French tennis star Richard Gasquet has given his thoughts on the great players in the game at the start of Roland-Garros 2022.
The 35-year-old flamboyant player began his French Open campaign with a straight-sets, 6-1 6-3 6-4, victory over Lloyd Harris of South Africa on Tuesday afternoon.
He sat down with the ATP Tour for an interview ahead of his opening match on the red dirt in Paris and was asked about the prospect of potentially facing 19-year-old rising star Carlos Alcaraz in the third round and who he takes inspiration from.
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What was abundantly clear from Gasquet was that, in his opinion, "nobody can compare" with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with the latter seeking a record-extending 14th title at Roland-Garros this fortnight.
"Of course, it’s an inspiration, but nobody can compare with Nadal, with Federer,” Gasquet told the ATP Tour, speaking about the rise of the likes of Alcaraz.
"These are the best players in the history of tennis, so it’s really tough for me to compare myself with these kinds of guys.
"Just to play my best, to have fun on the court, to feel some great things on the court — especially in big tournaments like Roland Garros, big stages.
"I’m still motivated to play… I’m still motivated to do my best to be still on top.
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"Of course, I’m sure I can win many great matches. I did against top players, even top 10, winning tough matches and playing well.
"But I’m 36 this year, so it gets more and more difficult. I just want to enjoy it and try my best to go forward.
“My best tennis would be difficult. I was No. 7 in the world. It would be very difficult for me to come back to [the] top 10, even top 20. But I just want to enjoy it, to be good on court… to have strength, to be free of injuries.”
World No. 1 Djokovic got his French Open campaign underway on Monday night with a straightforward 6-3 6-1 6-0 win over Yoshihito Nishioka as he seeks to defend his title and clinch a 21st Grand Slam singles title.
Meanwhile, Nadal kick-started his bid for a 22nd Grand Slam singles title with a swift 6-2 6-2 6-2 victory over Australian Jordan Thompson.
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