Sometimes, Richard Gasquet makes me feel like I'm trapped in a really bad relationship. I follow him religiously. I brag about his backhand. I even wear Izod shirts again (for the first time since the mid-1980s) because of Gasquet. And yet, he keeps disappointing me, standing me up for a dinner date, leaving me at the altar, or whatever other euphemism reflects the sheer disappointment he brings to my life every tennis season.
After learning that the Gasquet-Andy Murray match was being aired on ESPN2 today, I ditched work in the middle of a heated argument about prairie chickens to catch the match. Again, just as it happened last year (and the year before and the year before) like a Guatemalan peasant rubbing a medal of some local saint, I sat there doe-eyed while the college students around me cheered on Murray. "No, really, he'll come back...you'll see...." I was waiting for a three set win, a trounce like the one he gave the loathesome Andy Roddick last year in the round of 16. Scroll back to every other Wimbledon I've witnessed in Missouri and you'll see the same thing: my heart is with Gasquet.
Two sets in, and Gasquet was winning. He lighted across the court plying his mellifluous sluice, lunging for shots at the net, but he fell apart in the third. Murray played competently. Actually, because my loyalties run deep, it's hard to admit that I actually respect Murray's game, but I do. Of course, I can't look anyone in the eye and say it.
Gasquet failed again, but not without a fight. I really want to be able to sit back and mutter blithely, "no, that's cool, Murray's fine..." but after Murray's obnoxious screaming after every game and that ridiculously American gesture of flexing his bicep after he won the match, I hope Nadal literally wipes the floor with the guy. I guess at least I don't have to choose between Nadal and Gasquet again. Anyway, there's always the U.S Open.