Tennisweek.com reports that Yannick Noah has agreed to help Richard.
"Yannick Noah, father of the Chicago Bulls’ No. 1 draft pick Joakim Noah, has agreed to help French No. 1 Richard Gasquet whose game appeared to be ailing in more ways than one at the U.S. Open."
Gasquet shocked the large French entourage at Flushing Meadow by defaulting his second-round match against Donald Young without even attempting to play. He said he was suffering from a viral infection but did not look particularly sick when he turned up on site to explain his actions.
A brilliantly gifted player with one of the best backhands in the game, the 21-year-old Gasquet has frustrated his fans over the past few years by failing to live up to his potential in major tournaments. Apparently Gasquet is frustrated with himself, too, because he phoned Noah on returning to Paris from New York and asked for his help.
Speaking exclusively to Yannick Cochennec, a leading French tennis writer who has just left the French publication Tennis Magazine and is now working for Le Monde, Noah said, "I am always touched when a player calls to say, ‘Please help me.' Up to last week, I did not know Richard Gasquet very well. I listened. I took notes. I saw how he worked. It was a start. I will have to see how I can mix it in with my concert tour but it excites me to throw myself back into the world of sport."
Noah, who won the French Open in 1983, is a huge singing star in France and is booked for a nation wide tour that is scheduled to last, on and off, through next spring. A few weeks ago in Brittany, he drew a crowd of over 50,000.
Noah, who captained France to their historic Davis Cup victory over the United States in Lyon in 1992, has not been involved in tennis since a brief spell assisting Amélie Mauresmo in 2005. He is an inspirational figure and may be just what Gasquet needs to bring his considerable potential to fruition.
Raised near Bezier and coached by his father who ran a local tennis club, Gasquet was such a protégée that he was featured on the cover of Tennis Magazine at the age of nine. Gasquet has risen as high as No 12 on the ATP computer but, ironically, his two of his four ATP titles have come on grass at Nottingham in England. Recently he has been working with Eric Deblicker, one of the French Federation’s top coaches.
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