***Sylvie is the Director of High Performance for Quebec. She was in Burlington as the head coach for the U12 Quebec team. A Tennis Canada certified Level 4 coach, she has been developing juniors since 1985. She worked with tennis coaching guru, Louis Cayer at Nun’s Island tennis club for 25 years before starting working for Tennis Quebec.***
ONcourt: What are your observations from the 2011 ACE Cup?
Sylvie Giroux: Since a few years, I found that the level of our U12 players has been better. I find that the players are more powerful and that they play a more offensive game. We see also better athletes at a young age with very good physical abilities.
ONcourt: What are the biggest obstacles facing junior development in Quebec tennis?
Sylvie Giroux: The biggest obstacle is our competitive system. In the past few years, we had at least 5 big clubs that are not in business anymore. That means less tournament opportunity during the indoor season. Our players need to play more competitive matches. Some training centers are focused on making more money and have a tendency to forget about the players. We also need to have more young coaches in our tennis structure willing to work with the kids full time.
ONcourt: In recent national junior events there has been a shift in performance from Quebec athletes. Is it just a phase or do you believe there is other reasons for this overall decline?
Sylvie Giroux: One of the reasons is our competitive structure. The other reason is that tennis is a very expensive sport. We lose a lot of very good little athletes to soccer. Team sports are not as expensive. We are trying to find ways to make tennis more accessible to everyone.
ONcourt: In your opinion what could make junior tennis development better in Canada?
Sylvie Giroux: 1. Better competitive structure for the younger kids (because we now have more ITF tournaments in Canada). 2. More tennis facilities. 3. Finding ways to make tennis more accessible to everyone.