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Pierre ‘The Bear’ Lamarche: ONcourt Story

Written by: Pierre Lamarche

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***Pierre Lamarche has been an outspoken proponent of Canadian tennis and how the sport should have a major place in the Canadian sport landscape. He believes this lofty ambition can only be achieved through the combination of success on the international professional competitive scene, with the required domestic infrastructure and a true partnership between Tennis Canada and the tennis private sector.

His comments are often taken as critical by those who feel targeted by his questions. His background as a player, coach, and leader [see background] in the sport and coaching industry warrants that his views, which are shared by many others, be given due process by anyone [or organization] who really wants to help Canadian Tennis achieve the proper national status it deserves in the sport community.

He now starts in ONcourt a series of editorials which specifically provides thoughts for reflection on how to make Canada a tennis superpower.***

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In the late 1980’s, Kenneth D. Sinclair, the tournament Director for the Canadian Open was responsible for creating a print newspaper to market the Open. The first editor for ONcourt was a former top junior and collegiate player, Pat Sinclair, his daughter. Under her management the little paper quickly became the voice of Canadian tennis.

Fourhand II, a tennis management company, responsible for the creation, design and operation of a WTA event at Jarry Park in Montreal [the start of the present Rogers Event] became the publishers and owners of ONcourt in the early 1990’s. Tom Tebbutt, long time tennis writer for the Globe and Mail followed Sinclair as the editor. The paper grew in scope covering squash as well as national and international tennis. Canadian content and the marketing of the Canadian game became an important component of the paper.

ONcourt, through its editorials, also became a vehicle for discussions, interactions and change. The paper was used to create a new landscape for tennis development in this country. Many of the editorials dealt with issues which are as relevant today as back then: the need for more players, courts and especially tournaments, the need for better players and coaches, the need for cooperation between the private and public sector [most important] and the need for financing.

Tom Mayenknecht, the communications director for Tennis Canada succeeded Tebbutt as the editor of ONcourt. He glamorized the Canadian game, Tennis Canada and its players at a time where Canada had success on the international scene. In the mid 1990’s economic and political changes within the sport and the print industry led to a difficult period for tennis related projects in Canada.

Fourhand II and ONcourt disappeared from the Canadian tennis landscape in the mid 1990’s as financial survival for the Canadian Open became the major focus of Tennis Canada. The loss of sponsorship money from the tobacco companies, the increase in prize money from the ATP and WTA coupled with the need for a new facility at York University, basically relegated all other aspects, especially player development to the back burners.

In 2007 plans were made by All-Canadian Sports Management Inc. owner of the ONcourt name to resurrect the tennis platform, through an ezine concept. In the fall of 2007, All-Canadian went through restructuring and the launch of ONcourt was shelved. Now finally the dream of resurrecting the voice of Canadian Tennis has come.

ONcourt will be a major communication vehicle which will respect the original goals of the paper: glorifying and marketing of the Canadian game, its players, its coaches, its volunteers, its support staff and all those who participate in this great game. We want to develop a marketing vehicle which not only promotes all aspects of the sport and its human resources, but also creates an outlet where we can share information and thoughts to make this great game even better in our great country.

Tennis is a great sport and deserves to receive greater recognition in the Canadian sports landscape. ONcourt hopes to be a small catalyst that will create an under swell of support for the game and the way it is developed in this country.

Please help us grow the game, get involved, IT IS THE BEAUTIFUL GAME.

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ONcourt Interviews NGTL Co-Founder Yves Boulais

It does not matter that you get your rating playing locally or that you had spent an insidious amount of money playing the ITF junior tour tournaments. Your rating is your level of play (you get no bonus for playing more or playing far away). This allows us to break free of the ITF competitive structure potentially saving us time, money, and headache. We see this as a great opportunity to improve the logistic of our sport.

Brandon Burke (son of ACE President Doug Burke) Elected to WTA Board

As revealed in a recent news release issued by the WTA Tour – Brandon Burke has been elected to the WTA Board of Directors (to start officially in September). Oncourt got together with Brandon to delve a bit more into his background and to gain some insight into this wonderful appointment he has attained at such a young age.