London: Richard Gasquet eloquently summed up what it feels like to be an also ran at Wimbledon on Friday after an elastic-limed Novak Djokovic bounced the Frenchman out of the All England Club in the semi-finals.
“To lose against Novak in the semi-final, it’s very nice for me,” said the Frenchman.
It is not an observation Djokovic or any of his ‘Big Four’ contemporaries of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or Andy Murray would come out with after missing out on a chance to contest a Wimbledon final. But with the gulf between the elite and those scraping for crumbs as vast as the Pacific Ocean, it is little wonder that the 29-year-old Frenchman was not about to beat himself up after falling to his 12th defeat in 13 meetings with the top-ranked Serb.
“It’s been a great tournament for me. I did my best,” said Gasquet, who had conquered French Open champion Stan Wawrinka to reach his third grand slam semi. “I’m really happy the way I played and the way I finished the tournament.”
Gasquet has been blessed with owning a dreamy single-handed backhand but unfortunately for him, a single shot is not enough to beat a man who has very few weaknesses. “Novak’s key? He serves better than me, returns better than me. Then when you have these two shots on grass court, it makes the difference,” he said.
“His return is the best because he never misses. You serve and the ball is always back on your side again. It’s very difficult. “He doesn’t make unforced errors. Even from the baseline he’s playing fast with a lot of aggressiveness. That’s why it’s tough.”