‘I didn’t think I would win again’: Richard Gasquet stunned by ASB Classic title

Richard Gasquet thought his days of winning ATP tournaments were over, but he proved himself wrong at the ASB Classic on Saturday.

The 36-year-old defeated Cameron Norrie 4-6 6-4 6-4 in a match that lasted almost two and a half hours and what made the Frenchman’s victory all the more special is that he won it from an impossible position after being down 0-3, 0-40 in the third set.

Gasquet was convinced to make his first appearance at the Classic by tournament director Nicolas Lamperin, who is a good friend of his.

When he agreed to come Gasquet wasn’t expecting too much, but stunned himself by winning his first title since s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands in 2018 and his first at an outdoor hardcourt tournament in 10 years.

* Richard Gasquet spoils Cameron Norrie’s homecoming to win ASB Classic final
* Cameron Norrie defeats Jenson Brooksby to set up dream ASB Classic final
* Cameron Norrie gets closer to second ASB Classic final, Michael Venus knocked out

“I didn’t think I would win the title,” an elated Gasquet said after the final, fresh from dousing himself in Champagne.

Richard Gasquet celebrates with the trophy after winning the ASB Classic.

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Richard Gasquet celebrates with the trophy after winning the ASB Classic.

“The last time I won was in 2018. I am 37 this year, so when I came last week, if you were to tell me next Saturday I would win here, I wouldn’t believe it.

“It’s incredible, especially losing 3-0 and it being 0-40 for him. It’s an incredible match for me.

“It’s the first time I’ve come here and I felt good on this court. I won [against] a wildcard in the first round and then I really played well.

“It’s an amazing title for me, especially now at my age. I really didn’t think I would win again.”

Gasquet loved his time in New Zealand. As a keen rugby fan and supporter of the Béziers club, to be in the country of the All Blacks meant a lot to him.

“It’s incredible, the first time and winning,” he said.

“I know a lot about New Zealand. I am a rugby fan, so coming here was special for me.

Richard Gasquet celebrates winning the ASB Classic, in a typically French way.

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Richard Gasquet celebrates winning the ASB Classic, in a typically French way.

“I talked to a lot of French rugby players who’ve come here about how special it was to come here.

“It’s amazing for me to win in my first time coming here.”

When Gasquet was down 0-40 and 0-3 in the third set it could be said Norrie had one hand on the trophy. Had he taken one of those break points, Norrie would have been serving in the next game for a 5-0 lead.

But when facing those break points, Gasquet felt if he was able to hold serve, he was still in it.

“I just wanted to win that game, because you never know, he could feel pressure after it,” he said.

“It’s always tough to close a match, especially in a final. So I told myself I have to win this game and anything can happen after that.

“Then I felt more confident, I could break him and then he made mistakes and at 4-4 I could play my best tennis.”The usual question for any winner of the Classic is if they’ll be back again next year. At Gasquet’s age, it’s not easy for him to answer that.

“I don’t know how long I’ll play [for]maybe I’ll stop soon, but I will remember this title for sure,” he said.

“I am a bit old. Of course, I’d love to come back, it would be amazing for me to come back next year and I’ll try my best to play this year, be able to compete next year here again.”

It would have meant so much for Norrie to win the tournament he grew up watching, but he has now lost twice in the final.

“Tough, that’s sport and he played better than me in the third set and I was exactly where I wanted to be in the third set,” Norrie said.

“It was a very physical match and he came up with the goods and there’s nothing I can say.”

Even though Norrie wasn’t able to get that break to go up 4-0 in the second set, he said still felt like he was in a good position.

“It was 4-1 and I gave him a couple of cheap errors at the 4-1 game and then he played well.

“I had a lot of chances in the 4-3 game and in the 3-0 game I had 0-40. A lot of chances and he played better than me, credit to him.”

Despite the loss, Norrie has enjoyed his time back in New Zealand,

“It was a great week, I had a lot of fun,” he said.

“It’s a long week, obviously with the weather. But I really enjoyed it and I really hope some New Zealand kids took some inspiration from it.”

Leave a Comment