a good mood. But Gasquet, Murray, Berdych have all had lengthy spells of poor performances.

Tactically Monfils is an extraordinary sight. His current style of play is doing him no favours but he does have weapons so the potential to rise into the top 10 at some stage, is there. The catalyst for a change in approach could be a new coach or simply a frustration with the results produced by the current style of play. He can be aggressive, almost recklessly so. But it seems to happen when he is losing.

Then there is Gael's personality. Is he driven to succeed? Or is fun the overriding theme? How long will he want to play tennis if he is a top 20 player rather than a top 5 player?

By the end of his career Monfils' results may well be closer to those of Zabaleta than say Murray or Gasquet.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 02:44 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Monfils will be beating Henman on clay then if they ever meet.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 03:01 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Poor Zabaleta being compared to a joker like Monfils.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 04:39 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Monfils is a showman, and put more emphasis so far on fun than work, or so it seems. He has exceptional athletic capabilities, so there is hope for him.

I don't see an improvement in the short term though.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 05:54 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

monfils is too bipolar to be really successful
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-23-2007, 07:53 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

I too am a fan of Gael, but i feel his inconsistecy and sometimes lack of care of the game hurts him. He CAN get better, again, hes only 20. So hes at 51, so what? he can improve. How many times has Marat suffered an injury/mental instability/sex and beer binge and come back to the top 10?

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

Gael can always switch to paddle tennis.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 04:46 PM
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Re: Monfils can be a second Zabaleta, at best.

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A step ahead would be to find a coach and accept his advices...
Olivier Delaître could be his next coach.

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Delaître coach de Monfils dès lundi ?
24/02/2007 - 12:20
En quête d'un entraîneur à plein temps depuis plusieurs semaines, Gaël Monfils saura en début de semaine prochaine si Olivier Delaître sur lequel il a jeté son dévolu acceptera le poste. Le coach messin, qui entraînait Monfils lorsque celui-ci régnait sur le circuit junior, doit en effet venir lundi après-midi à Paris selon le quotidien Le Parisen pour négocier avec les instances fédérales et Team Lagardère qui encadrent le Français.

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