Gael Monfils beaten by Jordan Thompson for his return to Indian Wells
For his return after seven months away from the circuit, Gaël Monfils had the honors of the night session in Indian Wells but the gift quickly looked like a little trap. The chilly and windy night and the Central three-quarters empty were far from the warm and noisy atmospheres that can galvanize it on American lands. After a correct start, he no longer made the match against a Jordan Thompson (world No. 87) applied and winner in 1h04 (6-3, 6-1).
The 36-year-old Frenchman’s evening reminds us that there is nothing obvious about finding all his feelings in a match after such a long absence. The now 210th in the world, however, gave reassuring clues at the start of the meeting with three service games (including two white wins) rather well done. He even offered himself a very “monfiesque” smash punctuated by a vertical jump. But everything seized up as suddenly as definitively when he experienced an air pocket at 3-3 on his serve.
33 unforced errors for Monfils
A double fault, an overused forehand, another off-center (this error punctuated his game) offered a boulevard to the Australian who rushed into it by countering the French on one of his accelerations along the line. Break conceded and the “Monf'” has, behind, won only one other game, on his service at the start of the second set.
Apart from this small thinning, the rest was complicated with 33 unforced errors on the clock and a few cries of frustration when he found that his forehand was not coming out of his racket as he wanted. One of the only times he managed to squirt it from the back of the court, the clusters of supporters huddled in a down jacket or rolled up under a plaid rumbled in their voices of pleasure.
But it was a spark far too small to start a fire and it was mainly the sound system that we heard when changing sides to try to warm up the atmosphere a little. Monfils finally gave in on a final forehand fault and left with no doubt some answers about his state of form but also some questions. He will have to be patient to reconnect the thread interrupted by an injury that had struck him down last year in Montreal after rotting him – already – a good part of his 2022 season.