The Daily Spin

L'Affaire de Gasquet: Most untimely coach-player split ever?

Monday, November 11, 2013 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

Pity poor Richard Gasquet.

The Frenchman all but hung his head—oh wait, he did that also—this week at the ATP World Tour Finals in London's O2 Arena. He didn't win a round-robin match against the game's elite stars. (Then again, the guy did have to play Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer back to back.) On the evening of his last match in the event, his coach, Riccardo Piatti, ditched him for presumably greener pastures, whether or not that terrain involves advising another tennis pro.

After two years at the helm of Gasquet's development, and in a year in which the workhorse made good on his race to clinch a spot in the showcase London finale, Piatti has seemingly abandoned his charge. Gasquet rightly deflected queries about Piatti's disappearance to the coach who himself unceremoniously quit. To be sure, Piatti needs to own this defection of sorts.

We won't go so far as to say that Gasquet deserves it, in a karmic sense of the world, for how he spoke recently about Marion Bartoli. Even so, it must sting to be on the short end of the stick before once more wielding his battleaxe backhand this season.

Granted, Gasquet does have former top pro Sebastien Grosjean on his side. Still, that compatriot wasn't playing a lead role in Gasquet's career. It's hard to see how he might take his advisee's repertoire to yet another level—and that's just what he needs.

The Spin got to thinking: He's coached two other stars, both of them all-timers at that, who had gorgeous one-handed backhands—what about Paul Annacone as Gasquet's next co-lead? Stranger things have happened.

What do you make of Piatti's apparently out-of-the-blue departure? Have you heard of similarly untimely coach-player splits? Well, there was Jimmy Connors's fleeting stay in Maria Sharapova's camp—but now that seems a blip on the radar of this 2013 season, and in light of the fact that the Russian hasn't lifted a racquet for a sanctioned WTA tour match since the breakage.

Got a thought, a tip, or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter @jonscott9.

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