Richard Gasquet joins Murray, del Potro and Nishikori after..

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Richard Gasquet joins Murray, del Potro and Nishikori after..

The first Major of the season in Melbourne kicks off on January 20 and the players have been preparing on the practice courts like Roger Federer, ATP tournaments or the ATP Cup that ended on Sunday. Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Juan Martin del Potro are the most notable players who will skip the Australian Open, joined by a former world no.

7 Richard Gasquet, who has been sidelined since Basel last October. Struggling with a knee injury, Richard had to skip the home Paris Masters and the Davis Cup Finals, hoping to recover ahead of 2020 season but having to withdraw from both Doha, Kooyong Classic and the Australian Open, skipping the opening Major of the season for the second straight year.

The injury-prone Frenchman scored only 17 wins in 2019, finishing outside the top-60 for the first time since 2004 when he was still 18 and reaching only two semi-finals, not enough for a batter ranking position! Richard had to skip the opening four months of the previous year as well after undergoing groin surgery in January, returning to the court in Madrid and failing to make an impression in the first four tournaments on clay.

In June, Richard dropped out from the top-50 for the first time in nine years after failing to defend the title in 's-Hertogenbosch (lost in the semis), unable to find form and experiencing early losses in Halle, Wimbledon, Bastad, Hamburg and Kitzbuhel to drop further and further down the ranking list.

In Montreal and Cincinnati, Gasquet finally found his best tennis, scoring six wins in total and advancing into the semi-final in Ohio, his first at the Masters 1000 level since Miami 2013. By the end of the year, Gasquet signed to play only six tournaments and the results were not there, scoring two victories and skipping all the action after Basel.

During his 14 Australian Open campaigns (made a debut in 2003 at the age of 16), Richard lost in the fourth round on four occasions, earning 24 wins overall and not playing down under since the third-round loss to Roger Federer in 2018.