Former world No. 6 Monfils has had a good start at the ATP 500 event in Washington. He won his first match against Bjorn Fratangelo in straight sets, and went on to defeat sixth seed Bublik in the second round 6-3, 6-4.
The Frenchman came back this season from a foot injury sustained in October 2022. His wins at the Citi Open are hopefully an indication that his form is improving, as his second-round victory against Bublik marks only his fourth win this season.
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Receives lack of effort warning whilst in the lead
Ironically, however, Monfils received a lack of effort warning while leading by a set and a break against the Kazakhstani player.
In the second set, Bublik had a 0-40 lead in his service game and was serving to make the match 5-4. Monfils had clearly decided it wasn't worth wasting energy on clawing back the game when he would stay in the lead regardless, but he didn't wait for Bublik to win the final point before walking back to his bench.
This unconventional move prompted the umpire to issue Monfils with a rare lack of effort warning. The 36-year-old went on to have a long talk with the umpire, but the decision stood. Meanwhile, Bublik saw the funny side of the bizarre situation, bursting out with laughter as the warning was given.
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Mixed reactions to the incident
In the video shared on Reddit, the commentators agreed with the umpire's decision, calling it a 'fair call'.
"I mean yes you're thinking about the next game to serve it out, but you can't really do that," they added.
In terms of Monfils' discussion with the umpire, they said that they weren't sure what his argument against the warning would be. They also found Bublik's reaction to be amusing, saying
"Sasha's like your naughty school friend who's got the giggles in the background!"
However, opinions on the situation were varied across social media, with many also calling the decision correct, while others didn't understand how Monfils could be accused of a lack of effort when he was leading the match by a set and a break,
"The umpire gave Monfils a warning for lack of effort. Given the situation not sure why. The context here is that he was up 5-3, down 40-0 on the Bublik serve and just let Bublik win the game so he could serve it out," Tennis Updates posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Meanwhile, one Reddit user responded to the video with
"I mean he deserved it. It makes sense to not try so hard at that point but rules are rules."