Legg Mason Tennis Classic (3)
Coverage from ATP 500 Tournament in Washington, D.C., August 5-7, 2011
For a Top 10 player, Gael Monfils has competed in a very respectable number of ATP World Tour finals – 14. However, the Frenchman has only come out victorious on three occasions, in Sopot (2005), Metz (2009) and Montpellier (2010). After losing to Radek Stepanek in Sunday’s match, 4-6, 4-6, Monfils told the media about the cause of his letdowns in tournament finals:
“To be honest, I’m unlucky,” said the Frenchman. He noted that in his earlier finals he was faced with top-ranked opponents, and, in later ones, with top players on a given surface. In another instance, Monfils twisted his ankle in an earlier match, and, here in Washington, D.C., he ran into the weather, which did not allow him to fully recuperate from the Semifinal. Monfils did admit he had a chance of beating Philipp Petzschner in the Vienna final in 2008, the German’s sole singles title.
Having won nearly 80 percent of their meetings, Bad Luck seems to be a much more consistent competitor in championship matches than Monfils!
The Rundown: Saturday
Saturday’s Midnight Snack
By the time the second men’s Semifinal ended, after a string of rain delays, with Gael Monfils triumphing in a deciding set tiebreak, it was difficult to remember the doubles Semifinal that had started play on Saturday, more than 12 hours earlier. After the 1:15 am finish, the players diligently came into the interview room to answer media questions. John Isner’s post-match interview ended at 1:59 am.
Both players, who displayed good humor and sportsmanship throughout the math, even fist-bumping to lament a Hawkeye malfunction on match point, concurred with the decision to have the match completed late Saturday night, rather than rescheduled to be finished Sunday before the Final.
Mardy Fish, who had withdrawn from the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, stopped by Friday afternoon for an interview on his way to Montreal for the Coupe Rogers. Fish was in good spirits and his heel injury did not seem to bother him too much. He defended his heavy scheduling – the top American was originally scheduled to play for 12 weeks straight through to the US Open – by noting that all the summer weeks were important for him to maintain his desired ranking. Fish did say that he has decided to forego entering doubles draws in order to preserve health and energy.
Asked whether his goals for 2011 have changed since entering the Top 10, Fish said he now aspires to make the World Tour Finals at the end of the season, as well as to make it beyond the quarterfinal stage at the US Open. He also wants to stay healthy for an extended period of time, something that has eluded him throughout his injury-prone career.