After saving nine match points to beat Richard Gasquet in five sets in the second round last season, Nick Kyrgios will once again face the Frenchman on the lawns of the All England Club, but this time for a chance to make the quarter-finals for a second straight year.
A year ago, Kyrgios was ranked No 144 in the world and had to fight from two sets down to beat Gasquet on his Wimbledon debut. On Monday, the Australian faces the former world No 7 as a two-time grand slam quarter-finalist ranked No 29 in the world.
“I just know hanging in is key, obviously coming down from two sets to love last year. He’s played plenty of Wimbledons. He’s good on grass. He’s made semi-finals here, I think,” said the young Aussie of Gasquet.
“He knows what he has to do out there as well. I’m going to play my game. Whatever happens happens. That’s what I did last year as well.”
Gasquet, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2007, says he needs to return well to stand a chance against Kyrgios, who fired 34 aces to beat Milos Raonic in the previous round.
“Of course last year, even if I lost, it was a match we will never forget, me and him. And for sure because it was his first match he won against a good player, I was top 10, and me, when you are losing with nine match points, it’s very difficult,” said the Frenchman, who is seeded No 21 at Wimbledon this year.
Kyrgios is renowned for his loud antics on court, engaging with the crowd and losing his temper with umpires. But it is something Gasquet does not find distracting.
“I have no problem with that. I think it’s great for the game. He has a good personality. He’s fun to watch on the court. He’s nice off the court. That’s the most important thing. He respects the players off the court,” assured Gasquet.
“He’s always talking in the locker room. I think he’s a nice guy. On and off the court he’s a good player.”
“I don’t fear anyone. Whoever I play I will just play aggressively and just keep that mind set,” said Kyrgios pic.twitter.com/KTStSjov8b
— BBC Tennis (@bbctennis) July 3, 2015
Meanwhile, Roger Federer insists he is no longer obsessed by eclipsing Pete Sampras to claim a record eighth Wimbledon title. The Swiss, who faces No 20 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the last 16 today, joins Sampras at the top of the Wimbledon leader board with seven titles each but could take sole possession of the top spot with an eighth trophy here on Sunday.
But when asked if chasing that elusive eighth crown still drives him, Federer said: “Not much to be honest. No, this one doesn’t give me extra something.
“It used to be more the case, trying to equal Pete, and all that stuff like weeks at world No1…Now this is more something like you talk about for a couple weeks, it’s gone again and then you have to wait a year if you don’t do it.
“I just take Wimbledon as such, what a huge tournament it is, what an opportunity it is. Of course, I would like to relive those moments I have done so many times here.”
Novak Djokovic denied Federer sole occupancy as Wimbledon’s most-decorated man last summer. The world No 2 admitted losing the final in 2008 to Rafael Nadal proved a more bitter experience than his five-set defeat to Serbian star Djokovic last year.
“Probably there was more at stake in the 2008 final,” said Federer. “I was going for my sixth, and Rafa for his first. Novak was already going for his second last year. There was probably a little bit more on the line in terms of, you know, milestones, let’s say, in ‘08.
“Coming back from two sets to love, in the dark at the end, it was a bit more epic. But last year also was very thrilling.”
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