herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Gasquet ripe to give Murray French exam

Richard Gasquet will have the crowd on his side at Roland Garros this afternoon, and if he has the belief to match then Andy Murray is in for a real fight at the French Open.

The pair have known each other since their junior days when they were part of the same generation as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, but it was Gasquet who was marked out as the big star.

It is not hard to see why. The 25-year-old's flourish of a one-handed backhand is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing shot in tennis, and his forehand is pretty good too.

Yet Gasquet has gone beyond the fourth round of a grand slam only once, reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2007, and has so far failed to develop the mental strength to go with his talent.

"When I was nine, when I was 16, they said I'm a genius," said the 17th seed ahead of the fourth-round match on Court Philippe Chatrier. "I'm used to that.

"But I need to give everything I have. I need to do my best. That's the most important thing. You want to give your best, and the crowd is supporting you from the beginning until the end."

Nadal celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, and the six-time champion was almost given a perfect present as his main rivals Djokovic and Roger Federer struggled.

Top seed Djokovic was in serious trouble at two sets to love down against Andreas Seppi before fighting back to win 4-6 6-7 (5/7) 6-3 7-5 6-3.

Federer was up against 21-year-old lucky loser David Goffin, and for almost two sets the unthinkable seemed possible before Federer turned things around to win 5-7 7-5 6-2 6-4.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News