Richard Gasquet's 18 years in the ATP top 100 leaves him in esteemed company

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Richard Gasquet's 18 years in the ATP top 100 leaves him in esteemed company

Richard Gasquet has been in the top 100 of the ATP rankings for over 18 years.
Richard Gasquet has been in the top 100 of the ATP rankings for over 18 years.Profimedia
Richard Gasquet (37) has never won a Grand Slam - only three times during his long career has he reached the semi-finals of one. Yet he has become a respected tennis personality over the years. In April 2005, he entered the top 100 of the ATP rankings for the first time and has remained there ever since. His impressive streak of 956 consecutive weeks in elite company was cut short in Auckland by his French compatriot Arthur Fils.

After winning Auckland last year, Gasquet needed to at least advance to the final to defend the necessary number of points. He played as a wildcard last year on his way to the title, but this time he dropped out in the first round.

"Richard is a champion, he's had an incredible career, so I'm really happy to be able to play him again. I played a good match and I'm happy to advance," said 19-year-old Arthur Fils after his victory, who applauded his compatriot as he left the court.

It was a somewhat symbolic but also sad moment at the same time. In the new edition of the world rankings before the start of the Australian Open, Gasquet will fall to around 130th place and his tennis life will change...

He has been in the top 100 for more than 18 consecutive years. Only two tennis gladiators have a better record in history - Roger Federer (1165 weeks) and Rafael Nadal (1029). Even Novak Djokovic (945 weeks) is behind Gasquet (so far) in this respect, although he is expected to catch up with his French rival in less than three months and perhaps try to attack Nadal and even Federer in his record-breaking career.

The French veteran entered 2024 ranked 76th in the ATP rankings, but he had a commitment to defend his title in Auckland, where he beat Cameron Norrie in three sets in last year's final. It was his 16th career title, but he has collected virtually all of them in ATP 250 events.

In 2007, Gasquet was the seventh-ranked player in the world. He has finished in the top 10 for four seasons (2007, 2012, 2013 and 2015), played three finals at Masters 1000 tournaments (Hamburg 2005 and twice in Toronto 2006 and 2012), reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon twice (2007, 2015) and once at the US Open (2013). His reward for a terrific career is a bronze in doubles at the London 2012 Olympics (together with Julien Benneteau) and also a victory with the French team in the Davis Cup in 2017.

Although at first glance he doesn't seem to have won any major titles, he too has a Grand Slam trophy in his cabinet - albeit only from the mixed doubles at Roland Garros 2004 with compatriot Tatiana Golovina. Gasquet, who still loves to use his one-handed backhand, is also part of the club of active players with at least 600 wins on the circuit, where only Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray keep him company.

However, an early exit in Auckland and leaving the top 100 of the rankings does not bode well for the French tennis player's future. Still, Gasquet is happy with his career.

"At the beginning, I didn't think I could play for so long. But of course, the end is getting closer and closer, especially when you feel you are approaching 40," he told the Ouest-France newspaper in December.

But the time to pull down the curtain on his career has not yet come. He will be at the Australian Open, but should he not return to the top 100 soon, he will probably have to accept a wildcard to get into Roland Garros. For Wimbledon and the US Open, it would be considerably more complicated.

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