London: Richard Gasquet summed up his shock appearance in the Wimbledon semi-finals alongside Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray by admitting: “I’m the worst”. The 29-year-old Frenchman reached his second All England Club semi-final — eight years after his first — with a 6-4,4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 victory over fourth seed Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday. While he was spending three hours on court, defending champion Djokovic, who is his semi-final opponent on Friday, seven-time winner Federer and 2013 champion Murray hardly broke sweat as they took their expected places in Friday’s last-four line-up.
“I’m proud because there are big players in the semis. But I’m the worst when you see Federer, Djokovic and Murray and me,” said Gasquet. The 21st seed lost to Federer in the 2007 semi-finals at Wimbledon while, in his only other last-four run at a major, he was beaten by Rafael Nadal at the 2013 US Open. While he is in his second Wimbledon semi-final, Federer is in his 10th, Djokovic is in his seventh while Murray has made the last-four for the sixth time. Adding to his inferiority complex, Gasquet has only beaten Djokovic once in 12 meetings. His only win came at the 2007 Masters Cup while he was crushed by the world number one in the fourth round of the French Open last month, winning just six games in a straight sets rout.
“I want to enjoy it, to play a better match than I did in Paris,” said Gasquet. “It’s important for me to think I can win this match. That’s the most important. To go on the court and think you can win, it’s something I need to do it on my mental part, to be there to win.” “Novak is an incredible player to face in the semis of a Grand Slam. I want to enjoy that moment and to try to reach the final, of course. Novak is the favourite. Everybody knows that. But I want to take my chance and we will see what will happen.” Before Wednesday, Gasquet had lost 15 of his 16 most recent clashes against top 10 players. At last year’s Wimbledon, he was knocked out by Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the second round despite having nine match points.
And having struggled with a back injury for large parts of 2015 his prospects at Wimbledon didn’t look promising especially when his only grass-court outing of the summer before the All England Club ended in a second round loss at Queen’s Club. But he has been reborn over the last nine days, seeing off 2014 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov and then gaining revenge over Kyrgios on his way to Wednesday’s clash with Wawrinka. “I am older for sure compared to 2007. I’m 29 now. I was 21. I have more experience,” said Gasquet. “I know what it means to be in the semis. It’s a long time I didn’t do it.”