‘Only positive vibes’ for Gael Monfils ahead of return as he opens up about his love for his ‘little princess’

Elina Svitolina, Gael Monfils, Skai Monfils Credit: Alamy
Elina Svitolina, Gael Monfils, Skai Monfils Credit: Alamy

The past seven months have been bittersweet for Gael Monfils as he has struggled with injury, but the time away from the ATP Tour also helped him to adapt to fatherhood and spend time with his baby daughter Skaï.

Monfils first injured his foot during the build-up to last year’s French Open and was forced to miss his home Grand Slam and Roland Garros as well as Wimbledon.

He then made a comeback at the Canadian Open in August, but it was a short-lived return as he re-injured his foot in his first singles match back and then spent the next seven months on the sidelines.

The Frenchman will attempt another comeback at this week’s Indian Wells Open as he used his protected ranking to get into the main draw with Jordan Thompson his opponent in the first round on Wednesday.

“I feel great,” he told ATPTour.com. “It’s been a couple months now I’m away. At the same time, I have a couple weeks without my little princess. It’s the first time, it’s the first feeling like that. It’s a mixed feeling, but in a positive way.”

He added: “It’s been a long time. I won’t lie, I missed being on the Tour playing, competing, challenging myself. Now I just have the feeling [of love with the fans].

“Actually Indian Wells is great because you have fans very close on the practice court. You can feel the energy. That definitely was [exciting] for me the few days I came here. I felt great and I felt lucky and blessed that I could actually get back in shape to experience that again.”

Spending lengthy periods out injured is always frustrating and Monfils has slipped to outside the top 200 in the ATP Rankings, but it gave him a chance to adapt to fatherhood as he and wife Elina Svitolina became first-time parents in October when the former world No 3 gave birth to a girl named Skaï.

“I was with her since day one and now to get back on the road, it’s a different experience for me. I’ve been great. I’ve been blessed,” the 36-year-old said. “So far she’s healthy and myself too, [I have] gotten back in shape and healthy. I have only positive vibes coming here.”

He added: “Perfect timing. I say always I try to see the positive in the negative and that was almost the best timing. I could be with my wife at the end of her pregnancy and support her, because it’s never easy the last days and everything.

“And then of course at the beginning as a parent, taking care of the little one as a team. It was great timing for me and also very important. At the end, that’s what matters. That’s life, that’s real life. To be a team there for our baby was great for me.”

And his “little princess” has a magic wand when it comes to helping him to feel better when he is down.

“The happiness, it’s crazy. The happiness, the love,” Monfils said. “I can be a little bit tired or unhappy with what I’m doing because I want to be perfect. But as soon as I see my daughter, everything vanishes. It’s a great feeling.”

WATCH: Gael Monfils and Andy Murray share touching moment at Indian Wells

The article ‘Only positive vibes’ for Gael Monfils ahead of return as he opens up about his love for his ‘little princess’ appeared first on Tennis365.com.