US Open 2022: Rafa Nadal against Richard Gasquet: a rivalry that has become a monologue

US Open 2022: Rafa Nadal against Richard Gasquet: a rivalry that has become a monologue

LArthur Ashe Court, the largest tennis court on the planet, attend this Saturday the eighteenth direct duel between Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet. A rivalry that could have marked a little, like that of Nadal with Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer, but which stopped in time.

Separated their births by only 15 days, the Spaniard and the Frenchman are vying for a place in the round of 16 of the US Open. .

gAsquet left Taro Daniel and Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic (32) on the way, the first seed passed alongside Nadal. .

Novak Djokovic established in May at the Mutua Madrid Open the greatest domination of one tennis player over another on the circuit by beating Gaël Monfils for the eighteenth time.

Nadal can reach this figure if he beats Gasquet again and thus qualifies for the twelfth time for the round of 16 of the United States Open.

Being the third confrontation between the two on the slopes of Flushing Meadows after the first round in 2009 and the semi-finals in 2013.

Rafa looked up to his opponent when they were kids. However, the promising Richard has been overshadowed by a player who already has 22 Grand Slam titles.

It’s frustrating and unpleasant to have lost so many times with him.

Richard Gasquet

“When I lost to him for the first time at Roland Garros in 2005, I walked off the court and told my father that I had lost to an alien and that I was going to win the tournament. is frustrating and unpleasant to have lost to him so many times. The reality is that it’s on another level“, admits Gasquet when he looks at the statistics and sees a 17-0 against him.

Richard has a technical explanation for his losses with the best tennis player on the planet: “My favorite shot is the backhand, but he plays high balls, he’s left-handed and that negates that strength I have. Against others, I dominate this diagonal, but against him it’s canceled. I have other problems, but this one hurts me a lot.”

maximum respect

A conversation between Toni Nadal and a young Rafa, 13, sums up the respect he professed for Gasquet before he played for the first time in the Tarbes tournament, the category’s unofficial world championship.

The current racket legend’s mentor and uncle asked his nephew about the draw: “How did it go?” That’s how Nadal replied: “Very good because I have Gasquet in the quarter-finals.”

The coach did not understand the answer because he preferred to see the French promise only to a hypothetical final. Rafa had however taken a plane from Mallorca to Tarbes to find out his true level and he could only discover it by playing with the young man he had heard so much about during his internships at Manacor.

This is how Nadal reasons: “We talked a lot about him, he was the best. I stood out in Spain, but I hadn’t played a lot abroad. We played an exciting game, 6- 4 in third. It was a good experience even if I lost. I remember it with emotion. “A lot of love”, said the Balearic. “When we played in 1999, in Tarbes, I did not didn’t know”, recalls Gasquet. “He was already fighting a lot.”

The Frenchman couldn’t bear the pressure of comparisons with the Spaniard, whom he couldn’t even beat in the Round of 16 at Estoril 2004. Nadal played the game with a crack in his left foot which caused him to miss the rest of the European tour. then clay.

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