Gael Monfils was not present at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, the exhibition tournament that stopped at the Telenor Arena in Oslo, due to a curious case that led to his disqualification. The 37-year-old Frenchman, who was supposed to face Benoit Paire on the opening day, was surprisingly replaced at the last minute by countryman Lucas Pouille.
Event organizers initially explained that the reason behind the disqualification was an exchange for jokes, without revealing further details. A UTS statement then clarified the incident. "An exchange in the locker room between Gael Monfils and tournament supervisor Stephane Apostolou resulted in a minor injury to the supervisor.
UTS is 100% satisfied that Gael had no malicious intent, but as there was an injury sustained by a match official, however minor, we felt there was no alternative to Gael's disqualification. Gael has accepted the disqualification and he and the supervisor have parted on amicable terms.
See you next time Gael!" explained the bord in a post on Instagram.
Pouille therefore replaced Monfils in group B, which included Andrey Rublev, Alex De Minaur and Benoit Paire.
Monfils towards retirement?
In recent weeks the former ATP No.6 had expressed the awareness of being close to the end of his career, and of wanting to give his best before the moment of retirement arrives.
"What I like most is playing for the public and I am aware that I don't have many tournaments left," said Monfils.
The French tennis player also talked about his family's new way of experiencing the circuit, with his wife and colleague Elina Svitolina and his one-year-old daughter Skai. "It would be a lie if I told you it's easy. It's challenging.
It's a different, different balance. Like you just said, we're two players, so it's challenging. We're very lucky to have the help of moms and nannies. So we're we're learning too," he told.