at Paris, France
Monday, May 26, 2008
Interview with Richard Gasquet
Q. Could you just explain, please, what happened
earlier today or what the injury is which forced you
to pull out?
RICHARD GASQUET: I mean, it's a tough day. And if I
have to answer in English it's going to a little bit
tough for me. It's going to be tough for me to
answer that in English.
DR. MONTALVAN: He speaks French.
RICHARD GASQUET: It's easier.
THE MODERATOR: If you could just explain one little
bit in English.
RICHARD GASQUET: I don't want to feel ridiculous in
front of 100 people. I tried my best to go on the
court. I did a lot of things. I took anti‑inflammatories
and everything, but I had a problem with my knee. I
did MRI, but the doctor will tell you what I have.
But I have a problem with my knee, so it was
impossible for me to play, and for sure I'm really
Q. Will you be able to play Wimbledon do you think?
RICHARD GASQUET: Yes. I think I will play there.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.
Q. So what happened today? Can you tell us what
happened to you? Can you tell us, I mean, the ups
and downs in the past few days?
RICHARD GASQUET: On Saturday, after a practice
session, I felt well, I played well, and I felt the
ball very well.
In the evening I started to walk, and my knee was
aching. It was behind my knee, and it was a little
bit weird and bizarre.
Sunday morning when I got up my knee hurt, and I
could barely put my foot on the floor. That has been
the case for the past two days. So I wanted to play
I mean, this is a request that I've made to the
tournament, and they refused. Yesterday I was in
pains and I said to myself that in 24 hours it will
be better. So I took anti‑inflammatories, and I had
an MRI and I didn't play. That's all. Really
Q. So, Doctor, what about Richard?
DR. MONTALVAN: I examined Richard today at 11:30,
noon. His knee is blocked. Basically he couldn't
flex the knee and it was painful. But on Saturday
evening, Sunday morning, it was a little bit
painful, so we gave him some anti‑inflammatories,
I asked him to undergo mesotherapy session, and I
told him, play as though you would be on the court.
But if you can't extend your knee, I mean, you need
to get an MRI. I'm quite familiar with his knee,
because we made an assessment of his knee in the
past. He tried to warm up, and he couldn't play.
And I told him, Okay, let's have an MRI. On the MRI
there's a cyst on the cruciate ligament. It's a
frequent pathology, and it has swollen since
December. And, in fact, he can barely flex and
extend and stretch his knee.
I got the results of the MRI at 4:35, and we
compared the different pictures. That's the story.
Q. Is it serious?
DR. MONTALVAN: I don't think it's serious, but I
would say that he will get an injection, a
controlled injection, in order to reduce the cyst. I
mean, these are things that you need to handle, but
it shouldn't be too serious.
This is breaking news, so...
Q. Is it something frequent? I mean, does it happen
on an impromptu fashion?
DR. MONTALVAN: I mean, Jo‑Wilfried Tsonga suffered
an injury on his knee, and that's the way it is in
tennis. I mean, when you play high‑level tennis you
are bound to be injured. I mean, we have to face the
situation. We have to cope with it. We have to
establish a good diagnosis. We have to provide him
with good treatment.
Richard is not really fortunate. Bad luck for him.
He has a lot of problems, and problems with his
knees. Once we've sorted out all the problems, he
will be back.
Q. Is it possible to detect the cyst before?
DR. MONTALVAN: We detected the cyst in December. I
mean, we screened it, but basically it was not
painful at that time and you're just living with it.
So when you carry out an MRI on a joint, there are
some anomalies. I don't want to focus on that. For
example, we had 38 young players who underwent an
In fact, we realized that they had some problems, so
basically when you're playing a top tennis level
that's the case. We saw this problem in December,
but it was a small cyst. All of a sudden, it has
Q. So what about the treatments so Richard can
resume playing I as quickly as possible?
DR. MONTALVAN: We will reflect upon that this
evening and tomorrow. He's' hampered, as I told you.
He's taken some anti‑inflammatories, and we are
pulling out all the stops. So we want to reduce the
cyst. We will inject some corticoids to reduce the
volume of the cyst, basically.
That's what we're going to do, so I will meet with
the experts in order to know which treatment we're
going to provide him with.
Q. How long will he be out of the court?
DR. MONTALVAN: One‑and‑a‑half weeks.
Q. French players are coping with a lot of injuries,
but don't you think there's and increase in the
number of injuries? I mean, there are many players
who can't play because they're injured and they
can't compete in a Grand Slam. What do you think of
DR. MONTALVAN: The past two years, I mean, we've
noticed that there had been fewer injuries since
2004. But it's different this year. Richard, just
before Roland Garros, had had some problems anyway.
But from a statistical viewpoint, I don't think that
there are too many injuries.
Q. Apart from Richard, I mean, there are other
players who can't play, Roddick and others. I mean,
is it because of the sport? I mean, don't you think
as a doctor that tennis is now more dangerous when
you practice it at a high level?
DR. MONTALVAN: A professional tennis player is
certainly poorly treated. I mean, a tennis player
plays a lot on different surfaces, and you have to
take into account the time slots are different. That
means the tennis player can't be at the top all the
time. So at times a tennis player has to stop. Last
year Richard had a good season. This year it is not
There are some players who are never injured.
Federer plays a lot and he's never injured, and he
has been No. 1 for a long time. So you have some
players who are well and fit. So it just depends. It
It's just unfortunate, but there are some players, I
mean, who feel well. But it is true that the
calendar, the schedule, is too busy and it's too
And Roddick ‑‑ Roddick is not here at Roland Garros,
but we know the reason why. I mean, clay is not his
best surface, so he just wanted to buy time and to
be ready for Wimbledon. I mean, that's my personal
comment. That's all.
THE MODERATOR: Any more questions for the doctor?
Questions for Richard?
Q. Richard, we have to confess it, it's a difficult
season. Don't you feel that you're accursed?
RICHARD GASQUET: I'm not going to dwell on my fate.
I mean, this hasn't started well in Australia. In
the U.S., during the American tour, I didn't play
well. I was a little bit injured, so it was a kind
of a domino effect.
At Monte‑Carlo I didn't play well. I had a back
injury, so I couldn't practice. Now it's Roland
Garros. But I'd like to tell you the season will
last 9 months, and only 5 months have elapsed. So I
have 4 months to play.
I have no worries. I have no concerns. I'm not going
to dwell on my fate. I won't say to myself I'm not
lucky. Of course you can say that to yourself, but
it's not really serious. I will bounce back.
I'm extremely disappointed because I can't play
here, but in a couple days' time it will be over,
and I will set my hopes on Wimbledon.
So I know that there are some tournaments all year
long, and when I get good results, I will forget
about it immediately. I will forget about these
injuries and defeats.
Q. You have a new coach now. Are you under the
impression that you are pulling out all the stops to
find the good solutions, or are you coping with a
lot of difficulties? Are you coping with a lot of
problems? What about your mind? Are you okay in your
RICHARD GASQUET: In my mind I'm okay. I sustained
some injuries in the United States, here in France,
so physically I was not 100%. Last year it was a
tough year, and I had to stop playing last year
because of my knee.
It is true that I couldn't prepare well for the clay
court season, and I'm aware of that. But I'm quite
okay in my mind. I can tell you practice sessions
were quite positive, so frankly I have no concerns.
But I just want to tell you that I'm disappointed
because I can't play here. I can't play here, but I
can't do anything about it.
Q. At Roland Garros, there are many expectations.
What do you think of that? So you pull out of a
tournament. Aren't you afraid of what people might
say? He's not there. He won't be on the court there.
What do you think of that?
RICHARD GASQUET: This is the therapist, my parents,
the physician, the doctors. I mean, all these people
who know tennis very well. They know I can't play.
That's what matters. So I'm not lying. I'm not lying
to myself. I'm not lying to the other people. I'm
not lying to the crowd.
Of course, the crowd and the public, the people,
they have their own opinion, and I respect their
Q. I mean, Roland Garros, this is a specific
context. Deblicker was not too happy if you were to
play Roland Garros, but what do you expect from the
RICHARD GASQUET: I expected to play well. I expected
to play against Serra, and I expected a lot of
positive things. So I'm aware of the tennis that I
can produce from time to time. So I know what I'm
capable of. So it is true that I suffered two or
three defeats, but it doesn't matter. I mean, this
hasn't dampened my enthusiasm or confidence.
Of course, you have to deliver some matches in order
to feel as fit as possible, but I was quite ready to
deliver some matches, so that's a pity for me,
because I can't play here. I know there will be
other opportunities to play here, but of course I'm
Q. You've said don't expect too much from me because
the conditions are specific. So what do you think of
RICHARD GASQUET: Of course I'm ranked 10th in the
world. I have some ambitions. I have some high
hopes. But I don't want to disseminate that in the
press. I want to take match after match. I mean,
that's my philosophy. So when I feel good, I know
that the opponent has to be very good in order to
So I practiced this week very hard, but that's the
way it is. So I know the career of the high‑level
player. There are some ups and downs, and there are
some lows as well, but I tried to be positive. I
know that in the future it will be better.
Q. Have you felt something? What about the work with
RICHARD GASQUET: I practiced well. Physically I felt
okay, and I would have ‑‑ I had high hopes with this
tournament. But I'm not going to dwell on my fate. I
can't play. I'm not lucky, but I'm not going to say
to myself, I'm not lucky at Monte‑Carlo, I'm not
lucky at Roland Garros, so...
Q. Is it due to stress, to the stress that you might
experience because of different factors, backache,
RICHARD GASQUET: I suffered from my back in
Monte‑Carlo after the Davis Cup. Davis Cup was quite
hard. But in Monaco, Hamburg, and Rome, basically I
didn't feel well. But today I can tell you that it's
just a matter of bad luck.
But, again, I would like to tell you that I'm
disappointed not to play on this court. There are
many French people and I'm frustrated, but I will
keep the frustration for myself. I will vent it out
in the months to come.
Q. What about the immediate future on grass? You
have some points to defend, but there will be a lot
of expectations. Are you worried about Wimbledon?
Are you worried about your fitness, physical
RICHARD GASQUET: With mine, it will be okay. I will
care for my knee, and I will undergo some treatment.
It is true that in terms of points it's not a
problem. I was 50th in the world, 30th in the world,
I was 8 in the world. So frankly the ranking doesn't
matter whether I'm 10, 12, 14, or 15 in the ranking.
It doesn't matter. I have an objective to win a
Grand Slam tournament in five years or six years
from now, so physically I hope that I will be at my
best in the future.
But I think that it will be okay. It will be okay.
I'm quite optimistic about the future.
Q. What are you going to do? You won't play. What
are you going to do now in order to move away from
this bad period? Maybe you will enjoy this week and
you will do something else? I mean, do you plan to
go on holidays?
RICHARD GASQUET: No. I don't know what I'm going to
do. It is true that I can do a lot of activities
apart from tennis. I have a lot of things to do
apart from tennis. We'll see. I have a lot of
I can do a lot of things, so I won't tell you what
I'm going to do. Anyway, I will do something, of