He’s long been known for having what might be the most beautiful backhand in the game. Richard Gasquet graced the cover of French Tennis Magazine when he was only nine years old, being hailed as a future champion.
Now, twenty-six years later, he is still grinding away on the tour with that gorgeous one-hander. Though he has not lived up to the grand slam champion expectations placed on him, he’s put together a respectable career reaching three major semifinals, winning fifteen ATP titles and the Davis Cup, and reaching number seven in the world rankings.
As we do here, let’s take a look at his racquet.
- Endorsed Racquet: Head Auxetic Extreme Line (check price here)
- Actual Racquet: Head Liquidmetal Instinct Tour XL
- Strings: Luxilon Big Banger Original around 24 kilos tension
Gasquet & His Racquets
Richard has used Head racquets for most or all of his tennis days, wielding what appeared to be a Prestige as a junior and his current racquet for apparently all of his professional career. His sponsor Head is notorious for paintjobbed racquets on the pro tour, and Gasquet is no exception.
He uses the old Liquidmetal Instinct Tour XL (Pro stock code PT 161) and has endorsed the Extreme line of racquets since their inception as a main Head silo around fifteen years ago. We can even still see the liquidmetal ridges on his current bumper guard.
This racquet combines a thick beam and open 16×19 string pattern with extended length for huge amounts of power and spin.
It’s great for Gasquet who’s a bit slighter in build and allows him to maximize his ability to do anything with the ball – loop it, angle it, carve a slice, or blast a rocket – on his backhand side.
- Note the “Liquidmetal” ridges
Maybe most notable about Gasquet’s racquet is his grip. He has a giant butt cap flare that is produced by wrapping an entire leather grip around the base of the handle and following it with another, wrapping it up the handle as usual. He’s also notorious for redoing his tourna overgrip each changeover.
Richard uses a very headlight racquet, and that’s probably entirely due to the giant buttcap flare being all just a leather grip. His specs with overgrip are reported to be:
- Strung mass: 348g
- Strung balance: 30.4 cm
- Strung swingweight: 348
This headlight balance and substantial numbers for mass and swingweight definitely help him whip his backhand around from any part of the court.
The balance is very low for a pro player, even on the doubles tour where the racquets are generally geared toward precision and maneuverability.
Gasquet has used Luxilon Original Big Banger strings for all of his pro career. He originally strung it pretty tight, up around 25 to 27 kilos but has since come down to around 23.
For such a stiff, dead string like Luxilon Original, I’m not surprised he eventually lowered the tension. There’s plenty of bite and control to tame his thicker, more powerful frame, but it gets boardy at those higher tensions.
For two decades, Richard has used the same racquet to produce his beautiful backhand. He hasn’t changed strings or frame, but adding the buttcap flare may have changed his specs.
Yet another example of a pro using a racquet that suits him and rarely changing it. He can still bang the ball with the best of them and make a few highlight reels in the process!
If you’re interested in other ATP players’ racquets, I listed all the top 100 players’ racquets in this post.