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Richard Gasquet embraces Challengers to extend career
The former Top 10 star has sought to rebuild his ranking through a fall swing of ATP Challengers.
Published Sep 29, 2021
WATCH: Gasquet and Andy Murray faced off before the US Open in Cincinnati.
Andy Murray isn't the only big name grinding away in Challengers and ATP 250s since the US Open, trying to get his ranking back up following a run of injuries.
Richard Gasquet, a former No. 7 and Grand Slam semifinalist, has been doing the same. The 35-year-old Frenchman played the Rennes Challenger two weeks ago and, like Murray, is playing the challenger in Orleans this week.
"When I was 10th or 20th in the world, I played in Asia, in Shanghai," he told La-Republique. "Now, I'm 80th, and the challengers are important tournaments for me, to try to come back, to move up the rankings."
Gasquet reached the semifinals of Rennes before withdrawing from Metz with a strained thigh, but says he is fit to play this week in another tough field that includes other former Top 10 players like Gilles Simon and Fernando Verdasco.
"I played Rennes, it's tough—there are good players," said Gasquet. "These are not easy tournaments, especially Orleans, where the draw is very strong, with many good players due to the lack of tournaments in Asia.
"I will do my best. Anyway, I'm happy to come. Playing in France is always a pleasure."
But despite frequent injuries like an ongoing back problem and groin surgery in 2019, the former teen sensation is happy to keep his career going—even if it's in the lower levels for now.
"It's unbelievable for me to keep playing at this age. I never thought I would play at this age, especially because I started so young, at 16 years," he said. "Tennis is a difficult sport, which requires a lot of discipline. To win matches, you have to be in good shape. This is what I try to do, every day in training. Then, yes, it's fun, to be competing."
Gasquet, who won his opener in three sets, plays Lucas Pouille in the second round.