Monfils releases strong statement after argument with furious Laver Cup rival

Gael Monfils issued a strong statement following a disagreement with his Laver Cup rival Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian complained to the umpire when the 37-year-old was taking too long in between points and argued that the tournament was still meant to be played under regular ATP rules. Monfils then approached his opponent for a chat at the Team World player bench. And the Frenchman has now refuted any claims that he wasn’t taking the tournament seriously.

There was drama on the opening day of the Laver Cup when Auger-Aliassime wasn’t happy with the amount of time Monfils was taking between points during their singles match. The world No 14 appeared to push for a time violation, telling the umpire: “I can play games too.”

The Frenchman approached Auger-Aliassime during the changeover at 2-3 as the pair exchanged words in French. Later, with Monfils trailing 4-5, he explained to his Europe teammates that he was told he could be more “free” at the Laver Cup. “They called me and said ‘You can be free’. For me, I’m here to have fun,” he said.

The argument went viral, with many claiming that Auger-Aliassime was taking the event seriously while Monfils wasn’t. But the former world No 6 has now hit back with a strong statement. “I am tired of these incessant and futile controversies. Some people seem to get excited over trifles,” he wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).

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“I am annoyed by those who make hasty judgments. Some might think that because I smile and have fun, I’m not serious. Sure, my vision may be different, but I always strive to follow the guidelines given to me.” Monfils then went on to share his gratitude for being invited to the Laver Cup.

He continued: “At 37, I just try to make the most of every moment. When I was asked to participate in the Laver Cup, I was honoured. With my current ranking, outside the top 100 at this age, I even thought it was a joke. But I take this opportunity very seriously, for the event, for my team and especially for me.

“Traveling to Vancouver and leaving my family again is not the easiest thing. But, despite everything, I continue to practice my profession with passion and sincerity, as I have always done.”

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The 11-time title winner also hinted that he received a generous cheque for his participation, adding: “And, without tongue in cheek, I must admit that I am very well paid for this and that the conditions are exceptional.

“I know, some will say that I have accomplished nothing, that I am a clown… But the truth is that I am happy and fulfilled. I want to say that the Laver Cup is a fantastic event, and I plan to make the most of the end of my weekend. Let’s go Team Europe, let’s catch up Team World!”

Meanwhile, Auger-Aliassime addressed the incident after beating Monfils 6-4 6-3. “I was just kind of talking to the referees, talking to him about what rules he was applying, I guess, between the rules we’re used to in tournaments or different rules,” he explained.

“Because I came in thinking, yeah, I have played this tournament and I think everybody involved, not just myself, we all believed that Laver Cup is a tournament that I think has the potential to be taken very seriously, not just now but also in the future, so we’re taking this seriously.

“Yeah, I was just making sure of that. I don’t know. Yeah, things got a bit heated for a couple of games, but I’m happy that we were able to finish the match. Gael is somebody I appreciate, so there is no, I think, tension outside of what just happened in the few games there.”

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