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'Most brutal period in tennis' - Gasquet on playing alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic

Richard Gasquet (L) and Roger Federer (R)
Richard Gasquet (L) and Roger Federer (R)
Namit Kumar
Modified 19 Jun 2020

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have had a stronghold on men's tennis for more than 15 years now. The trio has won Slam after Slam and made life difficult for almost every other competing player on tour.

Some argue that their dominance might have had a negative impact on the development of the sport, as many talented players have been unable to create a mark for themselves over the last couple of decades. One such player is Richard Gasquet, who has played his entire career in the shadow of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Speaking to Eurosport, Gasquet opened up about how he and other players of his ilk feel about their place in the sport. The former Wimbledon and US Open semi-finalist argued that a bunch of French players - namely Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon and Gasquet himself - have been unlucky to have burst on to the scene during the Big 3 era.

We were unlucky to come across Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer: Gasquet

Rafael Nadal (L) and Richard Gasquet
Rafael Nadal (L) and Richard Gasquet

During the course of the interview, Gasquet touched upon how difficult it has been for up-and-coming French players to establish themselves on the ATP tour despite having some great events and matches. The Frenchman said:

"I hear things like 'We didn't win big titles' or that sort of thing but we must not forget that there were incredible days. I hope that the next generation (of French players) will be like us, but whatever we may say, there has still been a very very nice generation in France. We were not very lucky to come across Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, it was complicated."

Crediting the Big 3 for their consistency, Gasquet further said it was nearly impossible to break through on the tour when Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer would win event after event, year after year.

"Let's say there were few chances in relation to that (winning big events). Wawrinka did it and Marin Cilic did it...When you see the winners of Roland Garros many years ago, you realize that there were a more chances than today," said the Frenchman.
"With Gaël Monfils, Gilles Simon and Jo, we fell into the most brutal period of tennis. So we missed our chance and they (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer) were the best players in history," he added.

Gasquet still sounded quite upbeat about his time on the tour though. He went on to say that despite the lack of Major success, the period he was in was still very successful for French tennis, contrary to popular opinion.

"We had a good time and people still don't realize it. We always tell you that no French has won a Grand Slam but we have been good. We have made semi-finals and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga almost won in 2008. Within two or three points, he almost won the Australian Open," said the Frenchman.

Gasquet was ousted by the eventual champion in each of his semi-final appearances at a Grand Slam event. The Frenchman was defeated by Roger Federer in the semi-final at Wimbledon 2007 and by Novak Djokovic in 2015. He lost the US Open semi-final to Rafael Nadal in 2013.

Published 19 Jun 2020, 19:33 IST
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