Paris: French showman Gael Monfils is looking to pump up the volume when he goes head to head with Swiss superstar Roger Federer in the Davis Cup final on Friday.
The match is being played inside the Stade Pierre Mauroy — home to Lille football club — in the suburbs of the northern city.
The state-of-the art stadium, completed in August, 2012 for a cost of 282million euros, has been specially prepared over the last two weeks with a red claycourt surface laid down in one half of the field which has been partitioned off and roofed over.
The capacity was set at 27,000 and all tickets were rapidly sold out such is the fever pitch in France over the Davis Cup final, one of the most popular sporting events for the French.
“I just expect a crazy atmosphere, crazy. That will be great,” said Monfils, who is used to whipping up the emotions with his unconventional play and extravagant celebrations.
Most recently in September he thrilled the fans in Flushing Meadows by taking Federer all the way in the quarter-finals of the US Open where he had two match points before losing.
Tsonga, who will open proceedings Friday against Stan Wawrinka, agreed that the atmosphere could be red-hot as he and his French teammates look to win the Davis Cup for their country for the first time since 2001.
But he called on home supporters to stay within the bounds of decency.
“We expect the values of sport to be met,” he said.
“We are trying to promote certain values through our profession — respecting the opponents, respecting ourselves.
“I think what has to be respected is to give our best, whether we are players or whether we are spectators.
“We are in France, so I hope the French crowd of course will push and support and help us to get this very beautiful trophy.”
For Tsonga, Friday`s tie will be his first in a Davis Cup final although Monfils has past experience.
He defeated Janko Tipsarevic and lost to Novak Djokovic when the French lost 3-2 to Serbia in Belgrade in 2010, the last time they reached the final.
It was a formative experience he said and one which left a deep impression on him.
“Honestly, there`s a lot of pressure, and I feel that pressure myself because we really want to do well,” he said.
“It is an unusual situation. For me, it`s my second chance to get a point for my country in a final. So, yes, I am very scared.”