Gasquet banks on new style of play at French
Richard Gasquet hopes tactical tweaks, improved fitness and a
lucky red shirt will help him go deep at the French Open this
Fresh from a win over Roger Federer at the Rome Masters last
week, Gasquet will start his campaign at his home Grand Slam
tournament against Radek Stepanek, an opponent he hasn’t beaten in
The 13th-seeded Gasquet said Friday he is ready to play more
attacking tennis on the Roland Garros red clay where he has never
advanced past the third round.
Working with new coach Riccardo Piatti, the Frenchman said an
attacking mindset has helped produce wins against Federer, Albert
Montanes, Igor Andreev and Thomas Berdych.
”Sometimes I play less well, so I play behind the baseline,”
Gasquet said. ”It’s not really my best type of tennis, but
sometimes I don’t feel my shots are good enough. It’s not the best
solution, so I try to move forward to the net so that I can have
In a bid to relaunch his career, Gasquet also hired former
French player Sebastien Grosjean, whose attacking style helped him
reach the semifinals at three different Grand Slams.
”With Sebastien as well I feel good,” Gasquet said. ”And I
play better, I think. Now time is flying by and I’ve gained
experience. I’ll try and continue on the same tracks. In the
future, this is the type of style I need to have. To move forward
is what I need to do, to move into the court.”
Regarded as a potential No. 1 when he turned professional nine
years ago, Gasquet has struggled to live up to expectations. His
career hit a low in 2009 when he missed the French Open while
sitting out 2 1/2-months for a positive test for cocaine.
He successfully appealed, saying the drug inadvertently entered
his system when he kissed a woman at a nightclub.
But the 24-year-old Gasquet seems to be on his way back. He
reached 14th this week for his best ATP ranking since October 2008.
In Rome, only top-ranked Rafael Nadal was able to stop him in the
Gasquet is adamant he has the weapons to compete with players
from the Top 10 but acknowledges he need to find better consistency
to close the gap with the best.
”You have to do the same all the time for all the matches,”
Gasquet said. ”This is what they manage to do. This is what I will
try and manage to do.”
Last year in Paris, Gasquet lost in the first round after
running out of steam and squandering a two-set lead over Andy
”I think this year I would have beaten him,” Gasquet said. ”I
play better, that’s true. Last year I was tired. This time it’s OK.
I played well in Rome, I could rest for a week and practice as
Known for being superstitious, Gasquet said he may well wear the
red shirt he donned when he beat Federer in Italy.
”I try not to think about these things, the lucky charms,”
Gasquet said. ”I played with it for a while, that’s true. Maybe I
will continue. Why not?”