*** Pierre Lamarche met up with former Canadian tennis star and now national coach Simon Larose at the Tevlin Cup recently. Lamarche and Larose have a lot in common as their families both come from the Three Rivers/Cap de la Madeleine area of Quebec and there always has been an affinity between them. ***
ONcourt: Simon, you’ve been out of tennis for a while. When did you come back and for what reason did you get out?
Simon Larose: Well I stopped playing tennis in 2005 and then I got two years out of tennis doing different things for myself, different things I never had the chance to do. And then I got into coaching and I’ve been on the sides of the women to start with Stephanie Dubois for like three years. After that I was with Rebecca Marino for a couple of years, and now I’m with Francoise [Abanda] for a year. So I’ve been on the women’s side for seven years now.
ONcourt: So Francoise is definitely a future young star. What do you think she needs to do to get to the next level?
SL: Well it’s just learning. Being out here and playing pro already at a young age I think for her is good. Learning work ethic and things to become one of the best players. She’s on the right track, it’s just a matter of keeping working hard.
ONcourt: When you travel, tell me what a typical week is.
SL: Typical week? Well it’s seven days, that’s for sure. We don’t stop working. We get two hits in, we get a gym session in, try to get some physio, if she needs a massage. The good meals in between that. Pretty hectic days but you still have a lot of time to kill but you have to be at the club. Sometimes this makes for long days.
ONcourt: How many weeks a year are you on the road?
SL: 25 weeks, I would say.
ONcourt: Other than those 25 weeks, what do you do the rest of the time? Do you work with her in Montreal?
SL: Yeah, at the National Centre in Montreal full time with her. When we get back from a trip we’ll have a couple days off and then it’s right back on the courts.
ONcourt: Let’s say in her fitness program, it’s designed by Kieren? Is that who it is?
SL: Yeah, Kieren Foy is the head guy for the fitness program for national athletes. So she goes to the gym and sees him and then when I’m on the road I get some things that he e-mails to me.
ONcourt: How intense is the fitness?
SL: It’s pretty intense. Kieren is a hardworking guy and he makes them work real hard and understand that the basis of sports is to not get injured and stay out there. He’s good for that.
ONcourt: How does Francoise react to that?
SL: She’s good. She works very hard in the gym. She’s had an injury on her shoulder for seven months she was out last year. That put things into perspective and she works really hard now.
ONcourt: Finally, from your standpoint, now you have a child – how do you feel about that and travelling?
SL: It’s not always easy but when you do what you love it goes with the job. If you can’t handle it, get out.
ONcourt: Final question is, what’s the best university in the US?
[both start laughing, Larose and Lamarche both played for Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi and were part of top ten NCAA teams]
Both: “Go Bulldogs”