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Roland Garros: Richard Gasquet, May 26, 2008
   

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Roland Garros
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 sad.


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 on Tuesday.

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 unfortunate.


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, some Paracetamol.

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 MRI.

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 swollen.


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 that?

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 as good.

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 depends.

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 long.

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 mind?

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 opinion.


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 tournament?

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 disappointed.


Q. You've said don't expect too much from me because the conditions are specific. So what do you think of that?

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 defeat me.

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 Guillaume?

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, maybe?

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 condition?

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 friends, too.

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 course.

 

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