My Masters 1000: Richard Gasquet
Richard Gasquet has been one of the most consistent players on the ATP World Tour over the last decade-plus, finishing inside the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in eight of the past 12 seasons. At the elite ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, the Frenchman has reached three finals, finishing runner-up in Toronto twice (2006 l. Federer, 2012 l. Djokovic) and Hamburg once (2005 l. Federer).
This series has also provided the stage for a couple other notable career highlights. Fifteen years ago, Gasquet made his tour-level debut as a 15-year-old at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, when he became the youngest player ever to qualify for a Masters 1000. Three years later at the same tournament, he saved three match points en route to an upset win over World No. 1 Roger Federer in the quarter-finals – a moment that remains one of his best career memories.
He spoke to ATPWorldTour.com about that match, and also reflected on why the Masters 1000s are so tough.
Which Masters 1000 host city is your favourite and why?
I want to say Paris-Bercy because it’s in Paris and it’s the last tournament of the year. My family and friends are there.
Which Masters 1000 would you most like to win?
It would be the same. It would be incredible to win at home in France in front of a French crowd. It’s a dream to win there.
What’s your favourite court/conditions at a Masters 1000 tournament?
I think Indian Wells is great. You have many great courts, a lot of big courts, great facilities there. For me, it’s one of the best tournaments in the world.
Is there a win at a Masters 1000 tournament from your career that stands out?
Yes. I had three finals: in Toronto two times and one in Hamburg many years ago. It would be great for me to win one, and I’m still able to do it so I’ll try my best to do it.
I know you’ve been asked about it a lot, but I’d like to talk about that 2005 win when you beat Roger Federer in Monte-Carlo. What did that mean to you?
I think that’s one of my best memories because I was 18 years old, I was [ranked] 100 in the world and he was No. 1. Nobody expected me to win and I did it. It was such a great surprise for me, so of course it’s one of my best memories.
What’s the toughest part about Masters 1000s? A lot of people say they’re harder than Grand Slams because you go straight into big matches.
Yeah, I would have to say the same. In the first round, you can play Top 20 guys. It’s crazy; it’s the biggest ever you can get. It’s a Masters 1000 so that’s why it’s so tough in the first round – you can play one of the best players in the world. It’s very difficult to win matches in this kind of tournament.
Who stands out to you as a great Masters 1000 competitor?
It’s easy to say, it’s [Novak] Djokovic and [Rafael] Nadal because they’ve won [30 titles], so of course, especially on clay for Rafa and the other tournaments for Novak. They’re the biggest players to face there.