Paris: French favourite Richard Gasquet says he has to "find the solutions" to finally beat old junior rival Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros on Saturday after losing all 15 of their Tour-level matches.
Gasquet's miserable head-to-head record against his childhood friend has shown no signs of improvement in recent years — the World No 32 has not taken a set off the Spaniard since 2008.
The 27th seed insisted he doesn't respect Nadal too much on court, though, pointing out that he's not the first man to struggle against the 10-time French Open champion.
"It's not a question of respect. When I'm on the court, I lose. That's it. I do my best every time," he said.
"Once or twice there was maybe a kind of respect, but I tried every time."
The pair will meet for a 16th time with Gasquet looking to end Nadal's bid for an 11th French Open title in the third round.
"It's up to me to find the solutions. Once in Basel, we had a very tight match. I found a way," said Gasquet after his 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 second-round victory over Malek Jaziri.
"I'm not going to think about it throughout the day and think he's an incredible player; we all know it. I'll try to play a good match."
Back when the two broke through in 2005, Nadal and Gasquet were considered among the best young players in the game, but while Nadal has gone on to win 16 Grand Slam titles, Gasquet has never reached a major final.
"I didn't think he would win (the French Open) 10 times, but I knew he would win five or six," he added.
"I have known him for a long time. I have known him since he and I were young. I appreciate him a lot."
Nadal thrashed Argentinian Guido Pella 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the last 32, and his part of the draw has opened up after early exits for 24th seed Denis Shapovalov and the 14th-seeded Jack Sock.
But for now, he will be focused on facing Gasquet at Roland Garros for the first time since a straight-sets victory at the same third-round stage 13 years ago.
"He is one of the guys on the tour that creates a good atmosphere. He always has a positive attitude. Not creating no one problem and being a normal person," said Nadal.
"It will be a good match against a good friend in the most important place in my career, and for him a very special place, too."
Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 18:01:24 IST