Richard Gasquet and Rafael Nadal have locked horns since their teens. Both of them burst into the scene quite early in their careers. Gasquet admires Rafa a lot. And in a recent interview spoke about the Spaniard and his stature when he first came.
Gasquet in an interview with Tennis Majors spoke about Nadal. Nadal was highly talked about as a teenager in the circuit and he was improving each day. Gasquet played against Nadal when they were 13 and from then the Frenchmen knew Nadal could become one of the greatest. They have played a lot against each other in their junior careers.
“I saw it very quickly that he was going to be an extraordinary player. Physically we saw that he was progressing all the time. You could see that the way he hit the ball was simply monstrous.” Gasquet said
They faced off against each other in the 2005 Monte Carlo Masters. Both of them were 19-year-olds at that time and Gasquet lost a very close match. Gasquet came into the match beating World No.1 Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.
“I played him at Monaco when I was 19. We met in the semi-finals. I was not far from beating him, I was very close. I had a breakpoint in the second set – I had won the first, I felt we were at the same level. This match, I had to win it.” he said
What surprised Gasquet was that three months later when he faced Nadal at the 2005 French Open. Nadal was a different player. He was more ruthless and improved a lot. Nadal would go ahead and win the 2005 French Open.
“Three months later, at Roland-Garros, where I lost in the third round, I saw that he was already another player. He won Roland-Garros. I saw very quickly that he was a monumental player, quite simply, on clay he was monstrous. His tennis never stopped progressing.” he said
Nadal kept improving and from 2005 to 2020 he has changed. Rafa is one of the greatest of all time and Gasquet is quite happy for him.
“Year after year, he improves all the time. I mean we are talking about nearly the best player in history, him and Roger Federer. If I am compared to him, it’s rather gratifying for me.” said the Former World No.7
Gasquet although hasn’t reached the same heights as Nadal, is happy with his career. He is happy to play tennis and he never thought that Tennis could become his livelihood.