Gael Monfils' athleticism, dance moves endear him to Manila crowd in IPTL showpiece
Frenchman Gael Monfils' athleticism was on full display in Manila. Jerome Ascano

ASIDE from tennis, Gael Monfils said he is also into basketball, which explains the athleticism that was on display before Filipino fans in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

The world No. 18 said he also plays other sports aside from tennis to keep himself busy and in shape, and that includes football and basketball, considered two of the most popular team sports in the world.

“I still play soccer and basketball,” Monfils said during the postmatch press conference after his Indian Aces won over the UAE Royals on Sunday.

Monfils, who stands 6-foot-4, showed a lot of basketball-like ability during his matches in the IPTL, like a leaping backhand and a no-look shot during a doubles match against the Royals on Sunday.

“It’s the genetics. I think I have something that may be different,” Monfils said.

Monfils was a key player for the Aces in their undefeated run in the Manila leg of the IPTL, playing in singles and doubles to help the squad sweep all three games here.

Occasionally during the matches, Monfils also showed off his dance moves that endeared him to the Filipino crowd, as long as he is not playing with crowd darling Maria Sharapova.

“They were cheering against us yesterday. But we were getting into it. It is my first time in the Philippines. The fans have been great,” said Monfils.

The Frenchman said the faster pace of the matches under the IPTL format allowed him to play loose on the court.

“I love this format. It’s different. I used to play in the Davis Cup so this concept suits me. I really like it. I had fun out there but at the same time, we can still be serious on the court,” said Monfils.

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