“I was amazed by her strength” – Gael Monfils takes big inspiration from wife Elina Svitolina to California for UTS

Gael Monfils is healthy – and inspired – as he prepares to kick off his North American hard court swing at UTS in Los Angeles. Find out why.

Gael Monfils Stockholm Open 2023 AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Gael Monfils has been on the sidelines since Roland-Garros, due to a wrist injury that forced him to retire from his second-round match against Holger Rune in Paris, but the time off the court has allowed him to get healthy – and inspired.

With a wife like Elina Svitolina, how could he not be inspired?

Monfils, who spoke to Tennis Majors ahead of his appearance at this weekend’s UTS in Los Angeles, says he was blown away when he watched his wife, Elina Monfils, take Wimbledon by storm last week as she reached the semi-finals and knocked off four former Grand Slam champions along the way.

“I was proud and inspired”

“Just proud of my wife, to be honest,” Monfils said. “How much work she has put in to be at that level. How much discipline she had. I was amazed by her strength, mentally, in some matches, to turn them around and then come back for her next match – I was proud and inspired.

“This is why I feel like a champion right now.” 

Monfils says the plus side of not being able to play Wimbledon was being able to bond with his daughter, Skai, who was born last October.

“She’s doing good, she’s growing up quite fast, actually,” the 36-year-old Frenchman said. “You are at home, but it’s a privilege to spend quality time as well, at home with your child. It can never be too much. It’s going to be a few weeks without her and it’s gonna be tough, but I feel like we will have more time in a few weeks.

“It has been an amazing month for me, watching my wife do fantastic, and I have had quality time with my daughter as well, so you know I’m just full of energy and really want to do well during this tour.” 

Elina Svitolina and Gael Monfils
Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine and husband Gael Monfils

Wrist continues to improve

Monfils says his wrist isn’t 100 percent yet, but he’s heading in the right direction.

“I feel much better,” he said. “That’s why I’m here actually. I feel like the wrist issue is almost behind me. You know how it is when you come back, you still have to be very careful, so I need to tape my wrist to be sure, and do my rehab.” 

The former world No 6 says he wouldn’t have come to Los Angeles if his situation hadn’t improved drastically. Now that he is in Southern California, he is excited to be a part of a talented eight-player field that is bringing men’s professional tennis back to L.A.

“It’s amazing to have a new sporting event in Los Angeles,” Monfils said. “I remember back in the day, L.A. used to have a big ATP tournament, now to have a big tennis event here is great. I hope we have new fans, and obviously playing in the L.A. Galaxy’s stadium is quite cool as well – I really like this venue here, personally.”

The most entertaining player at UTS? Hard to pick just one, says Monfils

UTS is an event that places emphasis on entertainment, so we asked Monfils to pick the most entertaining player in the field. He told us it was not an easy choice, so we let him pick two.

“It’s tough to pick, there are many, but allow me to have two,” he said. “I think to be honest, Frances Tiafoe. He’s a Top 10 player now, one of the biggest entertainers on the tour, and a very nice guy. He gives a lot to the crowd and he does a lot for tennis, so definitely him, and I will also go for Alexander Bublik as well. He gives a lot. He’s extremely talented and he has some shots that only he can hit.” 

Finally, we asked La Monf how he thought fans in California would react to the UTS experience, given that the event is making its first appearance in the United States.

“It’s my first UTS so it’s tough for me to answer now,” he said. “I am excited for Friday to see how it will work, with the music, with the fans. How the connection will be.”

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