ATP Players

Richard Gasquet

FR France

#9

Single Ranking
Date: 
Wednesday, June 18, 1986
Birthplace: 
Beziers, France
Residence: 
Neuchatel, Switzerland
Height: 
6'1'' (185 cm)
Weight: 
165 lbs (75 kg)
Plays: 
Right-handed
Turned pro: 
2002

18 June 1986 is a French tennis player. He has reached a career high of No. 7 in the world on July 9, 2007 after making it to the semi-finals of Wimbledon 2007. He currently uses the Head Liquidmetal Instinct Tour XL painted as the Head MicroGel Extreme Pro racquet. He strings with Luxilon Big Banger Original in the high 40's to low 50's tension range depending on the conditions.

Career

Early years

Gasquet was born in Béziers in the (Languedoc-Roussillon) region. He began playing tennis at the age of 4 under the guidance of his father, Francis, who ran a tennis club. He appeared on the cover of French Tennis Magazine aged only 9, and was touted as an extremely promising prospect even at such an early age. He was coached by his father during his junior career, and by Tarik Benhabiles for a short period. Since 2004, he has been coached by ex-professional tennis player Eric Deblicker.

He made his debut on the ATP tour in April, 2002, at the Tennis Masters Series tournament at Monte Carlo where he received a wild card into qualifying and became the youngest player ever to qualify for a Tennis Masters event. At the age of 15 years, 10 months, he defeated Argentina's Franco Squillari in the first round of that tournament to become the youngest player to win a tour-level main draw match since Tommy Ho at Rye Brook in 1988.

Gasquet made his Grand Slam tournament debut at the 2002 French Open at the age of 15 years, 11 months, nine days. He was the second-youngest player ever to compete in the main draw there. Despite his lack of experience, he managed to take a set off the eventual champion Albert Costa in the first round. Gasquet finished 2002 as the no. 1 junior in the world and was named World Junior Champion, having won the junior titles at the French Open and the US Open. He was also the youngest player to finish in year-end ATP top 200.

Gasquet finished 2003 as the youngest player to finish a year inside the ATP top 100. In 2004, he reached his first ATP tournament final at Metz, but lost to fellow countryman Jérôme Haehnel 7-6, 6-4. He also won the mixed doubles trophy at the French Open that year, partnering Tatiana Golovin.

2005

Gasquet missed the first seven weeks of the 2005 season due to chickenpox. Upon his recovery he won back to back challenger titles in March. In April, riding the momentum of a 10 match winning streak, Gasquet reached the semifinals of the Masters Series tournament at Monte Carlo, handing world number one Roger Federer a shock 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 defeat in the quarterfinal. He saved 3 match points before closing it out in a 12-10 tiebreak. As a result, he became the youngest French player ever to defeat a world number one. However, the eventual champion Rafael Nadal got the better of him in the semi beating Gasquet 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Fresh off of his huge win over Federer and having just demolished Paradorn Srichaphan in straight sets, the rising teen lost against Andre Agassi 6-2, 6-3 at Rome's Masters tennis tournament, possibly due to being overawed at playing one of his childhood heroes. A month later, he reached the final of the Hamburg Masters, where, this time, he was defeated by Roger Federer in 3 straight sets.

In May, he won his first ever Grand Slam singles match at Roland Garros. On June 18, his 19th birthday, he won his first ATP title, defeating Max Mirnyi in the final of the grass court tournament at Nottingham, England. He then made his Davis Cup debut against Russia in July where he won his first rubber against Igor Andreev but lost his second against Nikolay Davydenko.

Gasquet had to miss the last 2 months of the season because of an elbow injury. He finished the year as French number 1 for the first time.

2006

In 2006, Gasquet had a slow start after a first round defeat to Tommy Haas at the Australian Open. He later avenged this defeat in the Davis Cup 1st round tie against Germany where he beat Haas in 5 sets. However he lost both his singles rubbers in the quarter-final tie versus Russia, and suffered an abdominal injury in that tie which left him out of action for a month. Having struggled to find any form after his comeback during the clay season, Gasquet went out in the 2nd round of the French Open to David Nalbandian, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 6-0.

Following on from a disappointing opening half to his season, in the space of 3 weeks he successfully defended his title at Nottingham, lost in a first round meeting with Roger Federer at Wimbledon, and won his 2nd title of the year, on clay, in Gstaad. Gasquet's form continued to improve heading towards the US Open, as he reached the final of the Masters Seriers event in Toronto, again being halted by Federer, in 3 sets 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. He reached the fourth round of the US Open for the 2nd year in a row where he lost to Lleyton Hewitt in 5 sets.

In October he won his 3rd title of the year, this time on indoor carpet, in Lyon, completing his achievement of reaching finals on all four surfaces during the year. His season ended when he withdrew in the third round of the Paris Masters due to illness. He ended the year as French number 1 for the second straight year.

2007

Gasquet's 2007 started with a quarter-final in Adelaide, followed by a semi-final in Sydney. He went on to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open, losing to Tommy Robredo in 4 sets. At the Monte Carlo Masters Series tournament, he notched up his first win over a top 10 opponent of the year, winning his 3rd round match over Ivan Ljubicic, ranked 8 at the time. However he then lost his quarter-final to twice former Monte Carlo champion Juan Carlos Ferrero. Gasquet reached his first final of the season two weeks later, at Estoril, but the up and coming Serbian player Novak Djokovic got the better of him in 3 sets. Despite losing in round 2 of the French Open to Kristof Vliegen, he rose two spots to a career high #11.

Gasquet then made his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon. He beat fellow frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on his way to a quarter-final showdown with Andy Roddick. In a tremendous contest, Gasquet recovered from a sluggish start and a deficit of two sets and a break in the third, to upset the two-time finalist by a scoreline of 4-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 8-6. Gasquet managed to score an amazing 93 winners, most of which were with his almost 'trademark' backhand down the line. He lost in the semi-finals to Roger Federer (who beat him in the first round of the same event the previous year), 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. He made his top 10 debut, at #7, as a result. The following week in Gstaad, as defending champion, he defeated Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo and avenged his Roland Garros loss to Kristof Vliegen, but lost in the quarters to Igor Andreev 7-5 6-2. He bowed out at the 2007 U.S Open because of a virus. Gasquet returned to action in Mumbai, India winning his 5th career ATP title beating Olivier Rochus in the final. He followed this up by reaching the final of the Tokyo ATP tournament, losing to David Ferrer in straight sets.

He then took a few weeks break and then went to play in 2007 Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon where he was defending champion. He lost to fellow frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (who he beat at Wimbledon) in the 3rd round in straight sets.

At the 2007 Paris Masters, Gasquet defeated Tsonga after his loss at Lyon in the second round and sixth seed James Blake in the third round 6–4, 6–4. He beat Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, 6–3, 0–6, 6–4 to reach the semifinals, where he was stopped by David Nalbandian in straight sets. With his performance in Paris, Gasquet qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup, clinching 8th place.

At the Tennis Masters Cup, Gasquet was defeated by Rafael Nadal 3–6, 6–3, 6–4, in his first round-robin match. He then defeated Novak Ðokovi? 6–4, 6–2, but lost to David Ferrer, 6–1, 6–1. Gasquet failed to qualify for the semifinals, finishing in third place in his group.

2008

Gasquet started out the year as the top seed of the Sydney Medibank International but made an early second round exist to eventual champion Dmitry Tursunov, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Gasquet played with compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the doubles final of the Sydney Medibank International, scoring a major upset over world number one duo Bob and Mike Bryan (4–6, 6–4, 11-9). The French combination came back from two match points down to win the championship and deny the Bryan brothers ever winning the tournament.

Gasquet's first round match in the Australian Open was against Australian Nick Lindahl. He won 6–0 6–1 3–6 6–2. Gasquet's second round match in the Australian Open was against Spaniard Feliciano López. He got through to the fourth round after defeating 31st seed Igor Andreev in four sets (6–3,6–2, 4–6,6–4). In the round of 16 at the Australian Open, Gasquet lost in 4 sets to eventual finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6–4, 6–7, 7–6, 6–3).

At his next two tournaments, the Open 13 at Marseille, France, and the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Gasquet suffered second round defeats to Robin Söderling (Sweden) 6-4, 3-6, 2-6; and Igor Andreev (Russia) 3-6, 4-6. At the ATP Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells, California, Gasquet avenged his loss to Robin Söderling in the first round 6-3, 6-2. However, in the fourth round, he lost in straight sets to James Blake (U.S.A.) 4-6, 2-6.

At the ATP Masters Series tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida, he lost his opening round match to Dmitry Tursunov (Russia) 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-7(5). And at the U.S.A. v. France World Group Quarterfinal Davis Cup match, Gasquet lost in three sets to American James Blake 7-6(4), 4-6, 4-6 in his opening round match. Then in a controversial move, he later told French Davis Cup Captain, Guy Forget that he was opting out of his key match against Andy Roddick (U.S.A.) in their reverse singles matchup.

After winning his first round match at the Monte Carlo Masters tournament, Gasquet's poor form continued as he lost his second round match to Sam Querrey (U.S.A.) 6-2, 4-6, 3-6; and then both of his opening round matches at the ATP Masters Series events in Rome and Hamburg to Luis Horna (Peru) 4-6, 1-6; and to Andreas Seppi (Italy) 3-6, 2-6; respectively.

With a string of disappointing results behind him, Gasquet admitted to feeling burned out, in dire need of a concerted rest from tennis and admitted a reluctance to play the French Open, the year's second Grand Slam. However he changed coaches immediately ahead of the French Open, and then later decided to pull out of his first round match against Florent Serra, (France) citing a left knee injury problem.

Gasquet, later announced his decision to not take part in the upcoming Summer Olympic games in Beijing, preferring instead to prepare for the US Open which begins at the end of the summer hardcourt season in August. He joins fellow world top 10 player Andy Roddick, American Mardy Fish and former top 10 player Tommy Haas of Germany, a silver medalist in 2000 at the Sydney Olympic Games, who have all opted out of this year's Olympic games.

At the new tennis rankings posted on June 9, 2008, Gasquet fell one place from world number 9 to world number 10 in the world.

Gasquet began the grass court season at the The Artois Championships at Queen's Club, London where he defeated Mario An?i? of Croatia 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the second round, and Italian Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-3 in the third round. However in his quarterfinal match he fell to David Nalbandian of Argentina 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (3). This was Gasquet's first Quarterfinal appearance in a tournament this year.

At the Ordina Open in Den Bosch, Netherlands Gasquet was the second seed and defeated Olivier Rochus of Belgium 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the first round but then lost his second round match to Frenchman Marc Gicquel 7-5, 7-6 (6).

At the Wimbledon Championships, Gasquet was the eight seed and defeated American Mardy Fish in the first round 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. In his next two matches he defeated a pair of his French compatriots, beating Sébastien Grosjean 6-2, 6-2 ret. in the second round; and Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3 in the third round. He went out to Britain's Andy Murray in the fourth round 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, 6-4; despite being two sets up and serving for the match at 5-4 in the third.

At the new tennis rankings posted on Monday, July 07, 2008, Gasquet fell five places from world number 10 to world number 15, making it the first time in nine months since his ranking fell outside the top 10, and the lowest he has been ranked since April '07.

At the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, Gasquet was the second seed and reached his first ATP tour semifinal and final of the year when he defeated Czech qualifier Lukas Rosol 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-2 in the first round; and then defeated Spaniard Albert Montañés 6-3, 7-6(5) in the quarterfinals. Gasquet beat sixth-seeded Argentine Agustín Calleri in the semifinals 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3; to reach his first final of the year. Favourite to win the tournament, Gasquet suffered a surprise defeat in the finals to Argentine teenager Juan Martín del Potro in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.

As of 14 July 2008, Gasquet improved his ranking to four places at world number 11. His ranking dropped to world number 12 one week later.

Gasquet overcame compatriot and friend Michaël Llodra in the first round of the Canada Masters, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. He defeated Russian qualifier Alexandre Kudryavtsev in straight sets, 7-5 6-3. He advanced to the quarter finals after defeating 5th seeded David Ferrer, 6-3 6-3. He then lost to Rafael Nadal in three sets, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1. Gasquet also played doubles with training partner Nicolas Mahut against Andy Murray and Jamie Murray, losing 7-6, 6-2.

Gasquet began with a first round win over Frenchman Michaël Llodra in Cincinnati Masters, after Llodra retired, 3-6, 6-1, 1-0. He then lost in the second round to Dmitry Tursunov in straight sets, 7-6(8), 6-0.

Gasquet made an early first round exit from US Open, losing against Tommy Haas 6-7 6-4 5-7 7-5 6-2.

Playing style

Gasquet is noted for his powerful and precise one-handed backhand, for his flair and shot-making ability and is also known for his speed around the court. Gasquet's one-handed backhand features a high take back, utilising gravity, coils up (very low to the ground), and slowly unwinds, and unleashes one of the most beautiful and lethal shots seen these days in tennis.

Gasquet has earned much praise for his "natural talent." One of the accolades he has received is recognition of his ability to play all-round complete tennis. During a Davis cup match against Marat Safin British TV presenter Barry Cowan described him as "naturally more talented than Federer." Many, including Peter Fleming, have sung similar praises upon the Frenchman.

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