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Monfils to skip Australian Open to become eligible for protected ranking, keeps eye on Paris Olympics

The Frenchman has not played since injuring his foot at the Canadian Open in August but welcomed his first child in October with wife Elina Svitolina

Gael Monfils at the Canadian Masters 2022 Gael Monfils at the Canadian Masters 2022 Image Credit: Icon SMI / Panoramic

French tennis star Gael Monfils has said that he will not play the Australian Open in January in order to become eligible to use a protected ranking.

Players need to be away from the tour for six months in order to use their ranking at the time of their injury to enter tournaments upon return. Monfils was ranked No 20 in the world when he injured his leg at the Canadian Masters in August and is now ranked No 56.

Monfils revealed his decision in an interview on French television where he also said that his goal was to play the Paris Olympics in 2024.

“I have to not play the Australian Open”

“I think that you know, there is the protected ranking, when you don’t play for a certain amount of months. I know that if I take it, I have to not play the Australian Open to reach the six months needed and that will be my decision,” Monfils said.

Gaël Monfils, Open d'Australie 2022, France
Panoramic, Tennis Majors

“2023 is an important year for me, a year of transition, transition between my injuries and the fact to be competitive to try to qualify for Paris 2024. I would not like to miss them (Olympics), it would be my last ones. I hope that 2024 would not be my last year but maybe the one after that. Before, I said that I wanted to play until I’m 40 but the more time I spend with my daughter, the more I’m thinking that maybe I’ll play a bit less.”

Monfils : “Super frustrating”

The 36-year-old Monfils also posted an update on his blog on Friday in which he spoke about how the new injury has been super frustrating for him.

“I’ve been off the court the last few months recovering from an injury—a torn fascia I got last August, right in the middle of a match. (Basically, I busted my foot in front of 10,000 people. Yeah, you can find the video online.) I’ve also got what’s called a calcaneal spur, so, lucky me! Obviously, it’s been super frustrating—especially since I was playing some of my best games at the start of this year, getting up to #20 in the world rankings,” Monfils wrote in the blog.

“I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by awesome physios who are helping me get back on track for next year (though I’m thinking protected ranking is likely in the cards for me). “

Monfils Forced To Retire With Injury vs Draper | Montreal 2022

However, the Frenchman is seeing the injury in a positive light as it has helped him be around for the birth of his first child with wife and fellow tennis pro Elina Svitolina, who gave birth to their daughter Skai in October.

“That said, in one huge way, this injury has been an incredible blessing in disguise. I’m a dad! Elina and I welcomed our first baby, Skaï, about a month and a half ago. Because of my injury, I was able to spend much more time with both her and our new daughter than I ever could have in a normal season where I was traveling, training, and playing,” Monfils wrote.

People ask me how it feels to be a father, and to be honest, I don’t really have the words.

Gaël Monfils

“I got to be with Elina every day throughout the end of her pregnancy and be there for her completely during the birth. People ask me how it feels to be a father, and to be honest, I don’t really have the words. It’s indescribable, incredible love. I get joy from the smallest interaction with Skaï—sometimes I’m tempted to wake her up from a nap just to play with her (don’t worry guys, I don’t).”

“I finally get what people mean when they used to tell me I’d “understand when it happened”. I say the same thing to my friends now. Skaï is already my world — so in a sense, I’m really grateful this injury happened when it did. And as much as I can’t wait to be back on the court, part of me is already feeling kind of guilty and sad that I’ll have to be away from Elina and our daughter. “

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