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Monfils says hand fine after video game nasty

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Melbourne (AFP)

Gael Monfils dismissed concerns an injured hand was hampering his game on Saturday, saying he was fit and well for his fourth-round clash at the Australian Open.

Monfils bruised his racquet hand playing a computer game last month but he said the problem didn't trouble him at all.

"I'm fine. I'm in second week, playing great tennis," said the Frenchman, who beat Latvia's Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7/2), 6-3, 6-3 to reach the last 16.

"I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practised here for one month. I was really fine. I never said I was hurt."

The 10th seed told reporters last week that he hit his right hand against a headboard while playing a computer game, and had iced it and taken anti-inflammatories.

He has since played two matches at the ATP Cup and three at the Australian Open, beating Lu Yen-hsun, Ivo Karlovic and now Gulbis as he seeks his first Grand Slam win.

"I love the game. I love waking up every morning with the goal to win for the first time a Slam," said Monfils, who next plays Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem.

"I love to play big matches. I think it's that that keeps the fire in me, keep myself on alert. And also still I have a strong belief I can make it."

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