Milan Tribune

Richard Gasquet, the ex-“little Mozart of tennis,” wants one last reminder

Richard Gasquet made South African Lloyd Harris admire his fifty shades of backhand, in the first round of Roland Garros, Tuesday, May 24.

The « Suzanne », as he affectionately calls him, has always been « [sa] preference to [lui] ». More intimate and less staid than the imposing court Philippe-Chatrier. On Tuesday, May 24, the birthday of former player Suzanne Lenglen – “the Divine” would have turned 123 – Richard Gasquet qualified for the second round of his 19e Roland Garros at the expense of South African Lloyd Harris (6-1, 6-3, 6-4). At the same time, his « friend » Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was bowing out on the Central.

The time of farewell will also ring soon for the Biterrois, so we hurry while there is still time. On Monday, the rain had interrupted his game, much to the chagrin of a small thousand night owls nestled under their umbrellas, warmly peeping from “Come on Richie”, “We love you Richard”.

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“You feel the end coming, it’s important to choose when I stop, not to end on an injury, did he confide in the World mid-February in Marseille. Ideally, I would like it to be in Montpellier, because I’m from there, or at Roland Garros. » Not one to consider a farewell tour.

For a quarter of a century since he entered the life of the French, Richard Gasquet has been a little part of the national heritage. “Gasquet, the champion that France is waiting for? “How many times has he been exhumed this ‘one’ of Tennis Magazine from 1996, immortalizing his one-handed lapel with the gesture already licked from the top of his 1.37 meters and his 33 kilos? The “little Mozart of tennis” was ranked 15/4 at 9 years old, unheard of in the history of Hexagonal tennis. This bulky adhesive tape never really came off the racket.

Crime of lèse-majesté on the Rock

In April 2002, at the age of 15 years and 10 months, the kid from the tennis club of Sérignan (Hérault) became the youngest player to win a match on the professional circuit, in Monte Carlo. In this princely setting, three years later, he commits a crime of lèse-majesté by paying himself the world number one, Roger Federer. The spotlights statuify the teenager and his talent. “Maybe, at the age of 16-17, I was not accompanied as I could have been. There was too much pressure for the young man I was”, he analyzes.

A reverse media coverage of his introverted personality. Little Richard never dreamed of himself as a champion. “Tennis chose me more than I chose it”, did not stop repeating this only son of two tennis instructors. Everything went so fast that he did not have time to imagine another professional future for himself : “I played really well, very young, so I never really had to think about it”, he says with that singing accent that characterizes him. At almost 36 years old (he will celebrate them on June 18), the voice has gained confidence, the gaze is no longer fleeting as in the early days.

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