I thought I was done with Roger Federer posts for the day, but then Gael Monfils gave a hilarious press conference after losing to him in their French Open quarterfinal. Marat, you may have some competition for most entertaining in defeat.
Please keep in mind that Monfils was speaking in a thoughtful, self-deprecating way. It was Federer, the insane shotmaker, that got on his nerves, not Rog, the all-around nice guy and 13-time Slam champ.
Federer got on his nerves:
GAËL MONFILS: Well, first, because I lost the first set,that is something that I didn’t like. Then I got angry at myself, the way I managed his chips. He would have chipped balls. I made stupid errors, unforced errors, and then it was his dropshot. I couldn’t hit back. It got on my nerves, so I didn’t like this moment.
Federer was a pain in his ass:
GAËL MONFILS: I think today he played better than I did. He was stronger than I was, and he managed to read the game better than I could.
He’s got experience, okay. But I’ve been playing against him twice now more or less the same level, and I think the difference is based on the fact that his game is really a pain in the ass, you know, more than anything else, more than any other player.
Federer hit “rotten” shots:
GAËL MONFILS: Well, how can I say? Well, when he plays against me, what he does is that he changes. He varies the way he plays.
Sometimes he’s very aggressive. And when he hits the ball just after the bounce, I don’t really know where to place myself on the court. It’s the way I move around. You know, he’s one of the only guys who can make me slide a little.
I sometimes hesitate. He plays a lot of really wrong‑footed balls. Even though I know this, it’s so fast. He’s one of the only men who ‑‑you know, when he is an attacker, when he attacks, I’m like anybody else.
Others can be attackers. I know I’m going to run, no problem, again. With him, I will try and slide on one side. He hides his shots, you see. You know, his short chip is like, oh, a pain in the ass, a real pain in the ass.
At the end of the day, it gets on my nerves. I think I’m going to get it. I’m going to get it. And, oh, like it’s the rotten shot again. It pisses me off. I can’t do anything.
And everyone likes Federer better:
GAËL MONFILS: Well, what is difficult is that, you know,the French public really respect Roger, so it’s difficult for them. To start with, they have mixed feelings. They supported us both, and then when it was two sets all ‑‑ or two sets love, it was different.
But, you know, when you play against Roger, it’s difficult here in terms of the crowd because Roger is respected. People want Roger to win for the first time here, so, you know, getting the support of the crowd is more difficult in this case.
Is it just me, or is that some of the more insightful analysis you’ve heard from a player lately? Much better than the same old “he went for his shots and I didn’t” spiel. Merci, La Monf!