The December 2010 edition of French Tennis Magazine introduces all French DC-players by testimonies given by people close to them. This is what his father Francis, 60, director of the tennis club in Agde, has to say.
Richard is somebody very faithful to his entourage, his friends, his roots. For him, since he was small, life at home in Sérignan was something like permanent holidays. It is important for him to come back. At the time, everything was available, tennis and the sea. We did not fret about things. Richard went to the beach by bike with his friends, he played a lot of tennis, but also football and rugby in the stadium close by.
Our life was nevertheless centered about the club where I worked. It is interesting for me to have been able to transmit my passion, to be able to help him and that he could express himself socially through tennis.
Richard is very perfectionist in everything he does. At school already, he was very committed. The image I have from him as a youngster is hitting the wall endlessly, he also played mini-tennis with the guys of his age, but very soon he played with the big ones. A couple of years ago, when he started with golf he was quite frustrated as he wanted to be perfect technically instead of relaxing. Perhaps, there would be a need for him to be a bit more relaxed instead of searching perfection urgently.
Richard is also very open. He is interested in current affairs, in what happens in the world in general. Some years ago he started a correspondence course at Sciences Po (a French University with high reputation), set up by Team Lagardère. He still continues, as he wants to keep this opening towards other things and also to compensate for leaving school so early. In this course, he has a “coach” to whom he sends his homework on issues like geopolitics, the world in general. He is very interested in some countries like the US or China.
Even if - as a parent one is not best placed to be objective about one’s child - I think that Richard can sometimes be impatient and demanding towards himself and towards his entourage. With age, he got better. In life, one learns to adapt.
For him and for the whole family, the “affair” has changed many things. If something of that kind happens, one loses one’s innocence. To get over it is for me already a huge show of strength. It has given him a different look on the tennis world, his relations with others and of course his relations with the press.
I do not understand why he has sometimes such a “bad press”. Since the age of 9 and the cover of French Tennis Magazine, he has satisfied the demands of the media, he did appearances on television. He had a lot to put up with, but he has always kept great professionalism. That said, it is certain that he is not the king of communication. He is not the type to parrot prefabricated irrelevancies, but this is a choice. He is honest, that is all.
Translated by Puschkin