Tennis

Richard Gasquet: ‘There Is Only One Roger Federer’ | ATP Tour

Richard Gasquet has lost against Roger Federer 18 times, and in their past 10 matches he has not won a set against the all-time great. But the Frenchman is still excited to get another chance to play the eight-time champion in the second round at Wimbledon.

“I’m playing for this. When I was in the first round, I saw the draw. I knew I could play Roger in the second round,” Gasquet told ATPTour.com. “Of course it’s wonderful for me, because I will play on Centre Court. It’s Roger Federer. I’ve played him many times. I’m practising for this.”

The 35-year-old has won 15 ATP Tour titles and earned nearly $19 million in prize money. He has achieved a lot of that because of his artistic style, so it speaks volumes that the Frenchman raves about the beauty of Federer’s game.

“He’s the best player of course. His technique is amazing. Sometimes we are talking a lot about the best player in history or something like that [and wonder] who will win the most Grand Slams,” Gasquet said. “But of course there are other things. There is technique, the beauty of the game, the motion. He’s a classic player, he’s an incredible player, the best player to watch. There is only one Roger Federer.”

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Gasquet has not been at his best in recent years as he has struggled to stay healthy, most glaringly undergoing groin surgery two years ago. Once the No. 7 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, he is still battling to earn chances like this against a legend.

“[I had] some injuries the past two years, so of course I’m just trying to be healthy, to do my best. I’m still focusing on the game, I really love it. That’s why I’m still playing,” Gasquet said. “I’m trying my best and it’s crazy for me to play against… Roger Federer. It’s a big chance for me to go there and try my best to play the best match and win.”

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Although Federer has dominated their ATP Head2Head rivalry in recent years, claiming their past 22 sets, Gasquet owns two victories against the 39-year-old Swiss. Both of those wins came in final-set tie-breaks on clay,  in Monte-Carlo in 2005 and in Rome 10 years ago.

Gasquet has enjoyed success on grass before, winning three of his tour-level titles on the surface. He has reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon twice, with Federer taking him out at that stage in 2007.

One thing the World No. 56 will take into the match is a recent experience against Rafael Nadal, who like Federer is a 20-time Grand Slam champion. The Frenchman played the Spanish lefty in the second round at Roland Garros and fell in straight sets. This time, he will try to flip the script on the London lawns.

“I’m still playing on big stages, I did at Roland Garros. I can do it again here on Centre Court,” Gasquet said. “Many years I didn’t play on it, so I’m very happy I can face him again. I’ll try my best to win.”

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