Monfils ready for Wimbledon
Halle - Having already charmed the crowds in Halle, Frenchman Gael Monfils could well be a hit at the most English of institutions when Wimbledon starts in just over a week.
Cries of 'Allez, Monfils!' were heard all of last week at Halle's ATP tournament as the all-action 24-year-old won the hearts of the crowds in west Germany and the Frenchman surprised himself by reaching the semi-finals.
Ranked eighth in the world, Monfils admits he traditionally struggles on grass, but he looked comfortable on turf all week before eventually bowing out to eventual winner Philipp Kohlschreiber in Saturday's semi-final.
Despite playing more than ten ATP tournaments on grass, Monfils says he normally finds it difficult to switch from clay, but his run to Halle's semi-finals has given him a much-needed confidence boost ahead of Wimbledon.
Monfils lost to former world number one Lleyton Hewitt in the third round at the All England Club and is looking to get past the round of 32 this year at the fifth time of trying, so he has just one ambition at Wimbledon.
"Only to be better than last year - I just want to be ready for it and give myself the chance to come as far as possible," he said.
With a muscular physique similar to Rafael Nadal, the right-handed Parisian impressed the tennis-mad crowds at Halle and he could well be a hit with the British public in Wimbledon.
His best performance at a Grand Slam was to reach the semi-finals at the French Open in 2008, but he says his grass game has now gone up a level thanks to his four games at Halle.
"I really found out here that my movement is the key to my game on grass", he said.
"I need to be more aggressive and keep on working on my movement.
"That is the thing to work on and in so doing so, to play with much more aggression."
Monfils will fine-tune his Wimbledon preparations at a grass-court exhibition tournament at Stoke Park, Slough, on the outskirts of London which starts on Tuesday.
He will be in the company of other Wimbledon hopefuls such as David Ferrer, Viktor Troicki, David Nalbandian, Sam Querrey, Juan Martin del Potro, compatriot Gilles Simon and Fernando Verdasco.
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