Günter Bresnik, former mentor of Dominic Thiem, is now working with Gaël Monfils, currently ranked 11th in the world at the dawn of the 2021 season. The Austrian coach spoke with our colleagues at Le Heute about his goals and expectations with the 34-year-old Frenchman who will face, by chance of the calendar, Dominic Thiem next week at the ATP Cup. This new collaboration is very interesting. First of all, it sends a strong message about the Frenchman's ambitions, after a completely missed half season (no match won) and a lot of attention on his new activity of streaming on Twitch. But this decision also raises a lot of questions, given the physically demanding training methods of Dominic Thiem's former coach. At first glance, one can't help but think that this collaboration comes a bit late... "Monfils is the best athlete on the circuit," says Bresnik... but an athlete who has been through a series of physical setbacks. Isn't he in danger of pulling the rope, at an age when body management is so important to avoid injury? Unless the Austrian simply puts water in his wine... "I certainly won't do what I did before, but he knows that," Bresnik says, while also questioning the player about his ability to adhere to his methods. "There are many question marks as to whether he will be suitable for our project (...) Will he give our collaboration a chance? ». Bresnik also emphasizes an important point in his view of his profession: "A good coach gives the player what he needs, not what he wants." For the durability of this relationship, Monfils will have to manage his off-court hours perfectly, as he is currently watching videos on Twitch in the middle of the night, just a few days before the ATP Cup where he is engaged... In any case, the years go by, but the discourse remains the same. "He is capable of winning a Grand Slam," Judge Bresnik said. This melody is recurrent and one wonders if it doesn't serve the Frenchman well. The latter has complained a lot about the criticism of journalists towards him, believing that his career as a player and his good results are generally not valued enough, which is admissible (after his career, the Frenchman will figure prominently in the history of French tennis). But the concern is that the player has lit the fuse himself, through his statements at press conferences and his ambitions proclaimed in Grand Slam for the past few years, which he has never been able to fully confirm. It is therefore totally logical that it generates a certain expectation... and a form of frustration. One wonders whether this collaboration is not in fact a bit like that. A beautiful declaration of intent... with the significant risk that it will not bear fruit at the dawn of the 17th season of the Frenchman on the circuit.

"Gaël sees things before others".

The challenge is in any case a big one for Dominic Thiem's former mentor. "He's not a David Ferrer. He feels good when he is creative. You don't have to restrict these players unconditionally, otherwise you'll do a lot of damage. " The duo laid the foundation for this collaboration in Tenerife and Dubai during the off-season. "We wanted to try to work together in a concrete way before we started. From a human point of view, she is a very nice person. You will never get bored with him. " However, Bresnik did not travel to Australia, where his player will play in the ATP Cup and the Australian Open: "I'm not in my 40s but we talk a lot on the phone. Gaël is privileged, fast in his head. If you watch him play video games, you are amazed. He sees things before others - like Nick Kyrgios. He has fewer problems with the tempo of his opponent's moves. Strangers often see him as a puppet. He doesn't see himself as an artist. If he was a clown, he wouldn't have been 6th in the world. He is a worker, very strictly educated by his father, who was a professional footballer in France". Bresnik also made a point of emphasizing his behavior on the field. "It is not true that Monfils fakes injuries or fatigue. It's true that he bends his ankles, but that's his ritual. Others pull their underwear off their buttocks."

"He can beat Dominic even though the difference in level is big right now."

Next Thursday, the Frenchman will face the world's number three at the ATP Cup. Whether on hard or soft ground, Monfils has never beaten Thiem (6 defeats in 6 games). "It's not me who will play against Thiem. Soberly, I think Gaël can win, he can do it even if his level of play is lower than Dominic's," concluded Bresnik. The latter is currently in legal proceedings against the Thiem clan to whom he is asking about 466,000 euros for signed contracts that would not have been respected.


The eye of our consultant Rodolphe Gilbert:

It's a new challenge for Gaël with a renowned coach. Bresnik has a bottle of wine with a rather harsh reputation in its management methods. He seems uncompromising and rigorous. Gaël will have to bend to it and go in that direction. They have spoken and Gaël knows where he is going. He will have to accept this change and keep it. Gaël has enormous potential, many weapons. Gaël's priority will be to be able to play a full season. It hasn't happened very often in his career. This may be his last collaboration with a coach. If the mayonnaise takes, it will be interesting to see where it will lead Gaël. Before thinking about winning a Grand Slam, it would be nice to make it to the final or win a Masters 1000. Gaël has no time to lose. He's 34 years old, he needs results right away. The ball is in Gaël's court, Bresnik has already proven himself with Thiem in particular. With Gaël, everything is possible, he can make a great season, it would be already good. His match against Djokovic in Dubai one year ago proves that he can reach the very high level. Gaël is someone out of the ordinary. He doesn't work like the other players. It's good to try with Bresnik and to leave for a new challenge at 34 years old and to give himself the means to progress even more and to go higher. The beginning of the story is tempting. The end of the story, we don't know it but Gaël still has some under the sole I think.


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