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Old 03-16-2007, 07:49 AM   #135
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Default Re: ~~Articles & Interviews about/of GaŽl~~

An entry about Gael in Bricker's blog:
Quote:
Monfils: Back to His Roots

SUNRISE --Gael Monfils' (guy-EL moan-FISS) victory Thursday night at the $100,000 ATP Challenger here looked all too familiar. Several spectacular shots accompanied by several wild forays and crazy choices.

His game looks much the same as it did when he came out of the juniors two years ago, armed with predictions of greatness from people who don't understand there's a mental part of this game that is as important as the physical factors.

Yet he is only 3-5 for this season after losing to obscure Dutch Dennis van Scheppingen in the first round at Rotterdam a few weeks ago. That seemed to be the loss that finally made him reconsider his future. Tired of losing to players he should have handled easily, he phoned his old junior coach, Olivier Delaitre, and here they are, in Sunrise, back together again.

"I must be crazy," Delaitre joked earlier in the week. Small French joke. Crazy maybe because Monfils has not always been easy to tutor. But you could tell Olivier is ready for this challenge. He was one of a small cadre of French Federation coaches who squired Monfils aound the junior circuit. Now, however, Delaitre is working for himself and, hopefully, he is the man to finally bring this fabulously gifted 20-year-old athlete to full maturity.

"I want to help him find the simple way to play the game," Delaitre explained. Translation: He is going to show Monfils, though I suspect Gael knows this already, that there are smart choices to make on almost every shot. He doesn't have to set off fireworks every time he strikes the ball.

Although his game today looks relatively the same, there are some differences. The serve is more consistent, though still not consistent enough. And that on-court arrogant streak seems to have abated. He no longer swaggers around the court as if he owned it. A few embarrassing losses have a way of taking that out of anyone.

He had some trouble Thursday night with Dusan Vemic, an extremely aggressive Serbian who spent a lot of time playing inside the service line and out-thinking Monfils in the play around the net. But, ultimately, Gael had too much talent for him and won 7-6 (3), 6-4.

It's such a pleasure to watch this young Frenchman play. How many players are athletic enough to slide on a hardcourt? His speed: Electric. And the power in his forehand: Foreboding. It's all so good that it makes you want to excuse the wild shots he goes for.

Now, if he listens to Delaitre, that's going to come under control. The most important thing here is that Monfils apparently wants to succeed, and badly. He made the call to Delaitre. He's the one who gives a full effort in every match, even if it's not the brainiest effort out there.

You can't under-estimate his desire to win. You had only to watch his five-set victory over James Blake at the French Open last year to understand how highly motivated he is. But now, he needs more than motivation and pure talent. He needs to understand the game better. Only when he does will he climb back into the top-20, or top-10. There are a lot of outstanding young players in the game right now. None of them has the potential of Monfils.
http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports...s_back_to.html
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