• French Open

Murray: 'Tough' Gasquet's the favourite

ESPN staff
June 3, 2012
Andy Murray is preparing himself for a gruelling match against Richard Gasquet © Getty Images

Andy Murray is bracing himself for a tough examination from Richard Gasquet in the fourth round of the French Open, with the fourth seed insisting the Frenchman is the pre-match favourite.

Murray, through to the round of 16 in Paris for the fourth straight year after defeating Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-4 6-4 last time out, tackles long-time rival Gasquet for a place in the quarter-finals on Monday.

It will be the seventh meeting between the pair - the head-to-head reading three wins apiece, with Gasquet getting the better of the Scot the last time they crossed paths in Rome in May.

Their battles in grand slams are the encounters that really stand out, however, with Murray twice fighting from two sets down to win: in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2008, and in the first round at Roland Garros two years ago.

Reflecting on that nail-biting win in Paris, Murray said: "It was a very good comeback. I remember him starting the match very, very well, and then I just managed to turn it around.

"I wouldn't necessarily see myself as the favourite for the match. Obviously he beat me a couple of weeks ago. He's going to have the crowd behind him. Right now this has probably been his best surface.

"So it's going to be a tough match. But when I played him here last time, I hung in, I fought really hard. When he plays well, he's a very, very tough guy to beat. He plays some unbelievable shots."

Gasquet, who shrugged off losing the first set to dispatch German veteran Tommy Haas in four at the weekend, maintains, however, that Murray will enter the contest expected to prevail. "I think it's always better to play him on clay than on grass," he said. "But he's in the top four and has been for quite a while. So I'm not the favourite.

"But it's up to me to play a big match, to play inside the court, which is what I managed to do in Rome during the third set. I'll be playing on a big court. I have the crowd, and I have to give everything to have no regrets."

Murray, meanwhile, gave an insight into what makes his relationship with coach Ivan Lendl so good. The eight-time major winner is in Murray's box for a second slam, and the Scot says it is the Czech's straight talking which he has valued the most during their six-month partnership.

"We will go for lunch or dinner together a couple of times a week, just me and him, just to talk about all sorts of different things, which I haven't really done in the past with people I've worked with," he said.

"The one thing that's nice about working with him is that if you have a problem, he's a very easy person to talk to about it, because he doesn't get offended. I think nowadays a lot of people get a bit oversensitive. If he has a problem with me, he comes and tells me, it's nice."

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