Gasquet ready to tackle Murray-mania
Richard Gasquet might spend his day off Sunday tracking down a pair of earplugs in Wimbledon Village in...
Richard Gasquet might spend his day off Sunday tracking down a pair of earplugs in Wimbledon Village in preparation for his tantalising fourth-round showdown with Andy Murray.
Three years ago the duo also clashed at the All England Club at the same stage and the one abiding memory Gasquet has of that encounter is the deafening roar that greeted every winning shot produced by Murray.
"I remember the crowd were very impressive. We're told all the time, the English, Wimbledon, it's quiet. But it was incredible. A lot people were cheering for him," the Frenchman recalled of the tussle which he ended up losing in five sets.
"I remember the third and the fourth and the fifth set it was very difficult for me to play, because there was a lot of noise."
If Gasquet thought the noise was unbearable three years ago, his eardrums might burst Monday when 15,000 hollering fans on Centre Court, along will the rest of Britain, will be backing Murray to get one step closer to ending the home nation's 75-year wait for a men's champion.
World number four Murray, at least, has fond memories from their last grasscourt meeting as he fashioned one of his greatest comebacks from two-sets down.
"That was probably the first one that really was a big comeback from me," the Scot said recalling the 5-7 3-6 7-6 6-2 6-4 win.
"I think there was a lot of sort of interaction with the crowd. They really got behind me. It makes a big difference."
Since that win, Murray has shot up the rankings and contested three grand slam finals while Gasquet has failed to live up to his immense talent.
But despite the gulf that now separates the two contemporaries, Murray did not want to dismiss the threat posed by Gasquet, who has reached the last 16 without dropping a set.
Their contrasting styles should also be a feast for the purists, with Gasquet eying every opportunity to go on the attack and come into the net while Murray will be relying on his forehand to do damage.
"He's won all his matches pretty comfortably so far. He plays very well on grass. He's comfortable on the surface. It's going to be tough," said the British number one, who is locked at 2-2 in his head-to-head to Gasquet.
"He's obviously very, very talented. He's an excellent player. On his day, he can play great tennis."
Gasquet certainly can play great tennis because with a little bit of luck, he could have had a 4-0 record against Murray.
Apart from his setback in Wimbledon 2008, he also let a two-set lead slip in the French Open first round last year.
Those two blips have made him re-think his strategy.
"I've always played well against him. I also won the first two sets in Roland Garros, so I hope not to win the first two sets this time," grinned the 17th seed.
"It (the match here in 2008) was for me a good memory really, even if I lost. I played very well. I could have finished it in three sets. I had a break 5-4 but he fights a lot and I couldn't finish the match.