Gael Monfils had an embarrassment of riches—five match points, mind you—against Kei Nishikori on Thursday, and then he buried them.

He may go down as one of those tennis stars who doesn’t quite live up to his promise or his wonderment. He may never win a major or a Masters 1000 title. Or he may surprise us yet. The future is on his racquet.

That said, Monfils delighted Key Biscayne crowds in storming to the Miami Open quarterfinals this week, ultimately falling in a classic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) bout. It’s being billed as an early contender for Match of the Year on the ATP tour. This point is one reason why:


Whether between the lines or outside the bounds of sanctioned play, Monfils has a host of weighty and/or tricky shots—or just tricks, full stop. Take his latest ball-bouncing antics, captured here: