After his devastating loss to Stanislas Wawrinka at the French Open on Monday, Richard Gasquet dropped to an abysmal 1-15 in Grand Slam fourth rounds. Here’s a look back at how he earned this catastrophic record.
1. Wimbledon 2005
Just 19 at the time, Gasquet came into Wimbledon in 2005 as the highest-ranked teenager after Rafael Nadal. He had won Nottingham–beating Max Mirnyi (!) in the final–right before The Championships.
His fourth round showing made this his best Grand Slam performance so far, but unfortunately it ended with a dusting by Nalbandian.
This is the best part of The Gaurdian’s take on the match:
Nalbandian, marginally less menacing than Robert Helpmann’s child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but still clearly the destroyer of young men’s dreams, plays Thomas Johansson, 30, in the last eight. Gasquet, who prepared for Wimbledon by winning in Nottingham, was highly competitive for two sets before being trampled in the third to lose 6-4, 7-6, 6-0.
In France, he is considered potentially a more complete player than Henri Leconte or Yannick Noah. But his future was in some doubt last year when, in a qualifying match for the US Open, he threw his racket and it struck a line judge.
2. U.S. Open 2005
Following up his great Wimbledon, the young and surging Gasquet made the fourth round of the U.S. Open a few months later. After a come-from-behind victory over Ljubicic in the third round, he was upset by Robby Ginepri in the fourth round, completely fading in the fifth set due to injury problems.
There is little online about this match other than Ginepri’s post-match presser. Apparently USA Network pulled the plug on that match.
But I did find this NY Times write-up of his third round victory over Ljubicic, and it is AMAZING.
Richard Gasquet threw his racket again.
This time, it did not hit a linesman in the eye. This time, it did not draw blood. This time, it did not result in disqualification.
Gasquet, a 19-year-old Frenchman, has found safer places to dispose of his equipment. On Saturday afternoon, he tossed his racket into the net after losing a point, then calmly picked it up and came back for a 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (7-9), 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Croat Ivan Ljubicic in the third round of the U.S. Open.
“I feel a lot better,” Gasquet said. “I feel like I saw my progress.”
He hopes New York saw it, too. Last year, Gasquet walked off the court when he was trailing in a match at the Bronx Challenge. Then he was disqualified from a U.S. Open qualifying match for throwing his racket. That the racket accidentally hit a linesman and caused blood to trickle down his face did not help Gasquet’s reputation. He went home to France and met with Alain Gonzalez, a family friend who works with troubled adolescents.
“He’s a little weird,” Ljubicic, seeded 18th, said after his loss. “He can play great or he can play horrible. He’s spoiled. I think he’ll grow as a person, but right now, he’s a kid and he’s acting as a kid.”
3. U.S. Open 2006
Gasquet only won one Grand Slam match in 2006 coming into the U.S. Open, though it should be noted that his losses were to Haas in the first round of the Australian Open, Nalbandian in the second round of the French Open, and Federer in the first round of Wimbledon. Not exactly embarrassments.
Anyway, he finally got a good draw at a slam and made it to the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year at the age of 20.
The entire write-up is short, and since it’s from 2006 I’m just going to post the whole thing here:
Former champion Lleyton Hewitt outlasted Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 in a pulsating late-night fourth-round battle at the U.S. Open on Monday.
In a match that finished shortly before 1am local time, the Australian let slip a two-set lead to an inspired Gasquet but hit back to set up a quarter-final against American Andy Roddick.
“It was hard work for both of us,” Hewitt said.
“He is a young guy on the rise. I was very wary coming out here tonight. This is where it all started for me, at grand slams, so it’s good to get through to another quarter-final.”
Gasquet said he had given it his all.
“I’m really tired,” he said.
“It was a great match for me today. I fought a lot, I did my best today but he was too good.”
Hewitt, the champion in 2001, eased through the first two sets before Gasquet roared back to level thanks to a series of crushing groundstroke winners.
With Gasquet struggling with cramp in the fifth set, Hewitt broke in the second game and though Gasquet saved two match points with outrageous winners, Hewitt served out to clinch victory after three hours 33 minutes.
4. Australian Open 2007
A 20-year-old Gasquet was still trying to find his first big slam breakthrough at the beginning of 2007, and he did not find it at the 2007 Australian Open. He pushed Top 10 Robredo to four sets, but lost rather easily in the end. According to his website, he faced 21 break points on his serve, and even though he saved 17 of them, it didn’t matter.
But he licked his racket and there is a picture of it, so we all win:
5. Australian Open 2008
Yes, this is Top 10 Richard Gasquet. Why? Because he’s still riding high off of his first and ONLY fourth round victory. At Wimbledon 2007 he beat Tsonga in the fourth round easily, and came back from two sets down to beat Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals. He lost meekly to Federer in the semis, but still–Gasquet seemed to finally be living up to his potential.
Alas, he was about to be surpassed by another Frenchman. This was Tsonga’s breakout tournament, and there was nothing Gasquet could do. Basically he was about to be surpassed forever.
Here’s Daily Mail’s take on the match, which of course basically is about Murray, even though Tsonga beat Murray in the first round of this tournament. Some things never change.
Gasquet, ranked eighth in the world, took the second set but watched the athletic Tsonga storm back.
Tsonga regained the ascendancy in the third set tie-breaker with a superb backhand up the line and whipped through the fourth to set up a battle with Youzhny next up.
When asked what the difference was between himself and his countryman, Tsonga replied: “I don’t know. At the end, I won, and him, he lost.”
“I played well. I felt very good in my body. Everything felt good.”
P.S: The match did not stop Gasquet and Tsonga from partying together shirtless a couple of weeks later.
6. Wimbledon 2008
Oh man. This is the match that basically caused Gasquet to birth Andy Murray. I still remember pretty much every detail about this match, and it’s all pretty horrifying.
Gasquet was now in the mood to capitalise, driving Murray back with a thumping forehand and punching away a forehand volley to break.
There was half a chance for Murray as Gasquet struggled to serve out the set, missing his first two set points on serve at 5-3, but the Briton could not capitalise and picked up a warning for an audible obscenity as the set slipped away.
Gasquet was well and truly in the groove now, his peerless backhand the highlight as the winners began to flow and four break points came and went at 2-2 in the third.
The Frenchman missed another two break points at 4-3 before taking the third with a sweeping cross-court backhand winner, but the Centre Court came alive when Gasquet’s notoriously suspect nerve failed him and he could not serve out the match.
Gasquet’s notoriously suspect nerve failed him and he could not serve out the match.
Gasquet’s notoriously suspect nerve failed him and he could not serve out the match.
Gasquet’s notoriously suspect nerve failed him and he could not serve out the match.
7. U.S. Open 2010
It took another two years for Richard Gasquet to make it back to the fourth round of a major. Why? Because of Pamela. Crazy Pamela.
But alas, this summary of the match pretty much captures Richard Gasquet:
There would have been nothing in Gasquet’s game in the Louis Armstrong Stadium that should have been surprised Monfils, given that they are just a couple of months apart in age, have known each other for years and are good friends.
After Monfils had beaten Gasquet in straight sets they gave each other double-cheek kisses at the net, and as Monfils did a TV interview, Gasquet walked past and flung a towel at him.
Gasquet plainly had his opportunities, as he had a point for the second set, and in the third he led 5-2 and later had a couple of points to extend the match. But Monfils won the last five games of the match to be the first man into the quarter-finals, where he will play Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, a winner on Monday over Mardy Fish.
8. French Open 2011
It took until 2011 for Richard Gasquet to make it into the fourth round of his hometown slam. And it took Bellucci to get him there.
In taking out the Brazilian in four sets in front of the French crowd, Gasquet showed more emotion than he had ever shown on a tennis court before.
Then he faced a streaking Djokovic. This is how The New York Times describes it:
Most matches are decided before the players take the court. Each player, according to this theory, knows who will win, and the loser spends a lot of energy playing just well enough to have a respectable showing, but without truly believing victory is possible.
It is a painful charade to watch, and Sunday’s match between Novak Djokovic and Richard Gasquet was an example of this kind of match. Granted, Djokovic is playing sublime, inspired tennis, but Gasquet’s showing was a disappointment. If communication is two-thirds nonverbal, then Gasquet’s body language and facial expressions were screaming, “I’m not on for this! He’s just too good. When will this be over!”
9. Wimbledon 2011
In a re-match of the 2008 Wimbledon “Classic,” Gasquet and Murray met in the fourth round two years ago. I’ll just let you read about it:
Though the roof was deployed once again for a Murray match, just as it had been for his two appearances on Centre Court last week, this time it was not because of rain, but because of the heat and the sunshine, as it was extended slightly to provide shade for William, Kate and everyone else in the Royal Box.
Without the protection of that £100 million parasol, Murray wore a baseball cap for his meeting with the world No 13. Gasquet’s backhand is both elegant and devilishly effective – playing against him must be like having your foot stamped on by a Christian Laboutin heel.
Until the tie-break, Gasquet was the better player, dropping a total of just five points during his six service games in conditions which were plainly faster than during Murray’s two indoor appearances.
But, Gasquet being Gasquet, he fell away when it mattered, in the ‘breaker’. Thereafter, Murray was the better player, so he made the last eight at the All England Club for the fourth consecutive summer.
Gasquet being Gasquet.
10. Australian Open 2012
Gasquet made some steps forward at the 2012 Australian Open by getting his third Grand Slam win over a top 10 player, taking out No. 9 Tipsarevic easily in the third round. But then, being Gasquet, he lost without fight to Ferrer in the fourth round.
There’s really nothing else to say about this one.
11. French Open 2012
Murray again! Oh my!
Instead of a post-match report, I’m going to put this excerpt from the match preview here. Please note that Gasquet won the first set against Murray 6-1.
When Richard Gasquet won a 38-stroke rally during his second-round victory over Grigor Dimitrov last week, the effort took so much out of the Frenchman that he could not stop himself vomiting on the court. As Andy Murray looked ahead to his fourth-round French Open meeting with Gasquet today, the Scot was asked if he planned to inflict similar suffering on the world No 20. “That’s the plan,” he said, with a broad smile.
Virginia Wade may have called him a drama queen after his back troubles against Jarkko Nieminen last week, but Murray loves it when the going gets tough and Gasquet is on the other side of the net. The world No 4 has won all three of their Grand Slam meetings – Gasquet has won all three of their matches in other tournaments – and he has twice done so after losing the first two sets.
12. Wimbledon 2012
After four straight fourth round losses to Top 5 players, you’d think that Gasquet would relish the opportunity to play Florian Mayer in the fourth round of Wimbledon and a chance to make it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in FIVE YEARS.
The second week of The Championships is turning into bonanza time for Germany. With two quarter-finalists in the Ladies’ Singles meeting each other today, two of their male athletes reached the last eight of the Gentlemen’s Singles, and it was a special time of celebration for Florian Mayer, who confessed he had never played better tennis than he did in defeating the 18th seed Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in one hour 52 minutes of a contest that had been carried over from the previous evening.
The German No.2 came back onto No.3 Court today having already taken the opening set in 24 minutes overnight and after another weather delay Mayer extended his overnight second set lead of 2-1 by breaking Gasquet with the help of a double-fault from the Frenchman, who was so annoyed that he slammed a ball out of court and was given a code of conduct violation.
Mayer won the next three games, too, at a cost of a mere three points and wrapped up a two-set lead with the eighth and ninth of his eventual total of 14 aces. Gasquet admitted afterwards that there had been little he could do at this stage of the match. “His backhand was incredible,” he said. “And he read my game very well.”
13. U.S. Open 2012
Richie completed the Calendar Year Fourth-Round Slam last year at the U.S. Open, thanks primarily to a draw in which his first three opponents were ranked an average of No. 282.
Then, when facing a quality opponent, this:
The Spaniard had dropped only one set on his way to the fourth round and had too much consistency and quality for Gasquet, winning 7-5 7-6 (7/2) 6-4.
Gasquet probably should have taken the second set as he served for it and then had three set points on the Ferrer serve but the fourth seed saved them all and did not allow his concentration to waver during two lengthy rain delays.
You know the rest.
14. Australian Open 2013
Back in the top 10 five years later. Doesn’t matter. Pete Bodo says it is more of the same.
Apparently, there really is no end to the ways Richard Gasquet can find to sabotage his chances of winning a tennis match. Today in his fourth-rounder with No. 7 seed and countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, he quit mid-point to issue a challenge at 30-all in the first game of a must-win fourth set.
Naturally, the appeal was denied. Gasquet went down 30-40, and Tsonga bagged the ensuing break point when he walloped an inside-out forehand approach to force a backhand passing shot error. The sequence clearly dispirited Gasquet and caused him to lose his appetite for the battle.
In fact, Gasquet would win just two more games (when it no longer seemed to matter) before going quietly into the night as Tsonga won the contest, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. It was not the performance long-suffering Gasquet fans hoped (or deserved) to see, given the resurgence their hero produced last year. He’s made it back into the Top 10, and he was seeded just two ticks below the man who beat him today.
15. French Open 2013
There’s no screencap available from the ATP site since the French Open is still in progress, but here’s the run-down of Gasquet’s matches from this year’s tournament via RolandGarros.com.
The French Open marathon between Richard Gasquet and Stanislas Wawrinka was one of the best displays of shot-making I’ve ever seen, particularly in the third and fourth sets. This was not a case of Gasquet choking, but rather Wawrinka stepping up.
This emo quote from Gasquet says everything:
“A little bit sore in the leg, but more in the soul, for sure,” Gasquet said after their riveting exhibition of shotmaking on Court Suzanne Lenglen. “I did my best, I can’t do more. I’m very sad, but that’s normal.”
-Gasquet won 11 sets in 15 fourth round defeats.
-He was the higher-ranked player in only five of the losses.
-He has now lost in the fourth round in six straight Grand Slams. Also nine of the last 11. So at least he’s consistent?
-This is getting depressing. And ridiculous. Le sigh.
He won’t be making it past these fourth rounds until he steps into the court a bit more. Can’t believe how far he stands back behind the baseline, he doesn’t have the same power as Rafa to do that. But yesterday’s loss as disappointing as it was, he did everything he could out there, Stan was just…the man. Not more you can say there.
It’s disappointing that he hasn’t been able to break through, but looking over the list, the only bad loss (in the sense that he didn’t lose out to a top player at the time or future top player) is the loss at Wimbledon to Florian Mayer.
At least he’ll always have 2007 Wimbledon…(and if the draw gods are kind to him, he might add 2013 Wimbledon)
He need to start saving money right now for future Slam tickets. Probably is the guy that throws away the most chances to the last 16 clubs.
What must really sting for Gasquet about his most recent fourth-round Grand Slam loss is not that he blew a two-set lead, but that he actually played and competed with more grit and heart than he did in his last 5 fourth-round Slam matches combined, and STILL lost.
So Andy Murray’s the player who’s beaten Gasquet the most often in fourth-round Slam matches? That actually doesn’t surprise me very much, as I’ve always felt that Murray practically relishes humiliating Gasquet and always plays inspired tennis whenever they meet as if to send a clear message of, “I may be criticized for playing ‘ugly, boring’ tennis compared to you, but we all know why I’m a top 4 player and you’re not.”
[…] Originariamente inviato da tennisfan Gasquet ha perso 15 ottavi di finale Slam su 16, sono numeri che purtroppo parlano chiaro. A tal proposito The 15 Fourth Round Failures of Richard Gasquet : The Changeover […]
As a Gasquet fan who ran into a link to this article, it’s fair to say I accidentally ingested this piece.
Great stuff. I actually laughed and thought “Florian Mayer!” before reading it. Ha.
The genius of the big four is they give a damn. Nalbandian IMO was every bit the ball striker Fed was but he never sold out on his fitness. And the same can be said for Bags and Richard.
Yes Richard’s baseline positioning is laughable but I think years ago he found the level he was willing to push towards. He’s rich has his choice of women…it’s a good life. The desire to destroy all others on court is a trait only a few possess. For the rest of the tour it’s ebb and flow they go.
The head cases are as fun to follow as the greats. Amazing the French seem to produce most of them.
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