Andy Murray relishes putting Richard Gasquet's mental toughness to a home test

 

When Richard Gasquet won a 38-stroke rally during his second-round victory over Grigor Dimitrov last week, the effort took so much out of the Frenchman that he could not stop himself vomiting on the court. As Andy Murray looked ahead to his fourth-round French Open meeting with Gasquet today, the Scot was asked if he planned to inflict similar suffering on the world No 20. "That's the plan," he said, with a broad smile.

Virginia Wade may have called him a drama queen after his back troubles against Jarkko Nieminen last week, but Murray loves it when the going gets tough and Gasquet is on the other side of the net. The world No 4 has won all three of their Grand Slam meetings – Gasquet has won all three of their matches in other tournaments – and he has twice done so after losing the first two sets.

Murray's fourth-round victory over the Frenchman at Wimbledon four years ago showed the benefits of the Scot's fitness regime. At the end of the match Murray celebrated by rolling up his sleeves and flexing his bulging biceps.

It remains to be seen how he will be affected in the coming weeks and months by the back problem he has had since the end of last year, but during his hugely impressive victory over Santiago Giraldo on Saturday there were no signs of any repeat of the back spasm that had affected him in his previous match.

As for his overall fitness, Murray does not expect to suffer like Gasquet did last week if they play any similarly long rallies. "In practice you try to replicate stuff you might do in a match," Murray said. "Points like that can be hard to come back from, but you hope you're conditioned well enough to deal with it."

For all Gasquet's wonderful skills – he comes the closest of any player to matching Roger Federer's elegance – the 25-year-old Frenchman does not have a reputation for mental toughness. He has often performed poorly in the Davis Cup and he has a poor record at his home Grand Slam tournament. He has lost in the first round four times and in eight visits to Roland Garros had reached the fourth round only once before this year – he lost to Novak Djokovic 12 months ago.

When it was suggested that Gasquet's victory over Murray in Rome last month might have been a sign of new mental strength – Gasquet fought back to win after losing the first set – the Scot did not sound impressed.

"It depends on how you go about the match against him," Murray said. "In Rome I don't feel I played particularly well. I hope I'll keep my foot down a bit better than I did there. That's the key. I don't know if he's changed. You would need to ask him."

Murray said he would relish the challenge of playing Gasquet in front of a partisan home crowd. "You can often draw energy from a crowd that is against you," he said. "If you don't want to play in those sort of matches, with that sort of crowd, there is not much point in playing tennis. You should really try and enjoy that and I'm sure I will."

While Murray said he did not necessarily regard himself as the favourite, Gasquet disagreed. "I think it's always better to play him on clay than on grass, but he's in the top four and has been for quite a while," the Frenchman said. "It's up to me to play a big match, to play really inside the court, which is what I managed to do in Rome during the third set."

Grand slammed: Murray v Gasquet

Wimbledon 2008 4th round:

Murray won 5-7, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4

Gasquet served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, before Murray mounted a thrilling comeback.

French Open 2010 1st round:

Murray won 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1

Murray trailed by two sets and a break but Gasquet tired quickly from that point onwards.

Wimbledon 2011 4th round:

Murray won 7-6, 6-3, 6-2

After a tight first set, Murray dominated, playing some of his best tennis of the tournament.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Suggested Topics
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen