Gael Monfils breaks down in tears at Australian Open with plea in press conference

Australian Open: Nick Kyrgios reacts to Bourchier win

Gael Monfils struggled to hold back tears in his press conference after crashing out of the Australian Open first round. The Frenchman lost in five sets to Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori – world No.86.

The defeat in Melbourne means it is the sixth tournament in a row Monfils has exited in the first round as he battles with a horrendous dip in form.

And his latest loss became all too much for the 34-year-old as the pressures of Covid lockdown and playing elite sport took their toll.

Monfils said he is in a nightmare and pleaded with the journalists to not shoot him while he’s down.

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“I play badly,” he confessed after the defeat.

“I cannot serve, I can no longer make a forehand, I make mistakes. I would like to get up and tell you that this nightmare is over, but here I am.”

“I feel judged,” he added. “I’m already on the ground, you shoot me … I ask for a little mercy. It hurts me because I train like a madman and it doesn’t work. When the guy is down, don’t shoot him.”

Eurosport pundit and former world No.1 Mats Wilander gave a touching view on the incident and said he really feels for the 34-year-old who has clearly reached breaking point.

“He’s a social human being and loves to play in front of a crowd,” Wilander said.

“2020 has been a horrible year for people like Gael Monfils who likes to socialise, and I think with his tennis as well and we talked about this last year, who was going to be able to handle this?

“The likes of Gael Monfils, Nick Kyrgios, Benoit Paire, Fabio Fognini – the players that really, really play up to the crowd – it’s tough for them. I feel for them.”

Monfils wasn’t the only big name to exit in the first round with Angelique Kerber – a three-time grand slam winner – also crashing out.

“You feel it,” she said after losing to Bernarda Pera. “Especially … against an opponent who doesn’t stay in the hard lockdown.

“My balls are always a little bit out … but what can I do? I tried the best out of it. Of course, you feel it if you are not hitting ball two weeks and you are not in the rhythm.”

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