For the first time in 21 years, Eugene Lapierre attended the National Bank Open in Montreal from the sidelines.
The longtime tournament director was not envious of the scheduling of matches faced by his successor Valerie Teterault last week. Because the rainy weather affects almost every day of the tournament.
“I feel relaxed. But I feel a strong bond with my team,” Lapierre, who remains an adviser to Tennis Canada, told The Canadian Press on Monday. “It was a very bad first week for my successor. But I think they managed everything as best we could in this situation.”
Due to the weather, Russia’s Lyudmila Samsonova was forced to play two games on Sunday. Looking visibly exhausted in the second game – the women’s singles final, 6-1, 6-0, she lost to a well-rested American Jessica Pegula, who lasted only 49 minutes.
Samsonova’s semi-finals were originally scheduled for Saturday evening. But it was postponed to Sunday, while Pegula was able to overcome the rain by playing in the first semi-final on Saturday afternoon.
The Russian rider had more than two hours between his one-hour, 43-minute win over Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, which kicked off at around 1:30 p.m. and the final at 5:30 p.m.
After losing, Samsonova said she would have liked more time between matches. “But they said it was impossible.”
Samsonova has already played twice on Friday. And believes organizers should find a way to avoid her playing twice in one day.
The National Bank Open final was postponed to Monday due to previous weather conditions. Lapierre recalled the 2010 tournament where “we didn’t hit a single ball between Saturday and Sunday” and both the semi-finals. And the final must take place on Monday.
The weather is fine on Sunday, so Lapierre doesn’t believe moving the final is a consideration.
“I think when we play we play the same everywhere. in every tournament You don’t play if it’s sunny and nice outside,” he says. “We’ve had players play two matches on the same day many times in the past.
“It just happened. [Samsonova] I think it’s quite difficult. She has a very difficult opponent in front of her.”
Lapierre said he was not involved in discussions about the time of Sunday’s match. But he points out that the afternoons and early evenings are the best times for fans and television.
“We consult everyone when these things happen. We talk to the players first, we talk to the WTA, we talk to television. and we know that fans What do you like and want, ”said La Pierre. “It’s a show. So we have to take everything into account. And I think with the same situation 100 times out of 100 we will make the same decision.
“If the player lands first and the WTA is on top and the supervisor and all organizations and it goes accordingly.”
Rybakina faced a difficult schedule of her own. She and Daria Kasatkina of Russia played their final match on a crowded Friday. With additional races after bad weather on Thursday.
The race didn’t start until 11:26 p.m. and ended with a 3 hour and 27 minute marathon that ended at almost 3 a.m.
Rybakina won but said Sunday after losing the playoff that she felt “ruined” and blamed the WTA for scheduling. “We can easily avoid the situation,” but didn’t say how to do it.
The match was scheduled for five matches at the central court that day, starting around midday.
Lapierre said it would be difficult to attract fans sooner, adding that there is usually enough time left to finish all matches in the right hour. It so happened that they took a very long time – with four out of five going in three sets.
“I can guarantee that any tournament. The world will definitely do the same,” he said. “With five matches starting 12th is good. it’s never too much It just so happened that it was an unbelievably long race.”
Despite the weather and the uncertain schedule, Tetreault, who worked on his first tournament as director, announced on Sunday that about 215,000 fans were in attendance, eclipsing the previous record of 182,000 set in 2014.
Tetreault said conversations about the roof at the IGA stadium went a long way before the pandemic. But priorities shifted after finances took a hit when the 2020 race was canceled.
Lapierre also said last Monday he did not believe building the roof was urgent because they had negotiated a 30-year deal between ATP, WTA and the City of Montreal by 2022 to ensure its viability. in the long run of the tournament
But when it rains like last week The roof soon returned to the spotlight for Tetreault.
She said that while it is not mandatory for the competition, But it could change, and Tennis Canada shouldn’t wait until then before reacting.
“Of course, Grand Slams have a roof. But even in many 1000 tournaments there is a roof. This is our competitive pressure,” she said. but can be enforced within 5 years or 10 years
“If we wait until then It will be too late to talk about it.”
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