Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Gael Monfils: embarrassment at Roland Garros

Several days ago, I wrote Andy Roddick to play Monfils in Quarter Finales. I think I was wrong. It is easy to get confused as to what round they are playing. In that post, I mentioned the unsportsmanlike behavior of Gael Monfils' coach as reported by the commentators in that his coach coaches from the sidelines which somehow does not meet professional championship guidelines. I mistakenly said that Monfils was a young player of honor and good sportsmanship, etc. I spoke highly of Monfils and of enjoying his play. Sadly, I was proved wrong by Monfils himself as I watched his match with Andy Roddick. The match ended at sunset with cloud cover darkening the court. Monfils demonstrated why he and his coach are well-suited for each other. Monfils demonstrated the worst display of rudeness and bad form toward another pro-tennis player that I have ever witnessed on a tournament court. Monfils jeered at Roddick; Monfils whipped up the crowd by leading them to cheer against Roddick. It was a shameful display. And the spectators - even though it is understandable that they wanted their countryman to win - should be ashamed of themselves for their falling into the excitement leading to their very poor behavior in terms of tennis etiquette. Monfils acted like a male cheerleader at a football game waving his arms after winning a point and beating his chest while turning to the crowd and waving his arms for them to scream louder for the great Monfils. The great and unprofessional Monfils. I have seen professional tennis players become frustrated with themselves and I have seen them pump their fist at success in winning a hard-fought after point. But to actively call upon the spectators to jeer the opponent and to cheer more and deafeningly for the defeat of the opponent is not generally the manner in which tennis spectators behave. The spectators behaved, led on by Monfils, more like drunks at a soccer match or at a cock fighting pit. They were rude. And it looks like the fix is in for Monfils - at least it was in the match with Roddick. When the cloud cover moved in darkening the court, Mr. Roddick said to the Chair Umpire that he could not see the ball. Mr. Roddick asked for the game to be completed the next day in light. The Chair Umpire denied the request. Worse, when Mr. Roddick appealed to the Supervisor of the Umpires because of the darkened court and his inability to see the ball, the Umpire Supervisor denied the request. Monfils was their countryman and he was on a roll. When Monfils saw that the umpires were standing with him regardless of the conditions on the court, it was at though Monfils got the green light opening the door for his disgraceful unsportsmanlike behavior. Of course, one would have to have good sportsmanlike manners first and after that display, Monfils can go on to win Roland Garros but it will be a hollow "victory" because - only to me - I say to the other players, "The fix is in for Monfils" if there is any way for him to be helped. I was embarrassed for the crowd of spectators but for all of his antics on the court and for all of his natural ability, I am one admirer of the pro-tennis players - the men and the women - who will have no respect for Gael Monfils, not after his behavior on the court last evening. And for the umpires who forced Roddick to play when he could not see the ball, shame on you. Monfils may have won the match even on a court where the other player could see the ball but it was clear that the umpires would not stop the match as long as Monfils was winning no matter what the conditions on the court. No, the only way those umpires would have stopped the match in the darkness would have been if Monfils had not been winning.


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