Monfils in hurry to take on big boys

Imagine Roger Federer winning the Australian, French and Wimbledon titles and then suddenly announcing he wasn't going to play at the US Open because he simply could not be bothered. Impossible. And yet it may well just happen on the junior circuit.

The world No 1, Gaël Monfils, of France, yesterday moved into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a chillingly comfortable victory over Brendan Evans. The pouting American, who has a great line in line-call injustice ­ he queries every call, but was unbalanced by one foot-fault call ­ may be ranked just two places below Monfils but his tennis appeared a world apart in the 7-5, 6-2, rain-blighted contest.

Monfils, 6ft 4in at just 17 years old and with a serve which tips 135mph, looks as comfortable on grass as Bambi on ice and has professed his loathing for the surface with a disdain which almost rivals his sense of self-belief. "I don't like grass. I like Wimbledon but not the weather," he said.

Having beaten Evans, Monfils added: "I don't know if I will play in the US Open. If I win three titles then that is enough for me." Monfils has already won in Melbourne and Paris and remains on course for the Grand Slam of Grand Slams. That feat has been accomplished only once before in the juniors ­ by Stefan Edberg in 1983. But matching it means less to Monfils than preserving his top ranking which now, with 18 wins and just one defeat, cannot be overhauled this year.

Evans was the only player who could have caught him and there is clearly little love lost between the two. Monfils, from the tough Parisian suburb of Seine St Denis, in the shadows of the Stade de France, felt up for the challenge. One particular glare ­ at both line judge and opponent ­ confirmed his readiness for the seniors. More importantly, he has the game to survive and a ranking already of 467 in the world, as well as his first senior title after demolishing Alex Bogdanovic this year at Bournemouth.

Monfils is in a hurry to move to challenger tournaments, although he will have to add muscle to his wiry frame. "I want to find out what my level is in the big game," he said. Monfils has already absented himself from much of the ITF Junior Circuit while trying to get a foothold in the professional ranks.

He is more comfortable on hard courts, although he won at Roehampton last month, and at Roland Garros without dropping a set. Here he has just lost one, and will face fellow Frenchman Jérémy Chardy who defeated unseeded Briton Jamie Baker.

However, another unseeded Briton, Miles Kasiri did make it into the last four. The 18-year-old beat William Ward, of New Zealand, 6-4, 6-3.

In France Monfils, whose father is from Martinique and whose mother is from Guadaloupe, is obviously regarded as the successor to Yannick Noah, although he has declared his hero is Arthur Ashe. Like his father, Ruffin, Monfils could have been a professional footballer, although he has confessed he prefers to be an individual. Given his singular opinions, that shows.

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living