Richard Gasquet, the ex-“little Mozart of tennis”, wants a final reminder

Richard Gasquet made South African Lloyd Harris admire his fifty shades of backhand, in the first round of Roland-Garros, Tuesday, May 24.

Le « Suzanne »as he affectionately calls him, has always been « [sa] preference to [lui] ». More intimate and less stuffy than the imposing Court Philippe-Chatrier. Tuesday, May 24, the birthday of former player Suzanne Lenglen – “the Divine” would have been 123 years old – Richard Gasquet qualified for the second round of his 19e Roland-Garros at the expense of South African Lloyd Harris (6-1, 6-3, 6-4). At the same time, his “Pot” Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bowed out of the Central.

The hour of farewell will also ring soon for the Biterrois, so we hurry while there is still time. On Monday, the rain had interrupted his game, to the chagrin of a few thousand night owls nestled under their umbrellas, squawking warmly “Go Richie”, « On t’aime Richard ».

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“You feel the end coming, it’s important to choose when I stop, not to end up with an injury, he confided to Monde mid-February in Marseille. Ideally, I would like it to be in Montpellier, because I come from there, or at Roland-Garros. » Not the type to consider a farewell tour.

For a quarter of a century since he entered the life of the French, Richard Gasquet has been part of the national heritage. “Gasquet, the champion France is waiting for? How many times have we exhumed this “one” of Tennis Magazine from 1996, immortalizing his one-handed backhand gesture already licked from the top of his 1.37 meter and 33 kilos? the “little Mozart of tennis was classified 15/4 at 9 years old, unheard of in the history of French tennis. This cumbersome band-aid has never really come off the racquet.

Crime of lèse-majesté on the Rock

In April 2002, at 15 years and 10 months, the kid from the tennis club of Sérignan (Hérault) became the youngest player to win a match on the professional circuit, in Monte-Carlo. In this princely setting, three years later, he commits a crime of lèse-majesté by paying himself the world number one, Roger Federer. The projectors statue the teenager and his talent. “Perhaps, at 16-17, I was not accompanied as I could have been. There was too much pressure for the young person that I was.he analyzes.

A reverse media coverage of his introverted personality. Little Richard never dreamed of himself as a champion. Tennis chose me more than I chose it”, has not stopped repeating this only son of two tennis instructors. Everything happened so quickly that he did not have time to imagine another professional future: “I played very well, very young, so I never really had to think about it”, he said with that singsong accent that characterizes him. At almost 36 years old (he will celebrate them on June 18), the voice has gained confidence, the gaze is no longer shifty as in the early days.

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