Andy Murray will have a tough start at the Aix-en-Provence Challenger as he faces Gael Monfils. The pair have formed a good friendship on the tour, previously co-hosting an online show about the 2020 ATP Finals. And just days before he was drawn to face Monfils, Murray said the Frenchman was the one player he’d want to be stuck with on a deserted island.
Murray is dropping down to the Challenger level this week in a bid to get some victories on the clay. The world No 52 took a wildcard into the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole following first-round exits in Monte Carlo and Madrid.
But the level of his opponents won’t get any easier as the fifth seed will face fellow wildcard Monfils on Wednesday. The former world No 6 is continuing his comeback from an injury, which has seen his ranking tumble outside of the top 300.
As well as being a top player in his prime, Monfils is also one of Murray’s friends on the tour. And days before they were drawn to face each other in Aix-en-Provence, the Brit showed off their friendship by picking the 36-year-old during a Q&A.
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Murray appeared on the ATP Tennis Radio Podcast over the weekend where he answered some fan questions, including one asking which fellow pro he would want to join him on a deserted island. “I’d need someone resourceful to get me off the island but also I’d want someone to keep me entertained as well so I’m going to go with Gael Monfils,” he responded.
“He’s a fun guy to be around. Always entertaining, so I’ll take him.” The pair will have to put their friendship to one side when they face off at the Challenger event, in what will be their first meeting since 2014.
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Murray leads their head-to-head by four wins to two losses but the pair haven’t played one another since the 2014 French Open, where the Brit sneaked past in five sets. Monfils’ two victories have come in France where he has the home advantage, so he will be hoping to earn another win in Aix-en-Provence.
Monfils will be hoping for some luck after spending a year battling various injuries. He underwent heel surgery 12 months ago and injured his foot at his first event back in Montreal. And he was forced to retire again during his opening match in Miami this year with a wrist issue.
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