Throughout the next four weeks, our What's Next? series will look at every player who finished in the ATP or WTA Top 10 this season, and consider their future in three different ways.
This talented but often maddening Frenchman once dubbed “Baby Federer” is once again threatening to be a factor at major events as he re-approaches his career-high ranking of No. 7. He won one title in 2012 (Bangkok, an ATP 250), his first since he won Nice (another ATP 250) way back in 2010.
Nobody has ever questioned Gasquet’s talent; he’s celebrated far and wide for his baroque, powerful one-handed backhand as well as his willingness to go for broke, with spectacular placements from nearly anywhere on the court. But at various times his desire and fitness have seemed lacking, and he’s gone through long periods when he seemed to be just treading water as a player while apparently enjoying the relaxed, remunerative lifestyle of an elite pro.
The main question is, has Gasquet set up his fans for yet more disappointment after reinventing himself as a Top 10 player, or can he build on his excellent 2012?
Best Case Scenario: Gasquet spends the eight-week off season running steep hills on Martinique—or some other formerly French outpost in the Caribbean—and shows up for the Australian Open in great shape, ready to make a breakthrough into the Top 5, a contender not just on paper or in potential, but in reality.
Worst Case Scenario: Gasquet does what he’s usually done in the past: He decides to take his foot off the gas. Maybe he spends more time working on his guilty pleasures during the holidays and off-season, neglecting his fitness. He shows up in Melbourne ready to play his way into shape, instead of ready to do some damage. And it goes downhill from there.
Australian Open Outlook: The surface Down Under is friendly to the type of inventive baseline game Gasquet plays, which is punctuated by bursts of incredible shotmaking. Yet Gasquet has never even made it to the quarterfinals there, and he’s lost the only two five setters he’s played in Melbourne. Fitness, or a lack thereof, may be an issue for Gasquet in the Australian heat.
More What's Next?
- ATP No. 10, Richard Gasquet
- WTA No. 10, Caroline Wozniacki
- ATP No. 9, Janko Tipsarevic
- WTA No. 9, Sam Stosur
- ATP No. 8, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
- WTA No. 8, Petra Kvitova
- ATP No. 7, Juan Martin del Potro
- WTA No. 7, Li Na
- ATP No. 6, Tomas Berdych
- WTA No. 6, Sara Errani