The win also makes Gasquet the oldest men’s champion in the 66-year event history … Haresh Ramchandani, Tennis Majors, 14 January 2023

By Roger Childs

The men’s finalists

The 2023 ASB tennis tournaments have been plagued by wet weather, however, finals day for the men was blessed with fine conditions. In the singles final second seed Cameron Norrie was up against the unseeded, but very experienced 36 year old Frenchman, Richard Gasquet. Norrie was the sentimental favourite as he spent thirteen years in Auckland after his parents moved from South Africa when Cam was three. He now lives in London.

As the world’s number 12 ranked player he was expected to win and the packed stadium anticipated that outcome.

Coming from behind

Norrie broke Gasquet’s service early in the first set and won it 6-4. But although down, Frenchman was not out. He came back in the second set to take it 6-4. In the decider Norrie raced out to a 3-0 lead and seemed certain to take the title. The standard of the tennis thrilled the big crowd as both players demonstrated strong serves and powerful ground strokes. There were plenty of exciting rallies which often ended with delicate, well-placed volleys.   

Having lost his first service game in the third set, Gasquet rallied and took the score to 4-4. Norrie seemed to relax against the determined Frenchman and uncharacteristic unforced errors slipped into his game.

 Gasquet made fewer mistakes and won the championship with a 6-4 score in the deciding set, having taken six of the last seven games.

It’s an amazing title for me. Especially now, at my age. It’s unexpected. I really didn’t think I would win again.

Both players now compete in the Australian Open in Melbourne starting today.