NEW YORK (AP) — As Gael Monfils hit ball after ball into the net during his first service game Friday at the U.S. Open – resulting in four double-faults – a thought occurred to him: “Seems pretty high, huh?”
So after getting broken to fall behind 2-0, Monfils figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out for himself.
The rules of tennis call for the net to be 3 feet (91.4 centimeters) tall in the middle, and Monfils walked up and held his hand atop the white tape. He drew a chuckle from chair umpire Gianluca Moscarella by wondering aloud whether the net was set up properly.
“I asked him, like, `Are you sure?'” Monfils said later.
And Moscarella’s response?
“He said, `You should kiss the net and it should be better after,'” Monfils recalled with a smile.
Monfils wasn’t bothered by the chair umpire’s reluctance to measure the net.
“I trust him, because I know they do it before and between the sets,” the Frenchman said.
The 20th-seeded Monfils wound up with 10 double-faults in all, but that did not prevent him from beating Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the first time since a quarterfinal run in 2010.
Next up is a match against another Frenchman, 12th-seeded Richard Gasquet.
Perhaps Monfils should bring a tape measure.
– By Howard Fendrich, http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
U.S. Open Scene follows tennis’ hard-court Grand Slam tournament in New York as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It will be updated throughout the day.