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Monfils: “I want to play until I’m 40”

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Oslo 2024

Gael “La Monf” Monfils wants to keep thrilling tennis fans across the world for at least the next couple of years.

In an interview with Tennis Majors, the 37-year-old said he would like to emulate some other sporting legends when it comes to career longevity.

“In the long term, I want to play until I’m 40. That would be cool, like Ibra (Zlatan Ibrahimovic) or Kobe (Bryant), but to do that you need a certain ranking, consistency and an average level that allows you to play well, otherwise it’s the end. I’ve got time to think about the Olympics, just before the French Open. And if that happens, I’ll already be well qualified (he smiles).”

The Frenchman says he continues to work on his fitness in order to stay competitive.

“I try to do things that allow me to pull my weight with the younger guys, and I like that. I always want to play. What’s harder is to stay physically fit, to be able to move around well, and to regain sufficient confidence to be able to enjoy myself. So when I manage to connect that, I manage to stay a bit dangerous for the youngsters.”

And he is now working with coach Mikael Tillström – and the results so far, including becoming the oldest man to ever make the semi-finals in Doha, suggest that it was a good decision.

“We have a long history, we’re buddies, we’ve worked together for years… I told him I wanted to build something different, to get something different: we went and got a new physical trainer, a new physiotherapist. And now I’m proof that we’re working well.”

Monfils had previously said in the UTS talk show All on the Table in 2023 that having his daughter and coming back to the tour after his injuries had made him rethink his career path.

“They lead you to reflect on yourself,” he said, adding: “Whatever happens, I want to play until the Olympic Games in 2024 and after that the real goal would be to be able to play until I’m 40.”

Monfils – a long-standing competitor on the UTS Tour – is currently bottom of the 2024 Race Rankings following his disqualification in Oslo. He previously reached the 2023 Grand Final in London following a semi-final showing in Los Angeles and a round-robin elimination in Frankfurt.

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La Monf

Gaël Monfils