***Paul Cadieux is the general manager since 2001 of Nuns’ Island Tennis Club in Montreal which has over 20 indoor courts and was recognized in Tennis Canada’s Excellence Awards last year as Club of the Year. He has coached for 25 years with long time well-known Quebec coaches Denis Lamoureux et Denis Crotty at SANI Sport. He developed his own tennis school at Complexe Sportif Longueuil which he ran for for 5 years. He worked with Louis Cayer for 5 years, as the Head Pro at the Nuns’ Island Tennis Club. He was involved in the development of good competitive juniors such as Sébastien Lareau, Philippe et Sébastien Leblanc, Marc Leclair and others. He presently has over 400 juniors in the club’s junior school “Smash Club” , a Tennis Canada Gold tennis club and the PTR club of the year for 2010. To learn more about the Nuns’ Island Tennis Club, please click here.***
ONcourt: Over 25 years you have seen a lot of changes in Quebec tennis, what has marked you the most?
Paul Cadieux: First, the decrease in all the Quebec clubs. Clubs used to have 2000 or more members. And now we are lucky to have 60% of that amount. The closure of several clubs like Val des Arbres, West Island, Rockland St Laurent and the financial difficulties of many others show a definite trend.
The second has been the role of the Academies in the club. Clubs accepted to have independent schools which ended up creating financial difficulties for clubs as they were not in control of the quality of the services and of the staff of the academies. In our situation the club always received the blame for the lack of organization or services.
There is always the problem of juniors being integrated into the club with the adults. We have to take care of the adult membership and programs. At certain times the junior program affects the adults (noise…). Also, unfortunately, many coaches do not understand the business aspects of the club. Some pros think they own the clientele (members). They look more for what is good for them but they forget what is good for the club. They forget that their customers are there first and foremost as members of the club. I also find the quality of coaches is going down, especially their commitment. It’s really difficult to find good staff.
ONcourt: Has the creation of the National Center helped you, your club and your players?
Paul Cadieux: Let’s face it – the resulting tug of war regarding the ownership of the player is not in the best interest of the player, the club or Canadian tennis. World Champion cross country skier Pierre Harvey came out in the papers recently as being against the concept of national centers and having to send his son to BC to train. His son has become an international level athlete without joining the team.
When we have succeeded in Canada it has not been because of the Federations.
ONcourt: How do you finance scholarships and services for your tennis school?
Paul Cadieux: Thanks to Tennis Canada, we have started to raise money through their foundation. Last year we raised over $75,000 in our first year thanks to Rona, corporate sponsors, individual members, a Calcutta, cocktails, dinner, a silent auction [good prizes, like trip for Indian Wells tournament, all inclusive).
The hardest is to sell the reason for the fundraiser (tennis does not touch people like health issues). Our goal is to raise $350,000 over the next 5 years, and to develop program for municipalities and school for young kids 5 to 7 years old.
One of the best programs in Quebec is the “Les Petits As Banque Nationale” which provides 60 hours of tennis for $300 [at a cost of $5 per hour to the parent]. This type of program will give us a chance to regrow the game, the membership and the clubs.