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Le Coq Sportif

 Forget pays tribute to Gasquet

Tennis (English)Puschkin a écrit : "French captain Guy Forget paid tribute to Richard Gasquet after the 20-year-old led his country to a 4-1 victory over Romania. The world No.16 won both of his singles rubbers in straight sets, while Arnaud Clement beat Florian Mergea 75 76(3) to complete what was a comprehensive win for the home side.

“Our No.1 player won us this tie,” said Forget. “It was an important weekend for Richard. He is really becoming well integrated into the group. Though he is still young, he began playing on the main tour when he was 15, so he has experience behind him.”

I want Richard to be a leader, said Forget

Forget, who took the microphone to thank the home fans for their generous support over the three days, added: “I want Richard to become a leader within the team. Right now it’s not his personality, he is a bit shy. But I was not a leader until I was 28, I didn’t even think about being a leader until I was 25. So he can definitely become a leader in the future.”

Gasquet was the star of the show. In fact, after beating Andrei Pavel 63 62 75, a win that clinched victory for France, the youngster revealed that he had come close to playing in the doubles rubber. “It was almost the case that I played,” he said. “Around 10am on Saturday I could see myself playing that match. But Michael [Llodra] is a very good player and I was happy for him to play.”

Michael Llodra and Clement, who had won four of their five doubles rubbers together before this tie, were clear favourites against Horia Tecau and Mergea but lost in five sets. “We were disappointed because we believed we could have won that match,” said Gasquet. “We really wanted to make it 3-0 on Saturday evening.”

“The Romanians played very well. Our team was a bit below their usual level. If they had played their usual level they could have won. Also the Romanians were very relaxed.”

“The first reaction I had was, ‘Oh no, I have to go back on court again’. This morning I knew that I had to win this point. I knew it was a good challenge. It was a very good experience for me in Davis Cup.”

Gasquet confesses to nerves

Despite the apparent ease of his win over Pavel, Gasquet confessed he had not been without nerves. “It’s the desire to win,” he explained. “I lost twice against Russia and it was tough to bear. When you are nervous your arm is shaky. But I have some matches behind me so that helped.”

Forget said: “This was a very good experience for Richard, not just winning both his matches but the way he fought back from 5-2 behind in the third set. He’s a very complete player. He has all the weapons and could react to all the problems that Pavel posed. This was not an easy tie. Despite the rankings my players were very cautious about this Romanian team. They took it very seriously.”

“It was an excellent week for us in Clermont-Ferrand. This is a good place for us: we have played here two times and won two times. I would not mind coming here again!”, concluded Forget.

France will face Russia in the quarterfinals in April and Forget knows it will be a tough test:

“We have had several difficult matches against Russia. According to logic, looking at the rankings, they should win. But we have our chances.”

“I expect Safin and Davydenko to be playing and they also have Tursunov, Youzhny and Andreev. We will have to be at our best. Beating Safin at home is very difficult, but I do believe it is possible. The ranking on paper does not decide the results.”

“In the next two months I want Richard to win tournaments and matches so that he grows in confidence. He can beat all of the top players, but right now players like Safin and Nadal feel they are better than him. But things can happen fast, he can get more confidence.”

“Grosjean was our obvious No.2 this weekend. He’s still young, only 28 and I am looking at him being in the top 15 again.”





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