Gael Monfils withdraws from ASB Classic

Gael Monfils has moved out of the ASB Classic and continues an unlucky start to the tournament. The Frenchman retired on Monday night due to a quadriceps injury.

This is a big blow to the tournament, especially after the resignations of former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych and defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut.

The 32-year-old Monfils, known in his place for his stunning drums and acrobatics, was the biggest raffle of this year’s event.

He has already delighted audiences in Auckland in two appearances, and his night game against Tommy Haas in 2013 was one of the best in tournament history.

This is the third time that Monfils has retired prior to the ASB Classic event, and he appeared visibly upset during the press conference.

“I have a problem with my quadriceps,” Monfils said. “I’ve been in pain for two days so unfortunately I can not play or exercise, it’s very difficult in many ways.

“I’m disappointed with the situation I’ve been through and I’ve also been in the tournament, and of course this year is a bit tough because we had a couple of retirements, I love the city, the fans are always great, it was a tough one Decision for me [this afternoon] to say that I’m not playing. “

Monfils arrived in Auckland on Saturday and had completed two training sessions but had pain in a subsequent session on Monday morning. He is known to be vulnerable to injury and said he has never completed a full season.

That’s the paradox, “said Monfils. It’s only been here three times, but I think I’ve never played a full season. There are 16 seasons. It happens to me constantly. I’m definitely sad for the tournament, for my fans, but I’m also sad for me. I’ve done a great job for seven weeks, having come to Australia earlier to be in shape and come here and not be able to afford it.

Tournament director Karl Budge admitted that the news was “devastating,” although he said he would try to recruit the French again despite his check-up record.

“I will,” said Budge. “They want the guys who make the most entertaining performances, and he’s that guy, I’ve given most of the stuff to go to the center court and play a match.”

Pablo Cuevas, who was the sixth seed at ASB Classic last year, will take Monfils ‘lucky loser’ in the draw.

Updated: January 8, 2019 — 2:32 pm

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