This record, the one who dominated a certain Rafael Nadal in the Petis As final at the age of 12, did not steal it: he won it by beating a top level opponent, the talented British left-hander Cameron Norrie, world N.12.
"I am very happy, especially since I won against Cameron, who is one of the best in the world", confirmed Gasquet after winning the 16th title of his career.
Happiness never goes alone, the Bitterois will again become the French N.1 on Monday, which has not happened to him since July 2016, pointing to 42nd place in the world, his highest ranking since September 30, 2019.
"The last time I won (a tournament) was in 2018. I will be 37 this year, and I was told when I arrived here last week that I would win the following Saturday. wouldn't have believed it," Gasquet said.
"I really didn't think I could win a tournament again."
Richard Gasquet kisses the winner's cup of the Auckland tournament on January 14, 2023 in Auckland © MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP
Still capable of brilliant blows
The former world No.7 has been scouring the 250 tournaments for two years, the smallest of the tournament categories, in search of points in order to stay in the nails, around the 80th place in the world, to enter the final tables in Grand Slam without going through the grueling qualifications.
The Frenchman is always capable of brilliant shots.
Like last year in Geneva, where he beat the Russian Daniil Medvedev in the round of 16.
Against Norrie, however, the game seemed to be off to a bad start.
But in a game with twists and turns, where he lost the first set and trailed 4-1 in the last, Gasquet, each time, reversed the situation to finally win on his first match point.
It all came down to the eighth game of the last set.
Led 4-3, Gasquet erased five break points, won his face-off and immediately took his opponent's to widen a definitive gap (5-3).
"As long as my body holds..."
"In the third set, starting at 0-3, I didn't miss a single shot, it was just crazy," he explained.
© MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP
"It's an incredible feeling. I played my best tennis throughout the week, but especially today," said the Biterrois, moved.
The only one of the New Musketeers still active after the retirements of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga then Gilles Simon in 2022 and the prolonged absence of Gaël Monfils, is not yet ready to lay down his arms.
Fans of the beautiful game will still be able to admire his one-handed backhand for some time, one of the most perfect on the circuit.
This Tuesday at the Australian Open, Richard Gasquet, who is in his 22nd year on the circuit and has reached the Grand Slam semi-finals three times, will start against his compatriot Ugo Humbert.
"As long as my body holds out, I will continue," Gasquet said in December in an interview with news site actu.fr Richard Gasquet, who had groin surgery in January 2019.
© 2023 AFP