World number eight Gael Monfils has qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time after a career best year. Although suffering a first round loss last week at the Stockholm Open, Monfils' efforts from earlier in the year have been enough to secure his place at London's O2 Arena. T
he Frenchman takes the sixth spot in the eight-man lineup for the prestigious year-end championships, behind Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori. He is, so far, the only player in the lineup who will be competing at the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time.
Monfils catapulted himself into contention this year with some great form early on in the season. The world number four will have a tough task ahead of him as he has a losing head to head records against four of the five players that have already qualified, but Monfils' showmanship and fun style of play will be guaranteed to entertain the crowds no matter the outcome of his matches. The Frenchman has delivered some great performances on the biggest stages in the sport in the past so the O2 Arena should be no different.
Career best year
After a career filled with many great moments but a lack of consistency, Monfils found his focus this year to reach new heights. The Frenchman started the year with a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open and reaching the final at the Rotterdam Open.
Two Masters 1000 quarterfinal showings followed at the Miami Open and the BNP Paribas Open. A third Masters 1000 final appearance for the Frenchman at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, where he lost out to Rafael Nadal in three sets, set the bar high for the rest of the year. A viral infection halted Monfils' progress from the last part of the clay season until Wimbledon, where he suffered some early losses and had to withdraw from his home slam Roland Garros.
He bounced back from the setback by claiming the biggest title of his career at the Citi Open. He saved a championship point against Ivo Karlovic to win his first title in over two years and his first ATP 500 Series title. Monfils made a great run to the US Open semifinals without dropping a set but eventually lost out to world number one Novak Djokovic. Although now sitting at number eight in the world, earlier this month Monfils reclaimed his career high ranking of world number seven and with two of the biggest tournaments on the calendar still to come he now has a very good chance of ending the year ranked higher than he has before.