Gael Monfils was disqualified from the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) in Oslo and was replaced by Lucas Pouille after “a code of conduct violation” stemming from his behavior towards the tournament supervisor on Friday.

“Yesterday a playful exchange in the locker room between Gael Monfils and the tournament supervisor Stephane Apostolou resulted in a minor injury to the supervisor,” UTS revealed in a statement on Saturday.

Monfils—or “La Monf” as he is known at the exhibition series famous for quirky nicknames and funky rule changes—is a popular UTS character, thanks to his highlight-reel worthy hot shots and signature showmanship.

He began his 2024 UTS campaign with a 15-12, 17-8, 16-9 defeat against Alex de Minaur (“The Demon”), and was scheduled to take the court again to face “The Rebel” Benoit Paire when the announcement of his disqualification left fans confused. Pouille “The French Flair” took the court against Paire instead, with Paire scoring a sudden-death victory 20-13, 15-18, 17-19, 23-15, 2-1 in the final match of the night.


A day later, organizers released a statement to clarify the sequence of events. And while it didn’t reveal exactly what happened between supervisor Apostolou and Monfils, the statement made it clear that there was “no malice” in Monfils' actions and they extended an invitation for the Frenchman to return to future UTS events.

“UTS is 100 percent satisfied that there was no malice intended from Gael but because there was an injury sustained by an official, however minor, we felt there was no alternative but to disqualify Gael,” the statement read.

“Gael accepted the disqualification and he and the supervisor parted on friendly terms. See you next time Gael.”


It’s not the first time that the popular exhibition series has seen its share of questionable behavior from players. Last year, at the Grand Final in London, Andrey Rublev (“Rublo”) got into a heated on-court argument with the chair umpire after a mixup with his bonus points card—which resulted in the Russian climbing up the chair to make his point even more forcefully.

UTS technically doesn’t enforce a code of conduct—that was one of the main selling points for the event that aims to make tennis more appealing to casual fans—so that incident didn’t get Rublev disqualified. But it received enough negative attention to prompt another UTS rule change: Teams now have a button to push to activate their bonus cards, rather than having to get the umpire’s attention.

Founded in 2020, UTS has evolved from a series of one-off tennis exhibitions organized by Patrick Mouratoglou in response to the COVID-19 pandemic into a multi-tournament league featuring the world’s top players and mouth-watering prize money figures: Each match features a $111,000 purse split 70-30 between the winner and loser, with Jack Draper taking home more than $540,000 for winning in London last year—nearly equalling his entire ATP 2023 prize money earnings ($737,907) in a single payday.