(June 14, 2013)--Tommy Haas won a spirited battle with Gael Monfils at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany in Friday, but the match was overshadowed by a strange, brilliant-yet-brainless trick shot (see below) that Monfils attempted--and yes, pulled off (sort of)--in the ninth game of the second set.
Monfils was broken to lose the set later in the game, and lost the match, 6-7(4), 3-6, 3-6.
Monfils was called "king of the ill-advised trick shot" by SI.com's Courtney Nguyen on Friday, and it's impossible to deny that. I guess, for Monfils, it's good to be the king of something. But when the sad truth is revealed and it becomes obvious just how committed to winning Monfils is, the whole charade seems a bit like a cop out.
Monfils enthusiasts have been waiting for years for this wildly talented boy to become a man and own up to his talents, but with each new fancy trick shot it becomes more and more apparent that Monfils just simply doesn't want to find out how good he can be. Hence the escapism, and with Monfils, the supply is abundant. The trick shot well never seems to run dry.
In his defense, Monfils is clearly interested in ensuring that fans get their money's worth when they see him play. When you look at it from that perspective, his actions don't seem nearly as egregious.
Anyhow, Haas was asked about it by reporters after the match. Here's his response.
Q: I had just had a verbal fight with Monfils about the weird ball in the match and I told him it’s kind of a lack of respect for the opponent and he totally disagreed. He said the practiced that shot during the training time and it was for him the best way to win the point. What’s your opinion?
HAAS: I mean that’s a way of looking at it. He’s an entertainer as well when he goes out there a lot of the times. He doesn’t need to hit the shot that way. But I think he thought he can win it anyway. It’s his call. I mean it’s strange I haven’t seen it that many times. At the same time I don’t remember how important the score was just of the top of the head, if it’s 40:0 and you do something like this, maybe it’s a good thing but it’s his decision in the end. That’s Gael.
Q: My question is it a lack of respect for the opponent or not?
HAAS: I don’t know if that’s lack of respect. I think he’s more of an entertainer in that sense and he wanted to do something entertaining for the crowd as well and maybe see if he can win that point that way. If he hit the smash well he still could have won the point, especially on grass he’s in control of the point. I don’t think necessarily it’s lack of respect. You saw the crowd sort of really enjoyed it.
Q: And you?
HAAS: To me it was okay. You always try and think of something. Sometimes I think he can do a little bit too much with the crowd or he commentates after many points. That sometimes can be a little bit too much in my eyes. But overall he’s a funny guy, he’s a good entertainer. As long as he can stay focussed that’s the most important thing. I try to stay focussed and not pay too much attention but sometimes that’s not easy. But I don’t think he shows disrespect to the opponent.