Gael Monfils withdraws from Heineken Open

DAVID LONG
Last updated 14:29 05/01/2014

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Gael Monfils has pulled out of this week's Heineken Open in Auckland.

The Frenchman was one of the main draw cards to this year's event, along with world No 3 David Ferrer.

Monfils made it to the final in Doha this weekend, where he lost in three sets to Rafael Nadal. 

Tennis commentator Robbie Koenig told Fairfax Media yesterday that Monfils is looking good and should have a good week in Auckland, but sadly that won't be the case as he informed tournament director Karl Budge this morning that he won't be coming to New Zealand.

"Gael has had to withdraw from the tournament due to a fatigue issue coming out of his successful run in Doha.

"While we're bitterly disappointed, we are confident in the field we've put together and we don't rely on any one person and we know that we still have four players inside the world's top 20 and also there is real excitement in Marcos Baghdatis and Jack Sock, so it's going to be a cracking week.

"David Ferrer is here and looking to eclipse a pretty impressive record of Roy Emerson and go one better, to take out his fifth title."

Budge said Monfils told him he was disappointed at not being able to come back to the Open, a tournament where he made it through to the semifinals last year.

"It is disappointing for Gael, I know he was looking forward to getting back here, I've heard from both him and his agent this morning," he said. 

"I know he would have loved to have come back to a place that has been successful for him.

"It's the nature of tennis that these things happen."

However, as this is just the second tournament of the year after the off season, it does bring into question how fatigued Monfils is and while he says he's disappointed at not being able to come to Auckland, it was his decision after all.

As the draw has already been done, his place in it will be filled by a lucky loser from the final round of qualifying. There are three New Zealanders who've made it to the last round.

Artem Sitak, Michael Venus and Sebastian Lavie, so if any of them lose their matches tomorrow in the final round of qualifying, there is still a chance of them making it into the main draw if their name is pulled out of the hat.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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