Distraught Monfils says trapped in "nightmare" after early exit

Ian Ransom
·1 min read
Australian Open

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An emotional Gael Monfils exited the Australian Open in anguish on Monday after a shock five-set loss to Finnish tyro Emil Ruusuvuori and said he felt trapped in a "nightmare" as he battles through a form slump.

Tenth seed Monfils, who last tasted victory in Dubai nearly a year ago, crashed to his seventh successive loss and only his second first-round defeat at Melbourne Park.

"I lost, I have zero confidence, I played badly," Monfils told reporters, his voice breaking as he held back tears after the 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 loss.

"I cannot serve, I make mistakes ... I do not feel right and it shows.

"I know that I have lost a lot and it hurts me. I would like to wake up and tell myself that this nightmare is over, but I don't know when it will stop.

"I have no confidence, I have no confidence."

Monfils, a former quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park, converted only six out of 23 break points against 21-year-old Ruusuvuori, the world number 86 who was in his main draw at the tournament.

The 34-year-old Monfils' last first-round exit in Melbourne came in 2006.

Ruusuvuori was Monfils' practice partner during their mandatory two-week quarantine after arriving in the country.

"I think he was just playing his game ... It was way enough to beat me today," said Monfils.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; editing by Richard Pullin)