Tennis players take the lead on canine companions

Dogs are becoming the must-have accessory for modern tennis stars. Serena Williams regularly travels with hers in the United States, sister Venus brought her pet dog, Harold, into a press conference earlier this year, and Novak Djokovic is sometimes accompanied at tournaments by his poodle, Pierre.

Richard Gasquet and Andy Murray, who meet here today, have both had their dogs with them at the French Open. Maggie and Rusty, Murray's border terriers, have gone home now after the Scot described taking them for walkies down the Champs-Elyseés as "a little bit emotional". He explained: "There were a lot of people and smaller dogs as well. They're not the friendliest when they're on leads."

Gasquet, meanwhile, has been accompanied by his pet Alsatian, Ganso, named after a Brazilian footballer. Francis, Gasquet's father, told L'Equipe, the French sports newspaper: "Of course, Richard hasn't got a lot of time to look after him here, but he really helps him to relax when he does have time with him."

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