PARIS (AP) - French Davis Cup captain Yannick Noah has picked Gael Monfils to face Canada despite the player’s criticism of the decision to play the first-round tie overseas.
After his Australian Open quarterfinal loss to Canadian Milos Raonic, Monfils questioned the decision to play in the overseas region of Guadeloupe because of the logistics involved.
Noah will lead the team for the first time in the town of Baie-Mahault from March 4-6. The world group tie will be held on clay in the 8,000-seat Velodrome Amedee Detraux, which is the biggest stadium in Guadeloupe.
It will be the first time France plays a Davis Cup tie in an overseas department.
Noah, the last Frenchman to win a Grand Slam, when he won the French Open back in 1983, told a news conference Wednesday that Monfils “is conscious he made a mistake” with his comments.
“I also think he is very motivated to play this first round,” Noah said.
In Melbourne, Monfils expressed doubts about the long trip to Guadeloupe with the season in full swing adding that a majority of French players were not in favor of traveling overseas. He however said he was ready to play if Noah chose him.
“Hopefully he understands that he has not done any good to the team with his comments,” Noah said. “But from the moment we will be together, rules will be defined. I already spoke with some (of the players), but my work will start next week.”
Noah also selected Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in his team. He said some of them will arrive in Guadeloupe as soon as next Wednesday and will have more than a week to get ready for the tie.
After finishing runner-up to Martin Klizan at the Rotterdam open last weekend, Monfils withdrew from the Open 13 tournament in Marseille this week because of a hamstring problem he does not want to aggravate before the Davis Cup.
Tsonga has been playing on clay in South America in recent weeks and should not be hampered by the choice of surface. Gasquet won the Open Sud de France earlier this month while Gilles Simon has been struggling with consistency.
“We all agree that we had better results in the past,” Noah said. “But having 10 days to get ready is a real luxury. We will put things in place and I will openly speak about how I see things.”
Noah, who replaced Arnaud Clement following a disappointing 2015 campaign, is captaining the team for the third time after guiding France to Davis Cup titles in 1991 and 1996. He also led France to its maiden victory in the Fed Cup in 1997.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.