***Martin Laurendeau has been the Miele Canadian Davis Cup team captain since 2004 and has led the squad to victory in five ties in that time including sweeps of Colombia (2007) and Venezuela (2005). He also serves as a national coach for Tennis Canada, overseeing the transition program for elite high performance male athletes from junior to professional tennis.
Laurendeau enjoyed a successful singles career highlighted by a six-year run as a member of Canada’s Davis Cup team and an inclusion on the Canadian Olympic team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He also had tremendous success on the ATP World Tour, climbing as high as No. 90. At the 1988 US Open, he became the first Canadian in the Open Era to advance to the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament. He also reached the third round at Wimbledon in 1991 and the second round at Rogers Cup three times (1987, 1989 and 1990). He was named Player of the Year in Quebec from 1986-1988 and received the Tennis Canada Excellence Award for Most Improved Player of the Year in 1986.***
Biography curiosity of Tennis Canada
OC: Marty you have been involved with Davis Cup for quite some time, when was you first DC experience?
ML: My first DC experience as player was ’86 in Peru.
OC: Marty, first of all congratulations to you and your team on what has happened to date in 2013.
ML: Thanks a lot Pierre, this year has been fantastic for our team, twice reaching rounds never before attained and doing so beating higher ranked teams at home to boot, that was icing on the cake. We had a window of opportunities for our guys to grab and they did so convincingly and brilliantly.
OC: How have you been preparing for this upcoming gigantic event in Belgrade?
ML: This is a big contrast from the first Tie of the year, when it’s scheduled early in the calendar right after the off season and with few opportunities to get a lot of tournaments under their belts. This next one is at the end of the summer stretch and in the year’s 9th month of play, so the guys have played a lot of tennis. And they’ve had a good summer, playing a lot of matches, so it’s the best preparation really, to compete a lot. We need to ensure our guys a fresh, hungry and most importantly healthy.
OC: What do you see as some of the key points which will determine the outcome of this semi-final tie?
ML: As in many ties, the doubles will be key. Down 2-0, it gives you hope, as it did in Ecuador when we began this winning run 2 years ago. At 1 all, it gives you the lead and 2 chances to close. At 2-0, it clinches you the win. It’s also a great moment for us as a team, to have the great fortune to still have Nestor around and contributing, to combine him with a young guy, it’s a great combination and opportunity for our team to involve such a great champion in the process.
Also of huge importance will be how our guys will handle the conditions, mentally; we had the luxury of playing many home matches in the last 2 years. This will make it much tougher, but the key will be to step on the court still beaming with the great confidence gathered from our wins lately and play with belief we can win.
OC: What is yours and the team schedule between now and Friday September 13?
ML: We are all in NY right now, playing the US Open, pretty much the last tournament before Serbia. Hopefully the guys continue their good form and play as deep as possible. Once they’re out, it’s important to rest up a few days before hitting the clay and prepare for the tie. It’s a tight window for both teams to adjust from hard to clay but that’s the reality of the Tour, this is a Grand Slam and at this moment this is a huge tournament for all of our guys. Last Slam of the year. After this they will have to regenerate and gun for Serbia.
OC: How do you prepare yourself personally for this tie?
ML: My preparation began the moment we defeated Italy back in April. There was about 6 months between the 1/4’s in April and semis in Sept; I felt it was important I kept an eye on the team, at several tournaments, to keep track of how they fared. I didn’t want to wave them goodbye in April and hook up with them 6 months later, too much time. Many things can happen in this span, as we saw with Vasek for example. But overall I feel if I can follow the players consistently I can better understand them, if they’re going up, stalling or sometimes even temporarily down, and ensure we stay on track as a group. They all have their careers and rankings and tournaments to look after, but we’re not finished with this year in Davis Cup, we have an opportunity of a lifetime awaiting us soon and I wanted to make sure we’re ready to go as a group when the moment comes, and it very soon will.
OC: Good luck captain.
ML: Thanks for this opportunity Pierre!
Let’s do this!