The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Brisebois: THANK YOU, MONSIEUR GENOIS!

June 29, 2022
Players practicing on Wimbledon courts

Photo: Reuters

It isn’t a chapter but an entire volume in the history of Québec tennis that’s coming to an end. 

At Tennis Québec’s annual meeting at IGA Stadium, Réjean Genois announced he was stepping down as chair after a 33-year tenure. 

Now that’s a vocation!

And let’s not forget that it was Jean-François Manibal, former executive director of Tennis Québec and recent retiree after over 40 years of dedicated service, who offered Réjean the position. 

We all know his story.

After rising as high as No.76, the NCAA scholarship holder at Florida State University and Davis Cup leader who built his career with only his iron will and that of his wife Marie chose to give back to the sport that had given him so little support. 

You can also add commentating on RDS and TVA sports networks to the list of achievements that led him to take his place among Québec and Canada’s tennis greats. 

Of all Tennis Québec’s accomplishments, which is Réjean Genois most proud of?

  • For several years, Tennis Québec has been among the province’s most successful sports federations thanks to a small but mighty team of passionate people who do a tremendous amount of work for the development of the sport. 
  • The school programs and Sports Experts and Nutrilait public tours to encourage young people to play tennis. 
  • The sense of pride seeing Félix and Leylah, who were part of the Tennis Québec teams for 10- and 12-year-olds, shine on the ATP and WTA tours.

Tennis Québec’s future is in excellent hands with executive director Andréanne Martin at the helm and newly appointed chair Christiane Bergevin. 

“In the coming decade, the interest in our sport and its popularity will be extraordinary, and Tennis Québec will be there, ready to meet this growth,” he affirmed. 

Thank you, Monsieur Genois! 

Félix vs. Rafa, part 2?

Photo: Martin Sidorjak

If all goes according to plan, one of the Wimbledon quarterfinals could be the stage for yet another showdown between Félix Auger-Aliassime and Rafael Nadal. 

The two may collide just a month after the five-set megamatch at Roland-Garros that Nadal managed to win but could have gone either way. 

But Wimbledon is different, as tennis moves from clay—Rafa’s favourite—to the green grass, where Félix (6) got as far as the quarters last year. 

But before that, FAA will face a landmine in the first round in the form of Maxime Cressy of the US, who’s currently playing better tennis than his No.60 ranking suggests.

Photo: Martin Sidorjak

There are five Canadians in the mix, though an injured Leylah Fernandez will be watching from the sidelines. 

Félix will be joined by Denis Shapovalov, who lost to titleholder Novak Djokovic in the semis last year, No.64 Bianca Andreescu, who just ousted first-seed Karolina Pliskova from the second round in Hamburg, Rebecca Marino, who’s back at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011, and doubles queen Gabriela Dabrowski.

Eugenie Bouchard, who competed in the final in 2014, declined her invitation. 

Her protected ranking due to injury entitles her to two Grand Slam entries. Because there are no points up for grabs at Wimbledon this year, she’s opting for the US Open later this summer and the AO in January 2023.

OK to coaching at IGA Stadium

New this year at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers: the ATP will allow off-court coaching at events starting the week of July 11. 

That’s right on time for the matches held from August 5 to 14 at IGA Stadium. 

Off-court coaching’s an idea that was floated around in 1999 and then dropped the following year.

This time around, the ATP is taking a page out of the WTA’s rulebook by allowing verbal communication of a few words, like watch the forehand, go to the net, etc. 

I know what you’re thinking: it’s already happening. Team Tsitsipas barely tries to hide it anymore. 

Pam Shriver is categorical: “it’s time for this.” 

Jim Courier, on the other hand, is less enthusiastic: “I consider myself a progressive but do not support this initiative. How many tennis fans have been saying for years how much more they enjoy WTA Tour matches compared to the Slams where coaching is not allowed? It is not essential to the game and is one of the things that differentiates tennis. You figure it out for yourself.” 

Peter Bodo over at tennis.com raised an interesting point that’s more about the financials of tennis, writing that “one of the most powerful arguments against allowing coaching is the advantage it gives to players, like the major stars who can afford to hire top coaching talent.” 

We’ll see for ourselves how it all plays out about a month from now. 

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