You probably know that Gael Monfils’ nickname is “La Monf.” But were you aware that his opponent on Thursday in Shanghai, David Goffin, is known in some quarters of the tennis world as “La Goff?”
Does that moniker seem a little, I don’t know, grand for the bashful Belgian? It’s hard to say so after the season he has put together in 2016. Whatever Goffin’s game lacks in drama, it more than makes up for in smooth-swinging appeal.
On Thursday, La Goff met La Monf in one of the more highly-anticpated matches in Shanghai. It was a contest that had, as we like to say, “implications” for the Race to London. Before Thursday, Monfils was sixth in that race, Goffin 11th; the Top 8 finishers will gather at The O2 Arena next month. Both men are looking to make their first trips to the year-end championships. That honor is typically seen as a reward for a season well spent, and there’s no question that Monfils and Goffin deserve it this time.
Monfils’ sudden surge at 30 has garnered a good deal of press and fan attention. That’s hardly a surprise; he’s one of tennis’ most popular showmen, one of its most electrifying athletes and one of its biggest head-shaking, what-if stories. We’ve been waiting for La Monf to get serious for a decade, and—his unfortunate U.S. Open semifinal against Novak Djokovic aside—he finally did in 2016.