Frenchman Richard Gasquet has set his sights on getting back into the world's top 10 during 2012 and to begin that quest he is excited to be teaming with world No. 9 Marion Bartoli in his first appearance in Perth at the Hyundai Hopman Cup.
Gasquet is one of the best ball strikers in the world, especially on his backhand side, and without doubt the fans inside the Burswood Dome and watching at home on ONE will get plenty of joy from watching him in action at the Hopman Cup for the first time.
Coming from the Paris winter where he was practicing indoors to the heat of Western Australia's scorching summer has certainly taken Gasquet some time to adjust to as well, but he's now feeling good and looking forward to France's opening Tie now on Saturday against China.
"It’s always tough when you come from zero degrees to Australia, you know in the outdoors," Gasquet said.
"I play indoors in Paris so it’s always difficult but I am really happy to be here. I came early because I play Saturday, so I will try to prepare well and to get ready for Saturday."
It might be the beginning of the tennis season, but Gasquet feels in good touch and is glad to be playing at the Hopman Cup for the first time to start off his year in a new way.
Considering he will not only have singles hit outs against China's Wu Di, but also Spaniard Fernando Verdasco and Australia's Lleyton Hewitt he is certainly looking forward to the work out he will get this week.
"I have been practicing well and I have played a lot since winter in Paris, so I have no injuries. I hope I will play very good here in Perth," he said.
"I have never played here. It’s nice conditions, it’s good to prepare and it’s good to get ready for Melbourne, so that’s why I came here to play in Hopman Cup.
"I’ve played a lot in Brisbane, I’ve played two or three times, so I wanted to change a little bit. I’m young, 25, so I wanted to try something different, so I plan a change and it’s very good to be here."
While certainly not an experienced campaigner in mixed doubles, Gasquet did play it at Roland Garros in 2004 and won alongside Tatiana Golovin, so he will certainly be hoping to revive some of that form this week teaming with Bartoli.
"It’s true I played one time in mixed doubles, I won, and I won Roland Garros so I think I like it," he said.
"I’ve never lost in mixed doubles, so yeah I am confident with mixed doubles for sure."
As for his ambitions in 2012, Gasquet would certainly like to get back into the world's top 10. He has been there before and in fact was ranked as high as No. 7 back in 2007.
The 25-year-old not only possesses perhaps the best one-handed backhand in the game, but a strong overall game as well and after a solid 2011 season, there's no reason he can't achieve what he wants during 2012 either.
"I will try to break into the top 10," he said.
"I did it some years ago and I was not far off this year too, so I think I am able to do it again this year in 2012."
Gasquet has also spent some time this week in Perth hitting with West Australian world No. 80 Matthew Ebden and he has enjoyed that experience.
"Yeah for sure it’s nice to play with him, he’s a great player – he’s 80 in the world," Gasquet said.
"So he’s still young and it’s good fun to practice with him. He’s one of the best in Australia, so for sure it’s good to practice with this kind of guy."