Gael Monfils escaped serious injury after the Frenchman collided with a courtside clock during his first-round match at the US Open.
Monfils thankfully narrowly avoided having the clock land on his ankle during his 6-4. 6-2, 7-6 (5) victory over Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller.
Known for his remarkable athletic ability, Monfils attempted to chase down a high ball behind the baseline during the first game of the second set.
‘I was surprised because it hurt me a little bit. [It] could be pretty bad. Could have fallen on my ankle or calf and could be more than that.’
Monfils has been the subject of some of the best photos in tennis over the last decade, his shot-making and diving helping forge a number of memorable images.
The 29-year-old said: ‘To be honest, I always say that it is very natural. [I am] just an instinct player and I do what I feel to do at that time.
‘I think I played a lot of sport when I was young and still play other sport now. Maybe I have different coordination from others, so that’s why sometimes it looks a little bit different.
‘Actually when I jump or when I dive or whatever, for me it’s natural. Right after if someone shows me, I say: “S***, it was good”.’
His victory on Monday gives him confidence, though, that he can have a good run here at Flushing Meadows after recovering from a recent back injury.
Monfils said: ‘I feel good. I think I had a strong first round and obviously I know I was a little bit worried, [in] my back a little bit. ‘Today I just play tough and cruised. I’m satisfied. I just feel good and hopefully going to keep going.’
Monfils’ talent has never been in doubt from an early age – he won three of the four junior majors in 2004 – but he has never quite fulfilled his promise, reaching just one Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros in 2008.