An impressive season saw Gasquet finish inside the top 10 for the first time in five years, reach the fourth round at every Grand Slam event for the first time in his career, win his first title in two years and rake in more than $1.5 million in prizemoney.
Strengths: One of the most technically gifted and talented players in the game, Gasquet owns every shot in the book. He’s most famous for his backhand, a sensational single-hander that he’s equally comfortable slicing, looping with topspin and ripping flat for electrifying winners. But that’s backed up with a stinging forehand, excellent court coverage and great hands – the Frenchman really is the complete package.
Weaknesses: It’s pretty much all mental when it comes to Gasquet. For someone of his shotmaking prowess, just one trip beyond the fourth round of a major (Wimbledon 2007 semifinals) in 33 starts is hugely disappointing. He simply hasn’t been able to produce his best tennis when the spotlight is at its brightest. Tactically, Gasquet’s propensity to retreat metres behind the baseline forces him to work unnecessarily hard during rallies and leaves him vulnerable to angled shots and short balls.
Opportunities: Beginning the season ranked No.19, Gasquet now sits at No.10, just shy of his career-best No.7 ranking of 2007. Since 2011, Gasquet has developed an impressive consistency, routinely beating who he should beat (in terms of rankings) and becoming a stronger presence at the majors. This should imbue him with confidence going into 2013, a solid foundation for him to take his game to the next level and post some results that better represent his vast talents.
Threats: In recent years it’s generally taken a big name to eliminate the Frenchman at Melbourne Park. But therein lies the problem – it’s a recurring trend. In the past two seasons, Gasquet has gone 7-21 against top 10 opponents, and when facing these players at the majors, it’s rarely been close. He needs to develop the belief that he can match it with – and beat – the big guns if he aims to contend for Grand Slam titles.
Scott Draper, former world No.42 and Tennis Australia’ Developmental Tennis Manager
“Gasquet is great to watch and has one of the best single-handers ever. But two weeks and seven matches to win a Slam has always been the question mark for Richard – can he sustain a high level for that period of time? He hasn't proven this so far in his career.”