INDIAN WELLS – It’s been about seven months since Gaël Monfils played a competitive tennis match.
It was not a good day; he had to retire in his third-round match against Jack Draper at the National Bank Open in Montreal last August with the same foot issue that had taken him out from after Madrid through Montreal – a three-month period that included missing Roland Garros.
But he’s here, after getting back into training and finding himself with a few other nicks and bruises.
He gets the night session on the main stadium at the BNP Paribas Open on opening night, against Aussie Jordan Thompson.
It’s not quite the glamour slot it appears to be; the first few days of the tournament (with none of the 32 seeds on either the men’s or women’s sides playing) are fairly quiet on the attendance front. Oh, and yes, even by the “it cools right down at night in the desert” standards, it’s been positively shivery.
Here’s what Monfils looked like in practice. Same quick feet and jet-like explosion to the ball.
Mutually happy reunion society
It’s hard to know who was happier: every player he crossed paths with on his first couple of days back on site. Or Monfils himself, who is always happy to see everyone but especially so now, with so much time away.
It’s hard to know what the future holds for Monfils, who is about the same age as Nadal and a just a year older than Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. And a lot more beat up (okay, except for Murray).
With Open Court reporting that his wife Elina Svitolina is returning next month on the clay, there will be two tennis players in the family again.