In the alleys of the Tennis Club Weissenhof, Richard Gasquet talks to the press for a long time. Relaxed and smiling, the French nr. 2 takes stock about this weekend in Germany, his likely accession to the Top 10 and the upcoming DC semi-final.
Richard, this is a win at 3-0, nice and clean, one can imagine that you are super happy, having put your piece to the house...
It is obvious that I am very happy. Even more as I passed close to defeat. It would have been tough for me to be the only one having lost, on Saturday evening. Therefore, I am pleased that I could win my match and that we passed this round. On paper, we have been superior, but Germany remains a good team.
What is the strength of this team? One has the idea that this group has matured...
Yes, all the players have a high ranking. We are all among the Top 15. These are very very good players and then, we have more experience compared to earlier years. All this makes a nice team. It is good to have won 3-0. It is good for me to have been able to play. The weekend was good for the team and for me.
What happens inside the team? Is there competition? Emulation?
Today Gilles, nevertheless Nr 16, has not played. On rarely sees this in other teams. Sometimes it is me playing, sometimes someone else. There is no jealousy concerning who plays. On Friday, I felt myself carried by the others, they supported me from start to finish. This was important. Really, the team is healthy today, there is good emulation. It is really superbe. We must continue because we know we can go far this year in the competition. We have to follow up.
It is a good idea to attribute points for DC because thanks to your win, you can perhaps get into the Top 10. Is it symbolic after you left them 3 years ago?
It has been a long time since I have been there. I was not sure either to ever be able to get back. This is indeed a very very nice progress for me. I think it is between me and Roddick (who is currently 10, Gasquet 11). But perhaps it would be better if Roddick won today to recieve the Americans in Paris. If I have to choose, I prefer to stay 11.
You are ready to sacrifice your personal case for the spirit of the team?
Yes, definitely. Going to play in Spain and recieving the Americans - this is not the same. So, If I tell the others "I prefer being 10 and we go to Spain", I don't think this would come good (laughing).
It might not be for tomorrow, but the Top Ten are very likely tohappen in the days to come. What does it mean to be back in the Top Ten?
A lot. It is clear, as I have said, that I was not sure to be one day back in the Top Ten. Today it is due to the season I have done, I have won many matches, I always went far in the tournaments, I was rather regular. It is really important for me. I am very happy to have been able to come back.
At the Australian Open you were beyond Nr 30. When was the key moment to pull off?
At this moment, I was already at 30, this was not too bad, because the year before, arriving in Australia, I was around 90. So I was already much lower. But [it works] step by step by winning and by practising. There was no special key moment, it was indeed continuity at work. I have practised a lot, I have played many tournaments. And when you win, you win. Confidence comes with winning.
Does it change to be in the Top Ten? Is this a special comfort? Does it raise your marketing value? Is it really different?
Yes, it is different when you are around 90 (laughing). I am particularly happy about the ranking. This does mean something. Being among the best ten tennis players of the world is something great. I am very happy to be there. I don’t know if it increases my market value or whatever. I am just happy to be there.
And now top 5?
I was never there. When I was nr 7 I said I aspired to the top 5. And I fell down the other side (laughs). I will just try to be in the Top Ten, stay there and we’ll see. I feel well within my tennis, I have played well recently. I am pleased to have been able to have won here. I feel that I progress, so one has to continue.
How will you manage your summer? You withdrew from Stuttgart. Is the idea to go on holiday to rest? And what is the plan of action for a full attack at the North American season?
The idea is to rest, and then to practise for the really important tournaments: Montreal, Cincinatti, the US Open. And there is Davis Cup right after. This is very very long. Therefore, it is necessary to rest before taking all this on. I can afford it, I played well recently, I will try to do a huge basic preparation, to train my physique well in order to be good in the US.
We will now turn to the two potentail opponents for the [DC] semifinal. Firstly, scenario Spain. This is one of the hardest teams to play at home?
It will depend on whether Nadal will play or not. If Nadal will play, it is sure that the Spaniards are the favourites, if there is no Nadal, I think it will be really different. Then it is 50/50. We have good players in the team and a good doubles. So a lot will depend on Nadal. But whatever happens, to beat the Spaniars on clay will be very tough. They will be the favorites. If Nadal plays, it will be a very different story.
This is a great challenge to take on, no?
Yeah, this is certainly a great challenge. This is the most difficult tie. To beat Spain at home on clay is the ultimate challenge in Davis Cup. In particular, if Nadal is there.
And if it is the US? The Americans in Paris, this would be a nice surprise….
We all would prefer the Americans to the Spaniards. Certainly, playing in Paris, in Roland Garros would be great, exceptional for us.
Fish, Roddick on clay, that does not raise anxiety?
It remains a good team. They are nevertheless good players, a great doubles, This remanis a difficult team, but in my opinion less strong than the Spaniards at home.
Where would you like to play?
In Roland Garros, if the Americans win. ..
Where were you in 2002 when Grosjean and his gang defeated the Americans in Roland Garros?
In the stands, with Jo (Tsonga), by the way. The two if us came to watchtthe match. This was 9 years ago. It would be fantastic, if this time it woud be us to play.
Translated by Puschkin