Why I Watched the Five-Hour Gasquet Cramp Fest.

The look on Richard Gasquet’s face in the photo describes how I look this morning right now after watching the almost five hour match last night/day between Richard Gasquet and Mikhail Youzhny. Gasquet won the first two sets but someone could not find a way to demolish the “tank” that is “Mischa” and lost 7-6, 6-4, 5-7, 6-7, 4-6.

To get into why and how Gasquet lost is not the point. The tennis itself had flashes of brilliance but was mostly just two boys on a court grinding it out. Plus the fact that it was on Margaret Smith Court, a tiny venue packed with rowdy French and Russian fans that added to the whole carnival atmosphere. When he had to serve amid outbursts for Youzhny, Gasquet would press his fingers to his lips as if to say. “Silence S’il vous plait. I am trying not to lose here.” The match felt like it was being played on Court 16 in Flushing Meadows rather than a Melbourne suburb. And no Hawkeye so the call was just that, the call.

And then the cramping started.

What made it almost comical was when both players, after seeing the other one seize up or grimace in pain, would dance around or do bunny hops just to say “hey man I’m ok I can go another seven.”

I really thought Gasquet would win, even when he lost the fourth set and then got up 3-0 in the fifth. I’m hoping he’ll find something positive out of this, and not another drug test. (Sorry bad pun but that’s how tired I am right now.)

Neither of these players had much of shot to win the AO outright, but this match sums up why Grand Slam tennis is best three out of five. You have to earn it the hard way.


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