Gael Monfils to miss 2023 Australian Open, opts to protect ranking
French tennis player Gael Monfils has confirmed that he will skip next year’s Australian Open in order to secure his protected ranking for Roland Garros.
The 36-year-old has not played on the ATP tour since injuring his ankle at the Canadian Open in August.
Ranked world No. 20 at the time of the injury, Monfils has now slipped to No. 52 due to his time spent off the court.
Whilst the reigning Adelaide International 1 champion’s recovery is on track, he has opted to not play at Melbourne Park in 2023.
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In tennis, players who miss at least six months of action are eligible to qualify for a protected ranking, which allows them to their ranking at the time of injury to enter tournaments upon their return.
His absence will be a blow for Australian Open organisers, with Monfils a popular and charismatic character.
He reached the quarterfinals of last year’s event – a feat he had only achieved once before (2016).
By remaining sidelined for the first month of 2023, Monfils would almost certainly be ready to compete in his home Grand Slam tournament – the French Open – in May.
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The former world No. 6 outlined the reasoning behind his decision to French broadcaster Canal+.
“I think that you know, there is the protected ranking when you don’t play for a certain amount of months,” Monfils said.
“I know that if I take it, I have to not play the Australian Open to reach the six months needed and that will be my decision.
“2023 is an important year for me, a year of transition. [A] transition between my injuries and the fact [I need] to be competitive to try to qualify for Paris 2024.
“I would not like to miss them [Olympics] – it would be my last one.
“I hope that 2024 will not be my last year but maybe the one after that.”
Monfils has previously mentioned that he wants to play professionally until he is 40 years old.
However, he added that his young family is becoming more of a priority, and he is looking to gradually step away from the sport.
The Frenchman is married to fellow tennis player Elina Svitolina, with the couple welcoming a baby girl in October.
“Before, I said that I wanted to play until I’m 40,” he said.
“But the more time I spend with my daughter, the more I’m thinking that maybe I’ll play a bit less.”