ONcourt Interview: Yves Boulais


*** I first met Yves Boulais when he was working with Louis Cayer in Montreal. I quickly realized his gifts as a coach who was very knowledgeable but who more than anything was confident and did not put up with any nonsense in the players he coached. It was only a matter of time before we recruited him to head All-Canadian Academy at York University. Rene Simpson, Helen Kelesi, Sonja Jeyaseelan and Patricia Hy were all in the program. He became an obvious choice as my Fed Cup coach. He then became the captain of the team. During this period he married Patricia Hy and guided her to a quarter final performance at the US Open. They now live in Atlanta with their two children. ***


ONcourt: Okay Yves, you have seen a lot over the years, and when I say you’ve seen a lot I mean you’ve been the head of academies, you’ve coached a player that’s gotten to the quarterfinals of the US Open, you married a player that got to the quarterfinals of the US Open, you’ve coached your wife [Canadian Hall of Fame member Patricia Hy] and so forth so you’ve gone through a lot. Tell me: what do you feel is happening now to Canadian tennis which is so positive with so many good girls?

Yves Boulais: Well, what happened I think is that there were a few girls that started to do well such as Rebecca – also you have Wozniak – who did really well which started a bit of a trend. And then obviously with the junior players that are doing well and building confidence around that – the other Canadians started to realize that they can play.

We have always been very fortunate from the coaching aspect of it but the belief in the girls was not always there. I think right now that we have a group of girls that believe that they can do very well and therefore that’s what we see, a lot more results right now.

ONcourt: In your work with Tennis Canada who are you responsible for?

YB: Well right now I was with Eugenie Bouchard until the US Open. After the US Open I did six months that started in January. Right now I’m with Rebecca Marino.

ONcourt: Tell me a little bit about Rebecca because a lot of people in this area don’t know, we’re not from Vancouver, so we don’t know – tell me what is happening with Rebecca – what do you think her goals are and how are you going about developing the next steps?

YB: Well, Rebecca, I’ve known her for a long time. I’ve worked with her since she was about 14 until the age of 18 (not full time but quite often) and so I know her very well. What happened I think is she got to a very high ranking level and I think she got a little bit overwhelmed with the situation – I’m assuming but maybe Rebecca can tell you better. She needed to take a little break from competition which was a smart thing to do and right now she’s just getting back at it and it’s one step at a time. She’s doing better and better every match, you can see the confidence building and I think right now she’s doing it on her own terms and loving it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her back there better in a very short period of time.

ONcourt: Okay, so, exactly you’re saying she could be back. How long do you think before she could be back at that level?

YB: Well, level-wise, she has the skills. Obviously after that there are some things that are going to make it happen or not like depending on whether she can get through a few good tournaments, as obviously her ranking took a big drop from 34 to the 400’s. The thing is right now it’s tough for her as she always end up playing seeded players early as her ranking is not good enough to be seeded. She needs wins to build her confidence back up.
I think within a year and a half she should be right back where she was.

ONcourt: now, let’s change the subject. Yves Boulais, Patricia Hy, what’s happening in their lives? What’s happening with their kids? We hear these rumours that the kids are players?

YB: Actually our kids are very involved in the whole US competitive structure. They love playing, mom and dad are tennis coaches and they are tennis players. Patricia and I have just moved to Atlanta where we are starting a new Academy. We are very excited at the prospect of being in one of the great tennis cities in the US.

ONcourt: Last question is the most difficult one: who is harder to coach your wife or your kids?

YB: Pierre that is a loaded question. I am going to get in trouble one way or another if I give you an answer. Let’s say it’s a great experience, very rewarding, with some difficulties….at times….very seldom…AH! AH!

ONcourt: Thanks Yves

YB: As always it’s a pleasure

A deeper dive into second serve statistics

The two most widely reported second serve statistics in professional tennis are the number of double faults a player hit, and their second serve winning percentage. If we’re trying to understand the effectiveness of a particular player’s second serve, relying only on those statistics has significant drawbacks. Article by Michal Kokta.

Yves Boulais: No Excuses… Get Working

Yves was proud to work with players including Greg Rudsedski, Patricia Hy, Oliver Marach, Eugenie Bouchard and Rebecca Marino, who achieved excellent results on the world stage. He was an Olympic Coach in Barcelona 1992 & Atlanta 1996, and Captain of the Canadian FedCup Team 1998 – 2000.

Update on UK Tennis Situation with Master Louis Cayer

I would like to share a mindset I instil in all the players I coach, one I believe has greatly influenced all of the player’s performances; “whatever happens, I can handle it.” This mindset is achieved through a systematic, tactical development process, so that whoever the opponent, whatever the surface, regardless of the environment, or scoring, the players can, and will rise to the challenge as it is presented.