Novak Djokovic: Gael Monfils’ biggest problem explained ahead of Dubai Championships match

Gael Monfils’ biggest problem when facing Novak Djokovic is that the world No 1 just does everything better. That is the assessment of respected coach Paul Annacone.

Djokovic and Monfils meet for the 17th time in their careers with the Serbian never experiencing defeat to the Frenchman.

It means Djokovic prepares for the Dubai Championships semi-final with a mental edge over Monfils, who has won his last two tournaments.

Monfils is widely considered to be one of the most naturally gifted players on the tour.

But Annacone feels Djokovic’s quality is simply at a higher level to Monfils.

“They are very similar in styles of play but Djokovic is better in all of them,” he told Tennis Channel.

“He defends better, he’s a more offensive defender.

“Gael gets more rackets on the ball but he just can’t finish off the points consistently against Novak.

“And I think that frustrates him. He can’t go into his default reactive mode because Novak is too good to play that way against.”


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Speaking ahead of the match, Monfils said he will try and come up with a new game plan to finally end Djokovic’s streak.

“I have no idea right now because 16 times it was the wrong one,” Monfils said. “Hopefully the 17th will be the good one.

“I’m 16 down against Novak. He’s the World No. 1, he hasn’t lost a match this year, so he’s in great shape.

“I’m just going with a new game plan and see how it works tomorrow night.

“I’m not counting. I try to be good every day even though I don’t think I play my best tennis [every day].

“[I] just control that I’m fighting and try to be very solid.”

The winner of Djokovic against Monfils will play Stefanos Tsitsipas after the ATP Finals champion beat Dan Evans.

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