Gael Monfils hits a return against Rafael Nadal during
their final match at the Qatar Open. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
Flamboyant Frenchman Gael Monfils has withdrawn from this
week's Heineken Open, citing fatigue after reaching the final
of the Qatar Open in Doha.
Monfils was beaten 6-1 6-7 (5) 6-2 by world No 1 Rafael Nadal
in Doha overnight (NZT) and instead of travelling to Auckland
to play in the Heineken Open has opted to head to Melbourne
to prepare for next week's Australian Open.
It would have been a tight fit, as he would have had to play
his first-round match at Stanley St on Tuesday. However the
feat was possible, as world No 3 and four-time winner David
Ferrer won the Heineken Open last year after being a beaten
semifinalist in Doha.
Players often don't want to jeopardise their chances at the
year's first grand slam tournament, and the Heineken Open can
suffer as a consequence given its proximity to the Australian
Monfils' withdrawal adds to that of world No 18 Tommy
Robredo, who pulled out last week with a wrist injury.
"We would have done everything we could to have made sure he
had every opportunity to get in an recover, but with a grand
slam next week he's obviously got to take care of himself and
recover and do what he thinks is best preparation for that
grand slam," tournament director Karl Budge said.
"While we are bitterly disappointed, we are really confident
in the field we have put together. We don't rely on any one
person and know we still have four players inside the world's
top 20 and some real excitement in the likes of Marcos
Baghdatis and Jack Sock.
Monfils can be a crowd pleaser. The world No 31 was involved
in the best match of last year's tournament when he beat
Tommy Haas in three sets in the quarter-finals but then
succumbed easily to eventual champion David Ferrer the next
day in the semifinal.
A lucky loser from the qualifying tournament will take over
Monfils' spot in the main draw.
- Michael Brown of APNZ