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La Monf shakes off Oslo drama, pushes Sinner to the limit

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Bren Gray
Oslo 2024

Gael “La Monf” Monfils was at the centre of an unfortunate incident at UTS Oslo on the weekend, with the Frenchman getting disqualified due to a locker room injury caused to one of the tournament supervisors.

However, the drama of the 37-year-old’s early exit in Oslo has had no adverse effect on the veteran; quite the contrary in fact.

On Wednesday, La Monf became just the third man to take a set off Jannik Sinner. The Italian, who won the Australian Open in January and is unbeaten in 2024, won the first set 6-3 at the ABN AMRO Open, before Monfils leveled the match at a set a piece when he won the second 6-3.

While Monfils was unable to finish the job and become the first man in 2024 to defeat Sinner, he’s still in good company. Only Novak Djokovic and Daniil “The Chessmaster” Medvedev have managed to win sets off the 22-year-old this year, with nine players losing in straight sets.

Mouratoglou believes UTS helps players on the ATP Tour

UTS Founder and Chairman Patrick Mouratoglou believes that playing on the UTS tour actually helps players like Monfils when they return to the ATP Tour.

“Some players have explained that UTS has helped their overall game,” Mouratoglou shared in an interview after the conclusion of UTS Oslo on the weekend. 

“Bublik, just to name here The Bublik Enemy, he said to me that before, he was doubting that he could rally with those top guys, and he was relying a lot on his serve,” continued Mouratoglou. “With UTS he had no option than to rally and he said to me it gave him so much confidence in his baseline game. And when he comes back on the ATP tour, and he has his serve on top of it, it makes him a much better player. 

“We see often that players compete at UTS and the following weeks and months they make extremely good results. We’ve seen that a lot. And for sure, if you think about it, they play a lot more rallies, they have less time to recover. So their cardio improves a lot.

“They hit so many balls from the baseline. So they get an incredible rhythm in their game. And when they come back to the tour and they can use another weapon that they cannot use at UTS, then their game goes to another level.”

Andrey “Rublo” Rublev and Alex “The Demon” de Minaur clearly experiencing a similar phenomenon, with the UTS Olso finalists through to the quarter-finals of the ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam, where they’ll face a rematch of the weekend’s final.