The Entertainment of Gael Monfils

I love watching sports. Well, sports highlights. I don’t have time to watch full games anymore.

Increasingly, though, the entire industry surrounding sports seems to have forgotten that sports are entertainment. I’ve written about this before, so I won’t harp on it here. The point is, no matter how much you get paid to play a game that you take very seriously, and no matter how much you care about your favorite team, it’s all just entertainment.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I make board games for a living–I’m in the business of entertaining too.

Lately I’ve found myself captivated by an athlete who seems to embrace the idea that sports are supposed to be fun. Sometimes even silly fun.

His name is Gael Monfils, and he’s a French tennis player currently competing in the US Open. His arsenal includes a variety of trick shots, including jump shots, tweeners (through the legs), and diving saves. Today, in the middle of a volley, he stopped to tie his shoe.

As far as I can tell, Monfils is having an incredible amount of fun. He’s winning–he’s ranked 12th in the world–and he’s entertaining the crowd not just with his skills, but also his dance moves. I really don’t think I’ve seen an elite athlete embrace the idea of fun as Monfils in a long time, maybe ever.

Who is an athlete that thoroughly delights you as an entertainer? If you’re curious about Monfils, here are a few videos to enjoy: