By Krystle Nicole Russin
Remember those cheesy stars you received as a little kid — where teachers awarded you at the end of the week for good behavior? I wish to award one to Richard Gasquet. The Frenchman has, after some time out, put forward his best efforts in returning to his game — ironic when you realize the whole time Gasquet fought the tennis gods to play matches again, we have men on the tour dare I say, making a mockery of it.
People, do not for a slight second act like every guy leaving a match early lost accidentally, didn’t fake an injury, etc. People lose once they earned enough at a tournament. Tennis is lucky in that you earn money by showing your sweet face on the court, possibly among the lone professions where a loss still earns you a paycheck. This separates Nadal and the like from the “I’m just happy to be second rate and, ya know, like sorta kinda make the upper class tax bracket” guys, but that’s another rant for another day. Back to Gasquet.
Gasquet did himself well at this year’s French Open — requiring a full five sets for Andy Murray to win the match — and I hope he pulls together more confidence to shine at Wimbledon. Sure, you could argue his Queen’s time didn’t go so well, but bear with me, top men whose names I shall not speak didn’t fare as well as they should have at Queens. We can forgive them for their C- efforts – I question all time, science and dimension laws when Mardy Fish makes a final in the year 2010 in ANY tournament, let alone one Nadal and Murray entered — so we ought to continue rooting for Gasquet.
I am not declaring his 2010 stats perfect but pointing out the man has come a long way for being banished to Transylvania — oh, excuse me. He was, putting it plainly, kicked out of tennis for doing what men around the world, yes including some in pro and college sports, do in equal or greater abundance and probably, definitely off season. The difference? They don’t get caught with drugs.
I do realize some readers will want to dispute my comments, attacking me for supporting a young man who once did cocaine. Go ahead. I assure you, many of his naysayers are former drug and/or alcohol abusers, possibly ex hippies, perhaps the sometimes partygoer pretending as most of America does now, that sex, drugs and so forth don’t exist beyond Lifetime dramas.
I value a man with the integrity to admit his mistakes, change his life and not let what any run of the mill, hypocritical folks do or say affect his will to play tennis. A man of confidence is vital to this sport’s passion and that, for me, is as strong of character as Federer’s phenomenal dedication. Keep it up, Richard. Show us what you’ve got at the US Open and heck yeah, next year’s season when you can really bring us the new and improved Gasquet.
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