Father and Son
Date: 15 mai 2007 à 19:31:56 CEST
Sujet: Tennis (English)

In the most recent edition of French Tennis Magazine there is a series about French players and their parents or early coaches.
Richard Gasquet - Francis Gasquet (56 years, representative of the Lagardère foundation, former tennis trainer, best ranking 15/1)...

Tennis has not always been a part of my life, but from the moment the passion struck, my whole life changed. It has become full time (smiles). I have started very late. In 1974, at the age of 23, I went to a preparation centre for trainers in Port Camargue and in 1982 I left my job at the SNCF (French railway) to become a trainer in a club. Richard, who was born in 1986, has therefore grown up with a racket in his hands, in the tennis club of Sérignan, where I worked together with my wife, who herself was ranked 15 (French ranking system). Obviously, we did not raise him to become a champion (smiles). I only wanted to install in him the pleasure of playing, that he is happy on the court and this remains the same for today.

As a child, Richard watched a lot of tennis on TV and he also “worked the wall” quite a lot. It was easy to work with him. Anyway, tennis is a simple sport (I heavily disagree, M. Gasquet senior ;)), that is what I always taught him. In the categories of youngsters, he was always one or two years ahead and we made bets among us about the score for a coke after the match as a prize (smiles). As for the opponents, we fixed objectives. This one you have to beat 0, 1, 2 or 3. Even if he was not deprived of cokes anyway, because he always liked them (smiles).

I think that the first part of his career is exceptional because I did not image it that way for him. When I see him as the French number 1, as number 15 in the world or when I watch him play on the centre court of Roland Garros which made us both dream, I have to say: it is enormous. Maybe it sounds pretentious, but we never defined objectives for his career. For me, everything became more obvious at the age of 17-18. Today, I support him, I enjoy watching him, but we don’t talk too much tennis at home. Our conversations are more about his life as a man. Because what counts in my view is his personal development (he uses the rather poetic “blossoming” in the original), the balance he can find outside the courts, the rest is less important. Besides, it is the job of his coach Eric Deblicker. But in moments of doubt, Richard knows that he can count on us. After we had arrived in Paris, I handed him over (not to Deblicker, though, at that stage) and I have no regrets having done so. This is the way things are. My dream for him? That he continues to play for a long time….

Source: French Tennis Magazine, June 2007, translated by Puschkin

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