Gael Monfils called Novak Djokovic "the greatest of all time" following their match and added it was "an honor" for him to play against the Serb despite the loss. On Thursday, No 2 seed Djokovic ousted former world No 6 Monfils 6-3 6-2 in the Cincinnati Masters round-of-16.
Following the Cincinnati win, Djokovic improved to 19-0 against Monfils. After the match, Monfils shared on social media that Djokovic signed his shirt with a message on it that read: "#19. 17.08.23. Sorry not sorry (the Serb also added a smiley)." Monfils proceeded to call Djokovic the GOAT.
“It may not have been the match I was hoping for against the GOAT, but it's still an honor and a pleasure to face Novak. Still, it's been a positive week. I'm going to rest to be at my best at the US Open. Thank you so much for your incredible support," Monfils said.
Ce n’était peut-être pas le match que j’espérais contre le GOAT, mais c’est toujours un honneur et un plaisir d’affronter @DjokerNole . Malgré tout, ça reste une semaine positive.
Djokovic on his impressive record against Monfils
By beating Monfils in Cincinnati and improving to 19-0, Djokovic officially made his head-to-head against Monfils the most lopsided for any matchup in the history books of the ATP Tour.
Their first meeting on the main level came at the 2005 US Open when Djokovic clinched a tight five-set win. After beating Monfils in Cincinnati and creating history, Djokovic did his best to keep it respectful toward Monfils.
"It was kind of an evolution of both players over the past 15-plus years that we've been playing each other in different parts of the world, also in juniors. I think early on I struggled a lot with him, I think physically as well.
When you play on of the most athletic guys on the Tour, you have to be ready, every ball comes back. A couple of points today, especially in the first set he showed his athleticism," Djokovic said after beating Monfils. Monfils' best-ever shot at beating Djokovic came just before the pandemic in 2020 February.
In the 2020 Dubai semifinal, Monfils missed out on three match points before Djokovic sealed a 2-6 7-6 (8) 6-1 win over the Frenchman.