Auger-Aliassime wins heated battle over Monfils, giving Team World 3-0 lead at Laver Cup
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Gael Monfils had some heated moments during their Laver Cup battle, which was won by the Canadian in straight sets.
Felix Auger-Aliassime was serious about winning on Friday night in Vancouver, and the 22-year-old sent a message of intent to Gael Monfils as he racked up a no-nonsense 6-4, 6-3 victory to give Team World a 3-0 lead over Team Europe at Laver Cup.
Team World vs Team Europe : 3-0
“It’s so special to have the Laver Cup in Canada, to play in Vancouver,” said Auger-Aliassime after the win. “I came here when I was 12, not so far from here, playing the national championships. If you told me back then I would be playing at Laver Cup, almost ten years later, here in front of you, I almost wouldn’t believe it.”
Misunderstanding between Monfils and Auger-Aliassime plays starring role
The opening set was full of tension, which started when Auger-Aliassime complained that Monfils was taking too much time between points during the fifth game. The flamboyant Frenchman took offense to the Canadian’s protestations and the pair ended up having a heated discussion during the changeover at 3-2.
Monfils, still ornery, attempted an underarm serve in the next game, which drew the ire of Auger-Aliassime, and the pair were still talking things out animatedly during the next changeover, with Team World captain John McEnroe standing by and playing arbiter as they discussed the matter.
At the heart of the disagreement was Monfils’ belief that the event should be treated more like an exhibition. Auger-Aliassime, on the other hand, didn’t see it that way. His teammates didn’t see it that way, either. Eager to get the win, they encouraged Auger-Aliassime not to engage Monfils.
“We are out here to compete, but also to have fun,” The Canadian said on court after the match. “Things get tense on the court sometimes. You want to stand up for yourself. Only one guy gets the win in the end. You try your best to stay cool but at the same time to stand up for yourself. That’s what I was trying to do, get the energy going and just try to not let him take too much ground I guess.”
Whatever was said, it was clear that Monfils didn’t enjoy the back-and-forth, and his play suffered. He lost the first set easily, then failed on three break points early in the second set and didn’t put up much resistance after that.
Team World takes a 3-0 lead into the final doubles match of the day — in the previous five iterations of Laver Cup, they had never won more than two points.
At Laver Cup all of Saturday’s matches are worth two points, while all of Sunday’s matches will be worth three.