Why Murray Said Monfils Was ‘On Fire’ During Twitch Nitto ATP Finals Preview
Gael Monfils is teaming up with Andy Murray all week long on Twitch to chat about the action at the Nitto ATP Finals, and their preview episode dropped on the Frenchman’s popular livestreaming channel full of draw analysis, hot tennis takes and of course, lots of banter.
“Can I just say, before we talk about this, your English is on fire! What happened there?” an impressed Murray teased Monfils early on in the broadcast.
“Now I feel the pressure!” Monfils laughed, giving “all credit” to girlfriend and WTA player Elina Svitolina for his rapidly expanding vocabulary. (He poked Murray back later in the show after the Brit told a fan “merci", joking, “Whoa, that French!”)
Monfils and Murray reflected on their own experiences at the season-ending event, with both the singles and doubles field officially set ahead of this year’s edition. Murray revealed an interesting tidbit about how players prepare for the event: beyond the on-court tactics, there’s even a strategy to the practices.
“One of the things we all do, because we know the groups a little bit in advance, we always practise with the players that are in the opposite groups,” Murray explained, in response to a fan question. “So for example all of the players in Novak’s group, they won’t be practising with each other. They’ll be practising with the players in the other group, so as to not give any of our tactics away or so our opponents don’t see how we’re playing. That’s one of the things that always happens.”
Murray lifted the Nitto ATP Finals trophy in 2016, and he had some words of advice for players gearing up for this year’s 50th edition in London.
“It is difficult to go into an event and play against the best players in the world from the very first match, so the preparation is ultra important for this one,” he said. “Because if you’re not feeling good and you haven’t prepared properly, you will get found out… If you’re not well-prepared physically and mentally, you’re likely to lose your first match.”
The pair also gave their breakdown of Group Tokyo 1970, lead by Novak Djokovic alongside Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman, and Group London 2020, headed up by Rafael Nadal with Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.
“I mean, at the end those guys played the best for sure during the season, but I also feel like they all deserve [to be there], even down to the last spot,” said Monfils, who made his own Nitto ATP Finals appearance in 2016.
Monfils and Murray were getting ready to analyse the doubles field - which had just been set with the qualification of Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Jurgen Meltzer in Sofia that same morning - but Murray just wasn’t up for it.
“The doubles is a little bit of a sore subject for me,” he admitted with a wry smile, as it was in fact Jamie Murray and partner Neal Skupski who were edged out by Roger-Vasselin and Melzer. “It meant my brother couldn’t qualify for London, so I’m a bit upset to talk about that now, to be honest with you.”
“Let’s just move on, I don’t want to upset you,” Monfils responded with a laugh.
Monfils and Murray will continue these daily Twitch streams on the Frenchman's channel beginning Monday to recap all the results at the season finale.