Tennis is the ultimate game of rhythm and confidence. Depending on the athlete, both can be rattled easily.
We may never know how much of a collective impact Gael Monfils felt after a giant tennis ball was thrown onto the court in the final set (down 5-4) against Mikhail Kukushkin at the 2012 Australian Open.
Seeing how late it was in the match I honestly believe that this had plenty to do with the outcome. Monfils almost retired in the first set with a back injury which could have drawn a possible thought of “maybe this isn’t my day.”
After fighting through pain and agony, what was he thinking down 5-4 when a giant ball came from the crowd?
Sure, maybe Monfils allowed the fan to get into his head slightly more than expected, but that’s exactly what happens in tennis. One thing seems to be off and there goes your entire game.
If Monfils goes on to take the match then this can easily be laughed about. But, seeing how he lost the match, the ball incident may have played a humongous role in the outcome which is exactly why the fan should be barred from the Australian Open for life.
We see fans do stupid things all the time. They run onto the field in pressure-packed situations and throw stuff onto the field or court constantly. We don’t really know if this impacts the outcome of the game or match, but there is a chance that this incident had more affect than you would think.