New York - Frenchman Gael Monfils admitted that he was "sad"
to hear that tennis legend John McEnroe had questioned his professionalism
during his US Open semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic.
The 30-year-old, who has now lost all 13 of his matches to
the world number one, went down 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 against Djokovic and
appeared not to try his hardest at times, prompting TV commentator McEnroe to
say: "You can't support that. Monfils is bordering on unprofessional. And
the only reason I say bordering is because it's working."
But Monfils claims his 'slowball' tactics were to confuse
Djokovic, who had raced into a 5-0 lead in the first set.
"I'm very sad to learn that such a legend criticised
me," said Monfils.
"At the end what I can say to John is, you know John, I
want to be the best. It's tough, you know. I try my best. I'm sorry if you
think I'm unprofessional but I guess I'm working, I'm learning.
"I think I'm failing a lot but I try to stand up. It's
tough because when he calls me unprofessional, he calls my coach
unprofessional, he calls my physio unprofessional, all my team unprofessional.
"I won't win a match like that but I can win maybe 15
minutes, maybe two more games, one more game.
"I can push him a little bit to defend, also [give]
myself more confidence, and put him out of his balance.
"It was a great strategy I think."