By Steve Gorten
KEY BISCAYNE – Injuries have hampered Gael Monfils throughout his career, and his latest setback Tuesday at the 2015 Miami Open forced him to retire from his fourth-round match against Tomas Berdych.
Monfils tripped and fell trying to chase down a wide-angle shot to his forehand in the second set. After receiving medical attention for several minutes from a trainer on the court, he continued for another game before shutting it down at 3-6, 2-3.
Berdych, the No. 8 seed, advances to play the winner of Juan Monaco-Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals.
Monfils said afterward he had a bruised right hip. He said he would need to undergo further tests to determine the extent of his injury, but was optimistic he would practice again in two days and play next week in Houston.
“My ankle just locked and then I fell very heavy on my hips,” Monfils said, explaining his fall. “After, I felt like I could put less pressure on my right leg. It was very painful. When you’re 100 percent, it’s always tough to run against Tomas. So when you’re hurt, it’s quite impossible.”
As Monfils lay on the court in pain following his fall, Berdych walked over, picked up his racquet for him, and helped him up with his hand.
“It was very nice,” Monfils said. “I know he’s a gentleman. We’re friends, so I was very happy about that.”
Monfils said the on-court trainer released some of his pain, and he felt he would be fine in a few minutes. When he found it tough to push off on his right leg, though, “then I said, ‘I won’t hurt myself more and I’ll be safe.’”
The 17th-seeded Monfils, who upset fellow Frenchman and 11th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to advance to Tuesday’s match, started this tournament by returning from a three-week injury lay-off with a three-set win against Filip Krajinovic.
Tuesday marked the 15th time that he has retired during a match. Ranked 19th in the world, Monfils has retired from at least one tournament every year since 2005 with the exception of 2012.
“It happens. I’m unlucky sometimes as today,” Monfils said. “It’s fine for me. I know I need to work hard every time. It happens in life. Hopefully, one day it will be better.”
Asked if he worried his hip injury Tuesday might be a long-term injury, he added, “Hopefully not. I’m trying to stay positive. Hopefully, it’s just a big bruise on my hip.”