Like most of the major tennis tournaments around the world, the Rogers Cup in Montréal works hard to see to the players’ every whim.
No matter what that whim may be.
“Last year, there was a coach who wanted a very specific brand of coconut water,” explained Sophie Clermont, one of the leaders of the player services committee. “But we couldn’t find it. It just wasn’t available here. We searched for days and never found any.”
But according to Sophie Clermont, such extreme requests are rare and most of the players are very respectful and relaxed.
One factor may explain why.
“Technology is one of the reasons,” affirmed Clermont, who’s been part of the player services team since 2011. “I haven’t been here that long but I see a difference.”
Tickets to the tournament, time on the practice courts, restaurant reservations, airline tickets—player services takes care of it all. In fact, this year, the Rogers Cup has teamed up with a dozen local restaurants that will reserve tables for the players.
The members of the player services committee have seen it all, from anecdotes to sticky situations to disagreements.
“When the power was out last year, a player asked for the Wi-Fi password,” revealed Clermont. “We looked at her without really knowing what to say, and she quickly realized her mistake. She was a bit embarrassed. But she wasn’t the only one to have asked.”
In some cases, a simple request can turn into a nightmare. And it’s not necessarily the player’s fault.
“A few years back, Jarkko Nieminen came to see me to book his flight to Cincinnati,” she explained. “But the airline didn’t recognize his Finnish credit card. Finland just didn’t exist for them. There was every other country but not Finland. I spent hours with the airline. The other players knew what was going on and would come by and pat him on the back as a sign of support. In the end, it took 48 hours to book his ticket.”
Anything to make a player happy!