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May 27, 2016

Richard Gasquet

Paris, France

R. GASQUET/N. Kyrgios

6-2, 7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. How do you react to today's match? It was an easy match for you.
RICHARD GASQUET: Not easy. You never know what could happen, if I'm losing the second set, another set. Could take a lot of confidence, after winning that set.

I'm happy with the way I played. Great for me to win against Nick in three sets. He's one of the biggest players now, played very good last two months. Of course it's a big victory, especially for me on center court at home with my crowd. It's very nice for me.

Q. Your next opponent, Nishikori. He also had a very tough game today, if you could say something about his game.
RICHARD GASQUET: Yeah, but of course, everybody knows his game. He's one of the best players in the world now. So of course he can win a Grand Slam. He's an outsider here in Paris. I lost two times in Madrid and Rome. I know what to expect against him.

He plays very fast. He's very talented guy, so he takes the ball very high, so one of the toughest players to play for me now. It's different, it's five-sets match in Paris. I want to give 100% of my game and we will see.

Q. After those two games maybe you have more idea how to play him?
RICHARD GASQUET: Yeah, of course, I need to play my best tennis, to play very fast to play with him, because he has big rhythm, especially in the backhand.

So that's why I need to play my best tennis to play with him, because he's, as I said, he's playing fast. Of course, I know it will be a tough match for me. Nothing to lose. Of course, he's the favorite. I think I can win and I try my best.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. Did you feel that today was a true clay match?
RICHARD GASQUET: Absolutely, absolutely. This is the best format for me versus Wimbledon or indoor. Each point was very hard-fought. His service was less painful here than on other surfaces. I was able to find the right angles. I knew this was probably the best playing on central court, on clay, putting more chances on my side.

This being said, it was important for me to win the second set. I knew that one set each it would have been more difficult. We have played amazing matches every single time we played each other, so I really wanted to win today.

He has a great serve. You know, he could have done something incredible and win -- he could have won the second set very easily. It was really important for me to win.

Q. Why did you want to play the center court versus Lenglen?
RICHARD GASQUET: Because it's a big court. I really wanted to play here. It's better because you have more space, you know, you can find more angles, you know, play behind the baseline.

Q. You have known Rafa for many years. How do you feel about the fact he's retired?
RICHARD GASQUET: I have a lot of respect for him, and I feel sorry. If he's decided to stop, it must be serious. It can't be something small. He's had small things and he knows to deal with pain. He's the kind of athlete who doesn't really listen to his body and decides oftentimes to continue. This time it must be serious.

It's a big loss for the tournament, and I hope he will recover. That's the most important. I hope he will recover quickly and come back to the circuit.

Q. It's not the first time you're making it this far into the French Open. Would you say that this year may be fresher than other years?
RICHARD GASQUET: I can say that I'm feeling great. I'm at my max. I have no injuries, and I know I will be fresh against Nishikori. When I played Wawrinka in the same round here, I felt just the same. It's becoming tougher and tougher. To beat these guys you have to play really well.

Nishikori is very self-confident right now. He has been very good lately. I know I will have to play even better. This guy is in the top 4, so he's a tough one.

Q. Did you feel your opponent today was a bit diminished with his shoulder on the court? How did you feel him?
RICHARD GASQUET: I can't tell. He was playing very well in the second set, for sure. If he had a problem with his shoulder, well, then that's it. If I had lost the second set, I think the match would have been -- the outcome could have been very different. It could have been a five-set match, meaning a very different one. I was very adamant on winning the second set.

We had long rallies. It was a long set. Then I think the fact I won the second set sort of knocked him out.

I was able to return a lot of balls, which means he had to continue the rally. I think I played a good match.

Q. You're the same age as Rafa. Do you feel that with age and so many tournaments, so much playing, you get a bit tired, as well? Your body gets a bit tired? How do you feel?
RICHARD GASQUET: I think I had less injuries, all in all, but I also won less matches, obviously. Honestly, he won nine Roland Garros, Barcelona, two Wimbledons. He didn't have that many injuries when you really think about it. He is a tremendous person physically, what he does, and what he's accomplished is just incredible.

You know, he's not 20 anymore. I'm not 20 anymore. Some players at age 30 are in great shape. Some played better much later. I think a lot of players are much more cautious. I think that our overall physical condition is much more taken care of today than in the past.

When I arrived on the circuit, it was not the same as today. So therefore, players can play much longer into their career. Obviously when you reach that 30-year-old threshold, you know, bad injuries or surgery is much more difficult to recover from versus when you're 20. But at the same time at age 30 I think you can be in great shape.

What's more difficult is you get little injuries, little glitches here and there, because you have been on the circuit for 10, 15 years, and, you know, so many years, it hurts. You know, it takes its toll on your body.

But again, he's really had an extraordinary career.

Q. How does it feel for you? You're a very experienced player today. When you arrive on the French Open this year, it's not like you have no experience. You're experienced. Do you feel that experience?
RICHARD GASQUET: I sure do. I have been ranked 9 or 10 over the past seasons, and when I lost games, I thought I wasn't good enough. I haven't lost because mentally I failed. It's my tennis, which caused me to lose some of my matches.

But as you said, I have experience, I have my body, and to make progress you always need to raise the bar to play these big players, including big players like Nishikori.

Q. You were talking about age. You said you have little glitches, little injuries. The fact that Rafa is out, Federer is out, do you think that maybe we are now entering a new chapter of the history of tennis?
RICHARD GASQUET: Well, we have been talking about new chapters, about Federer since 2009. That's news talk. However, some journalists bury him before he's gone.

That's really what's so exciting about players like Federer and Nadal. If the guy had been in shape, he had everything to, you know, play a very successful tournament again this year.

Okay, Federer is a bit older, but you know what? We'll see. You know, we'll see what he does on grass. And the same thing is true for Nadal. I think the top performers right now are Djokovic and Murray. They are definitely leading.

And it's unfortunate not to have Nadal here in Paris, because he was in great shape, and I think he could have done something really big. I think he could have won, you know, the tournament this year again. It's very unfortunate for him and very unfortunate for Roland Garros.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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