© Ella Ling

Richard Gasquet

Top 10 women behind the men: No 7


Continuing our countdown of the top 10 women behind the men:

Maryse Gasquet (Richard Gasquet).

Richard Gasquet’s mother has had her critics. This is what the Guardian observed after seeing her walking towards the Wimbledon practice courts with her son: “Richard Gasquet sauntered slowly through the All England Club towards the practice courts, accompanied by his mother Maryse. It would not have been surprising had baguettes been tucked under their arms, for herein lies a family relationship that many in France believe has led to so many of Gasquet’s troubles – namely that his family have stifled him emotionally and never really allowed him to grow up.”

But no one would dispute that Gasquet’s mother, along with his father Francis, have been hugely influential on the Frenchman’s career. If Gasquet’s parents had not been tennis coaches, it is questionable whether Richard would ever have taken to the sport. Or whether he would have appeared, at the age of nine, on the cover of France’s tennis magazine with the caption: ‘Is Richard G the champion France is eagerly waiting for?’ (Though many would suggest that his fame before his tenth birthday harmed him more than it helped him). And would he have such a fabulous one-handed backhand? Even after Gasquet graduated on to the main tour, he was sometimes still accompanied by his mother. Some wondered whether she was suffocating him, others considered that she was simply giving him the support and encouragement that he needed.