***Andre Binet is presently the Tournament Director for Tennis Canada at various National Junior Championships taking place in Quebec. He is a former umpire, Gold Badge International Referee/Chair Umpire and has been around the Quebec tennis scene forever always earning the respect of the players and coaches. For 45 years he was a teacher, he is now close to a Life Masters designation in Bridge and participated in the world championships of bridge where, in the same room was a player by the name of Bill Gates [Mr. Microsoft].***
ONcourt: Andre, how did you become involved in tennis?
Andre Binet: Years ago, I was the coach of the Laurentian tennis team at the Jeux du Quebec and suddenly I got nominated to be a chair umpire. From there Tennis Quebec recruited me and from there I started traveling doing ATP events and being involved with the ATP and the rest is history.
ONcourt: Over the years you must have accumulated so many memories, what are some of the best ones?
Andre Binet: The best one is the last exhibition in Montreal between Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. This was just before the code of conduct was introduced and both of them were going at each other. It was pretty insane. Of course, I have done matches with Navratilova, Agassi, Sampras and Evert, they are all great memories. One who I truly loved was Borg, I remember him at the Forum just looking at the linesman who felt much worse from the stare than if he would have been yelled at.
ONcourt: You dealt with a lot of Canadian players, who were your favorites?
Andre Binet: Bill Cowan, Rejean Genois and Marty Laurendeau were great because you could always reason with them. One of my big favorites was Andrew Sznajder. I remember one incident at the Alcan Finals in Quebec, Andrew finished his semis, I gave him the proper break but he was late for the finals. I was very upset with him and he proceeded to go out and win the finals. After the match, his coach came to me and gave me a pie which Andrew had gotten between the semis and finals, and thus the reason for him being late. How can you not love a guy who buys you a pie.
ONcourt: Thank you André. And I will finish this interview with my own Sznajder/Binet story. In my first match as Davis Cup captain [The Bear] against Uruguay, Andrew was on the court and Andre in the chair. Within the first five points, Andrew was incensed by one of the calls and got ready to approach the chair. I jumped out of my chair, told Andrew I would take care of it [this is the rule in Davis Cup] and confronted Andre in the chair. Andre looked at me with a perturbed look and said: “Pierre, Andrew is wrong that ball was clearly out”, I looked at him and said “ Andre, I know you’re right, how is your wife doing? I just want to make sure Andrew knows I have his back” he laughed and I turned to Andrew and said “ Everything is OK, let’s go”.
Andre Binet: laugh , yeah!