Don’t look now—or do look now, because it might not last—but Gael Monfils is up to No. 14 in the world. He hasn’t been ranked higher than that since May 2012.
Don’t look now—or do look now, because it might not happen again for a while—but Monfils just won a tournament, the sixth and most important of his 12-year career, at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. The Frenchman, who has been just about everything you can be on a tennis court other than a closer, had lost eight of his last nine finals.
Don’t look now—or do look now, because you never know when it’s going to end—but a month shy of his 30th birthday, Monfils is playing (dare we say it?) consistent tennis. This year he has reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, in Indian Wells and in Miami, and made it to the final in Monte Carlo. He might have done something similar at the French Open if he hadn't ended up in the hospital with a virus.
Monfils, from what I saw, didn’t showboat or waste energy in D.C., where he knocked off Borna Coric and Alexander Zverev, two of the ATP’s brightest young talents, and played clutch tennis to come back and beat Ivo Karlovic in three sets in the final. And while Monfils couldn’t resist throwing in a no-look backhand during his 7-6 (6), 6-0 win over Vasek Pospisil in Toronto on Wednesday, it was the famously flaky Frenchman who held his nerve at the end of the tight first set and stole a tiebreaker that appeared to belong to his opponent.
So what’s gotten into La Monf? Don’t ask him.