When you’re injured, you’re not a tennis player anymore. You’re just someone try to get healthy quick
Gael Monfils has set his sights on a return to the top ten after getting some much-needed match practise under his belt in his first tournament of the year in Doha
The Frenchman says he felt no reoccurrence of the knee pain that hindered his 2012 season on his return to the tour at the Qatar Open this week. "I'm good. I am fit. My knee is fine," said Monfils. "It was quite a long struggle last year, like a lot. And then it took me, yeah, couple of more months after I tried to come back, and now it's good."
After rolling over local wildcard Mousa Shanan Zayed in the opening round in Doha, Monfils upset third seed Philipp Kohlshreiber in three sets before falling to world No.153 Daniel Brands in the quarter-final. "It was tougher because I felt a bit heavier,” Monfils said of his loss to Brands. "I struggled a bit with my recovery. I have to get used to, and, you know, just adjust a couple of stuff to be better."
Monfils admitted he is taking things one-step at a time but the former world No.7 is hoping that he can return to the top of the men's game in the not so distant future. "I have been in the top ten, so for sure I want to get back there,” said the former junior world No.1. “The start of the season will be very hard because I need to get matches for confidence, and to feel that I'm back, like definitely back, week after week.”
Monfils, who dropped out of the top 20 in August last year for the first time since 2008, currently sits at No.77 in the rankings. "When you choose to be back on the court, it's because you are a hundred percent,” he explained. “If you are not, there is no point in coming back. If I'm here it's because I feel a hundred percent. I'm ready to give my best and ready to challenge myself to try to be back at my top level."
Monfils also began the season in some new gear. The 26-year-old recently signed a multi-year contract with ASICS and will be wearing ASICS footwear and apparel throughout the 2013 season. The Frenchman will have a hands-on role with his new sponsor, helping with the development of future ASICS tennis collections and giving feedback to the design teams. Check out the Frenchman’s promotional clip below: