***Simon Laurendeau, 41 years old, is the brother of Canadian Davis Cup Captain Martin Laurendeau, who has been a committed High Performance coach for years on the Canadian scene. Simon is often the Quebec designated coach at the Junior Nationals. He works at Nuns Island Tennis Club in Montreal and is married to Catherine. Simon’s two children are his other passion besides tennis. He is also famous for coaching the WTA star Valerie Tetreault on the Pro Tour.***
ONcourt: Simon, you were a hockey player. How did you start tennis?
Simon Laurendeau: Tennis was a family passion. I started playing at the age of 8 with great Canadian Coach Louis Cayer in his groups at Nuns Island. My dad removed me from the groups due to my behavior on court. As an alternative, I started organised hockey and played through college at Concordia University. During this time, I always loved tennis and got into coaching.
I went on to get a Master’s degree from the University in Three Rivers in leisure study. I started coaching in Magog, then to Quebec City, followed by Repentigny and then my stint with Valerie Tetreault. Now I am at Nuns Island, and I can say that I have been very lucky to work with many great Canadian coaches who have helped my own development.
ONcourt: Are you happy with the decision to make tennis your life?
Simon Laurendeau: Yes, definitely, because it gives me the opportunity to live my passion, and I have the opportunity to work with the kids. Every day you face new challenges as you are always faced with new situations. Having to come up with solutions is very stimulating. I also really enjoy the traveling opportunities.
ONcourt: Your brother, Marty, is an ATP and Davis Cup Player and Captain. Did that make it difficult for you?
Simon Laurendeau: It was difficult because I had to make a name for myself. At first, it was always Simon, Marty’s brother. He put the bar high, so I really had to step up to gain my own respect from others.
ONcourt: In a perfect world, what would you like to do in the future?
Simon Laurendeau: Helping as many kids as I can to reach their potential, teaching values, making the right decisions. Most importantly, to be the best father I can be to my two kids.
ONcourt: If you could do three things to help Canadian tennis which you obviously love, what would they be?
Simon Laurendeau: This is a good question.
1. To help transition players 16-17 to keep competing as our competitive structure does not help the ones that are not the chosen ones [by Tennis Canada].
2. To find a way to make tennis more affordable at the entry level so that more athletes are available for the long-term selection.
3. To recognize coaching as a profession and support High Performance coaches so they can give more time to the kids. Most coaches to survive and pay the mortgage must work more hours with the adults or recreational programs. It is then hard to have the proper energy to give to our athletes.