ATP Masters 1000Monte-Carlo MastersRoger Federer

Monfils Prematurely Ends Federer’s Monte Carlo Campaign

No missing Monte Carlo title for Federer this year as he was defeated by Gael Monfils 6-4 7-6(5) in 1 hour and 44 minutes to bow out in the third round.

It’s the very beginning of the clay court season. It’s going to take me some time to feel 100 percent comfortable… Not many guys are perfect this week. But it was a good week for me anyways to come here and practise with the best, play a couple of matches. At least gives me some information, if I’m trying to be a bit positive right now.

The win means Monfils makes his first Monte Carlo quarter finaland he’s now defeated Roger back to back for the first time in his career. Well deserved too; Monfils hit 22 winners to Federer’s 17 and only made 22 unforced errors compared the 38 from the Swiss.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Monfils Monte Carlo 2015

Federer won the toss and elected to serve, holding to 15 to kick things off. He won the opening point on the Monfil’s serve but 4 straight points from the Frenchman meant he too made a promising start.

In game 4 and with a 2-1 lead Roger capitalised on some sloppy play from Monfils to break when he hit a well executed short slice return to lead 3-1.

Things looked to be heading in the right direction but like the Chardy match yesterday he failed to consolidate the break hitting a double fault on break point.

The break back spurred Monfils on and he began to get the upper hand from the back of the court, breaking again at 4-4 with some solid hitting before serving it out to 15 to take it 6-4.

It was an uncharacterisitc FedExpress derailment moment from 3-1 onwards and he only made 48% of first serves and won just 1 rally that went over 9 shots. That’s not going to get it done against Monfils who we know can play solid when he’s focused.

Into set 2 and Monfils maintained his steady form from the first set as both guys exchanged holds. Leading 2-1 Roger fashioned his first break point but failed to convert as Monfils held. The Frenchman then had 2 break points of his own but Roger came up with some clutch serving to edge in front 3-2. The Swiss then had to save another breakpoint at 3-3 again coming up with a top quality volley to snuff out the chance.

In game 8 Roger looked to be raising his level as he moved to 0-30 on the Monfils serve but couldn’t capitalise and both players exchanged holds for 5-5. Monfils then had his fifth break point chance of the set which Roger saved with a timely ace before holding for 6-5. Monfils replied with a 1 minute hold to love to force the breaker.

With Federer to serve he lost the opening point of the tie break with another error and his record of P4 W1 L3 in breakers this year it was a less than ideal start. However Monfils wasn’t able to take advantage, handing the mini break straight back. Roger then moved up 5-3, hitting a powerful return in the process but then Monfils reeled off the next 4 points to book his spot in the Quarters against Dimitrov. Match point actually summed this one up well; a forehand dragged wide into the tramlines to bow out tamely.

Match Stats

G. Monfils R. Federer
Aces 3 4
Double Faults 0 1
1st Serve % 54% 52%
1st Serve Points Won 30/44 (68%) 30/45 (67%)
2nd Serve Points Won 23/37 (62%) 21/42 (50%)
Break Points Saved 2/3 (67%) 6/8 (75%)
Service Games Played 11 11
1st Return Points Won 15/45 (33%) 14/44 (32%)
2nd Return Points Won 21/42 (50%) 14/37 (38%)
Break Points Won 2/8 (25%) 1/3 (33%)
Return Games Played 11 11
Winners 22 17
Unforced Errors 22 38
Net Points Won 6/9 12/19
Total Service Points Won 53/81 (65%) 51/87 (59%)
Total Return Points Won 36/87 (41%) 28/81 (35%)
Total Points Won 89/168 (53%) 79/168 (47%)

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Struggling Monte Carlo 2015

I never felt at ease, and I never felt the way I wanted to be on the court. There are many things I could have done better. I could have served better. I could have mixed it up a bit better. Also I didn’t play my slice backhand well enough. There are some things I did a little bit better and some other things I didn’t do well. Anyway, I never felt comfortable during the whole match… I only have to accept what went wrong and go from there.

I think Fed sums it up pretty well with the quote above – he never felt at ease. After going up a break in the first set and failing to consolidate things just didn’t go his way. Monfils was the guy bossing the rallies and forcing the issue from the back of the court; that isn’t the position Fed is going win matches from especially on clay.

Roger had patches of good play but never sustained it for long enough; hitting a ton of errors off low percentage shots and his poor serving never gave him breathing room on the return to swing free.

In the second set I thought he did well saving break points with first strike tennis but in extended rallies he never came out on top. Either missing by inches with some high risk shots or playing too predictably which allowed Monfils to rip it even from a good few feet behind the baseline. Y U NO USE SLICE MORE ROGER?

Not a match that will live long in the memory for me as it was low on quality. Roger served poorly and Monfils played well within in his comfort zone. Slightly annoying considering he looked good against Chardy yesterday but not a hard loss to fathom as Roger’s results on clay haven’t been all that great over the last few years. We’ve seen losses to Chardy, Gulbis, Montanes, Nishikori, Soderling, Melzer and Wawrinka all in the early stages of tournaments so nothing new. The good news is that he usually has at least 1 decent tournament on clay during the swing when conditions are better suited and his game just clicks into gear. With Monte Carlo out the way there’s 3 or 4 more for him to have a crack at πŸ™‚

@Sashasimba123 got none for Fed. First outing on clay, anything can happen.

Next stop is Istanbul but first more training in Switzerland before the tournament starts on 27th of April. It’s only a 250 so will field a much weaker field than Monte Carlo so I like his chances of finding the right sort of gameplan and rhythm to hang with the best on the clay for Madrid, potentially Rome and then Paris.


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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    1. Well, indeed looks very patchy play from Roger based on highlights and article (I missed to watch)…. Usually he did good in Madrid when he loses early in this tourney, correct? Hopefully same this year too.. Didn’t he reach final after losing to Melzer on 2011? Hopefully similarly he could pick up… Let’s see…

      1. Absolutely Nambi! Loss of all those points is a bit crap, but Istanbul win will halve that, and give him some momentum (and match practice) for Madrid. Let’s stay positive. πŸ™‚

  1. Earliest exist for Federer in Monte Carlo. I hope he comes back and have good clay season. Last whenever he took some time off to practice he got good results.

      1. It would surprise me if it wasn’t, I think. A tourney he doesn’t really like, and one he tends not to do well at, *and* it’s not obligatory. Too crowded for his liking, I think he said a while back – and he seems not to like London for the same reason.

  2. I thought that too Jonathan – WHY NO SLICE? He used topspin apparently for around 94% of the time. Has the slice not worked against Monfils before? I thought it was only against Nadal that it didn’t work. Once he lost that first break he seemed to lose confidence as Monfils gained confidence + he always seems to pull out all the stops against the champ. We all know he’s stubborn, but baseline hitting against Monfils is never a good decision. Serve went AWOL, and of course errors amassed as he played riskier points, as you pointed out. Aargh…I guess we must expect these up and down days but it was disappointing. Not that surprised though as having watched that Monfils/Dolgo match it was clear that Monf was in form. Commentators suggesting that new coach has definitely improved Monfils’ focus. I wonder whether this could translate to a big title for him?

    1. Fed used top spin more and more really since his prime. I think slice one of his most underused shots… would be interesting to see stats on use of slice backhand throughout career.

      Monfils deffo talented enough to win M1000’s but it takes a lot of mental toughness to do it especially when you’re having to face Djoker or Dull.

  3. Sorry to sound a like smart ass – I was not totally surprised of the loss having watched the highlight of the Chardy match. At least, Roger served well there. With such poor serving (Roger’s standard) in this match, Roger just handed the initiative to Gael right from the outset. With a few more UFE, the outcome was not completely shocking. Certainly, it was very disappointing when leading 5:3 in the 2nd set TB, Roger could and should have done better. I hope that Roger will take the Istanbul seriously and not taking the title there could sap his confidence.

  4. Not much to add here, great sum up J. Gonna be honest here and say I’m kind of happy to see Fed go out because Monte Carlo is one of the most unbearable tournaments to watch tied with Miami. Match was pretty much lost after Fed failed to consolidate in the first set and just didn’t have the same intensity as Monfils to stay toe to toe in the rallies. Definitely wondering why Fed didn’t use more slice as you said, the BH exchanges with Gael weren’t working so wonder why Fed failed to mix it up on that shot. Beginning of the clay tour so not really sure what to expect with Roger especially since he hasn’t really had a good run on it for the past 2 years.

    I assume Fed plays Rome now too so plenty more of the red dirt left for him to tune up his game and hopefully add another title to the cabinet.

    1. I like the venue as it is in a nice area but the tournament seems very flat. People on that terrace eating and drinking when the tennis is on with zero interest in what is happening on court. Very much a place to be seen.

      Unsure on Rome, he said his plans haven’t changed and he doesn’t know if he will play.

  5. Wow, what happened to that “solid start”? Where did the 1st serves go? We all knew Monfils could trouble Roger if he was on, but I was hoping – no, expecting really – that Roger would bring something closer to his best. Not his day I suppose; but too early to conclude that all of “his days” are behind him. A pity.

    Too bad Isner couldn’t capitalize on being close to Rafa. Interesting mix of guys at the weekend.

    1. Ah, that would explain it! I was thinking maybe he appreciates the warmer weather, or the sea air, or something, but it does seem slightly masochistic to hang around. Mind you, he did that at Wimbledon in 2013, and Miami last year, too.

  6. Not much else to add. Monfils does look like a clown in that getup. Interesting semis, I`ll probably watch. Seems like Raonic is having foot problems. His whole foot taped up. Retired from the quarters.
    I really think Roger is planning his exit from the sport. Doing what he wants the last while. I believe he is planning on that year end tournament again in India. Hmmm.
    I guess, we canèt expect him to play good tennis all the time at his age, lol.

    1. IPTL is too lucrative to turn down, especially for like 2 days work. Not really far from Dubai either where he will be staying plus no DC or Stan exho this year so far.

      I would think he plays till 2016 then it’s hard to predict.

    1. I was wondering where you were Sid…he bloody lost didn’t he, and against the clown. Isner should have beaten Nadal, ditto Ferrer…but the bastard escaped by the skin of his butt cheeks, and confidence is returning. Noooo. Still, he’s going to get a beating from Djokovic I think.

    2. PS. Federer played poorly perhaps, but at least he wasn’t served the sort of beat-down suffered by Dimitrov….sheesh, that was pretty shocking! πŸ™

    3. Wasn’t Ferrer a set and a break down? Did well to push it to three but he’s invariably coming up short in that sort of match with Nadal, think he gotta win 1st set to get over the line.

      Dimitrov was flattered by Stan tanking but first time he beaten a high ranked player in a while.

      1. Ferrer was a set, 2 breaks and 30 -0 down….
        I wonder what’s going to happen with djokovic. Actually djokovic might be super stressed to play such a weak nadal. The pressure is definitively on his shoulders!

    4. Although just watched the Dimitrov Monfils highlights, scoreline doesn’t reflect the match really.

      Dimitrov played some pretty smart stuff, used his slice well and the angles but still struggles to win the important points hence the low game count. If Fed had managed to execute some of the plays Dimitrov managed he’d probably be in the Quarters.

  7. If you look at it, Roger’s draw was a mine loaded one. Monfils in the second round, not a great option. Monfils is more and more consistent lately and with his speed, his span and his skills, and the slow court, it was never going to be easy. So to me it was a 50% 50%.

    I think the problem was that Roger was to frustrate for me (probably because of the perspective of an early exit). So it affected his shot selection sometimes. It seems he forgot to use the slice in the first set and when he started using it it was kind of too late to get hot with it and Monfils was already very confident.

    He didn’t serve great, but the state of mind might have played a lot in it. Frustration and uneasy certainly come from Monfils playing quite really well, don’t forget that. He returned pretty well. Paced the ball smart, overall was more patient then Roger with better shot selection, missed very few and was on every ball…

    So I’m sad Roger lost, he could have won but though it’s an upset, it was not necessary an easy proposition.

    As you say Jonathan, Monfils should be winning M1000. He should definitively get to the final and with crowd advantage win the title (and not only beat Roger!!!!!).

    So PLease guys, let’s not assume he’s thinking to stop or that it’s his last visit here….
    He work hard for this clay season and looking at his schedule he seemed serious about it. But the draw was shit and here we are… The goals don’t change! Let’s hope the efforts pay off somewhere on clay, why not at RG…!!!

    1. It certainly wasn’t an easy proposition Nathan. Don’t think anyone saw this as an easy draw; Djokovic was lucky again I thought. When Monfils is on song, he’s tough for anyone as we all know. It didn’t come as that much of a surprise to me having seen his match with Dolgopolov who played a great game himself that day, and must have been cursing his bad luck to have met a hot Monfils in the 2nd round. Anyone else, and Dolgo would certainly have made the QFs IMO.

      It may not be his last visit to MC but having lost in the 3rd round this time, you’ve got to think that he might give it a miss next year. Like you said though, this is first clay tournament, there’s a few more to come where he could get a big win, although I feel RG would be rather a big ask.

      1. Who’s Nathan? πŸ˜†

        Agreed on the frustration part Nath, Fed looked pretty annoyed. I wouldn’t go so far as saying Monfils played really well though, he was just solid.

        It wasn’t as if he didn’t allowed Roger to play from the baseline, he played a lot more aggressive in the Davis Cup IMO but in Monte Carlo he was just content to rally and get the error ball from Fed. That makes it a bit more of a sucky loss and it wasn’t like Fed got blasted outta there.

      2. Yeah, who’s Nathan? πŸ˜‰ !
        Solid and Monfils in the same sentence…!!! That.s what i meant by great! Greatly wise! Besides he knows how to get in Roger’s head! Though I like Monfils, I think it s quite a disgusting behavior from him!
        Would Roger have been more resilient, he would have won the match !

      3. Actually I said pretty well, not great! At the end of the day,he was just annoying to me! B…!!!!

      4. It seems anyone who beats Roger must have used gamesmanship or disgusting behaviour in the eyes of fans to do so πŸ˜† The match in Monte Carlo never had chance to become mental, it was just one guy playing better than the other.

        Agree on Monfils though, he can be very annoying when he’s faffing around with his shoelaces every point or hobbling around like he’s injured only to pull out all the stops to chase balls down next point.

        Definitely a form of gamesmanship as it does effect the opponent but whether Monfils is doing it for that reason or whether that’s just his manner is difficult to say. I think he’s pretty good to watch though, he can play shots that nobody else can…

      5. Oh sorry Nath (I think my brain saw that and converted it to Nathan!) πŸ™‚

        True that fiddling with shoelaces and looking winded is fu**ing annoying; but surely players are used to this from Monfils? it’s not as though he doesn’t do it in every match he plays: all part of his clown act. πŸ™

      6. it’s his “ALLEZ” that were not correct in that match in particular. if you pay attention, he’s not talking to himself, he’s directly talking strong and agressive to Roger, and Roger was stupid enough to be affected by it…
        Well I guess, as a disappointed fan, I’m quite sensitive myself πŸ™‚ !!!

      7. Don’t worry Nath – I’m *very* pissed off, even though I’m trying to be positive, particularly after watching SF against Berdy. If Federer isn’t hitting his head over and over again, Merkel will be doing it for him!!

  8. I am still trying to get over Roger’s loss honestly expected better stuff from him. DC doesn’t count as he was nursing back injury and little time on clay. Oh well hope he remember his slice and get into rhythm soon.

  9. Just watched the first SF: what a pile of steaming horse shit! Clownfils back, particularly in 1st set – 6-1! OK, I know tennis is often about match-ups, and lately Feds hasn’t matched up well with Moonball Monfils (shades of Nadal), and poor h2h against Tomas, but really. can’t fu**ing believe what I just saw. So another final – and it doesn’t matter which one he faces – of Berdshit smiling sheepishly in defeat. Bah…worse tournament of the year. πŸ™ πŸ™

    1. Terrible matchup for Monf, can’t seem to handle Berdych power which is weird considering he stands way back.

      Djoker in line to win 4 masters 1000 in a row. Really in peak form.

      1. I’m still trying to work out whether he is, or whether it’s more that everyone else is a bit *off*-peak? What do you think? I haven’t seen him play much this year.

  10. Well, who doesn’t enjoy Nadal getting steam rolled by Novak. 34 year old Fed still the only one who can challenge the World number 1.

    1. Nadal *was* looking better though, and there were some good points. But still, Djokovic didn’t look as though he doubted his win: he’s got the measure of Nadal it seems, but can he do it over 5 sets this time should they meet? But it could be a SF again, as Feds will still be No.2 I think having missed Madrid last year so very few points to defend, unlike Nadal. And you’re right, should they meet in a final, Feds still the only one who seems to properly challenge Djokovic. Let’s hope he gets a chance (in Madrid) to show everyone. πŸ™‚

  11. Damn, forgot to record the semis. Absolutely right Gaurav, an almost 34yo the one to challenge the no 1. Most be frustrating for players to see the score today. Monfils is not consistent but he does play some amazing points.

    I wonder if Djokovic has drool running down the side of his face as he sleeps and dreams of holding the RG trophy.

  12. Roger was there in MC still today, practicing?! Seve taking a class after the disappointing performance? πŸ˜€ Clay seldom seems to not disappoint. So annoying. Can’t it just be skipped? I hope for two ’09 Soderling-like performances at RG to take out a certain Spaniard and a certain Serb, with the same winner at the end. Like that’s ever gonna happen. My odds of becoming a billionaire overnight and living the rest of my life as a close friend of the Federers are probably higher than those of ’09 repeating!
    Anyway, some Roger is better than no Roger. So might as well try to enjoy clay season too. Plus I have a very bad feeling that it’s all gonna be over after 2016, so thankful for any RF on court at all really.
    Onwards to Istanbul!
    As for MC final, it’ll be a small miracle if Berdych doesn’t receive any bakery products. A bigger one if he does receive some but doesn’t try to joke about it on Twitter. An almost 34-year old “weak era” guy the only one able to challenge No. 1. Some strong era it is. Or is it Golden Era? SMH.

    1. Ahem. The only bakery products in sight would have been ones provided by the caterers (I can’t somehow see the spectators at MC bringing their own sarnies like the rest of us πŸ™‚ )

    1. It’s hard to judge how downbeat someone is from written text. I watched the video, not really downbeat, just knew he didn’t play well. That question about Rome pissed him off.

      1. Yeah, I interpreted it as “crankierer” too. I think it annoys him when he doesn’t play as well as he… not necessarily can, but feels he ought in whatever the circumstances are.

        Also, I know he & Stan are “buddies”, & have wondered if they are close enough for Roger to be a bit thrown by Stan’s news too.

  13. Hey! Been a long time since my last comment, I really missed you guys!
    I’m so excited, I will see Roger playing live. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy tickets for SF and F but have tickets for R16 and QF. I will share my experiences.
    About the MC, I think Roger doesn’t mind that much about losing to Monf. You know, he’s a beast when in form. Hope Roger wins Istanbul Crown!

  14. Well I’ve never been more wrong ever haha, I thought Roger would’ve had the measure of Monfils easily but ah well. Not a tough loss by any means, he may have got it done in the third set if he managed to squeeze out that breaker though, similar match to Tsonga last year in the quarters. Fed played fairly poorly to go down 6-2 then just somehow hangs in there and nicks the second set and the match. Same could’ve happened this time but just didn’t, win some lose some.
    Pretty hungry for some success on the dirt, hope Roger is too. With all the practice he’s putting in it seems he is. Roll on Istanbul, really he should be winning the title. Though as long as he puts on a good show at Roland Garros this year, I’m happy.
    Also, Rog still hasn’t released his schedule after Wimbledon yet. D’you reckon if Roger wins an 8th Wimbedon title he might just call it a day there and then? I sure hope not but it’s just a thought.

  15. You know, I’ve been thinking about Roger’s comments about not feeling comfortable out there. Let me see: he was training in Switzerland, and presumably that must have been on indoor clay, since it’s not long since he tweeted a picture implying it was snowing heavily – winter carrying on late in CH this year, clearly. Would that be very different from the outdoor stuff? And if MC is the first clay tournament in the calendar and he has to make that transition every time he goes there, could that partially explain why he’s not tended to do well there?

    1. There was a picture… maybe @simonhaering ? Of roger training in Zurich, & I think it was outdoors. Plus he came to MC pretty early.

    2. He played outside in Zurich. Snow still on the mountain tops but it’s plenty warm enough at ground level to play outside. I’ve been able to play outside for about 3 / 4 weeks now.

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