The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup


October 7, 2022

It’s far more than a change in leadership in tennis. Eugène Lapierre’s departure marks the end of Montréal’s longest tradition in professional sports. 

Sam Berger owned the Alouettes for 13 years. John McHale was the president and executive director of the Expos for 18 years. And don’t forget Sam Pollock and his nine Stanley Cup wins. He managed the Habs for 14 years.  

But Eugène outshines them all: 22 years as the director of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers and senior vice-president at Tennis Canada.  

Because he is staying on as a special advisor to CEO Michael Downey, Eugène will be spending the next two years as only a part-time retiree. 

Taking up the reins is Valérie Tétreault, and there’s no one better. She is a former WTA pro and an exceptional communications director for Tennis Canada.  

Here are a few words from Eugène himself and just some of the tributes he has received since making his announcement. 

Eugène Lapierre

Dear members of Québec’s tennis family:  

After some 30 years at Tennis Canada, including 22 as the director of the Canadian Open in Montréal, I’ve chosen to pass the torch. But I’ll only be semi-retired, since I’m staying on at Tennis Canada for two more years under the fussy title of special advisor to the CEO.   

What I want you to know is that I would like to focus on something that’s very important to me: promoting affordable year-round tennis aimed especially at young people in Québec. 

So, getting back to that proverbial torch, we’re all very fortunate that it’s going to my colleague Valérie Tétreault. At 34 years old, Valérie has all the assurance, good judgment and leadership needed to take over. A former elite athlete who was ranked as high as World No.112, she’s long since demonstrated what an excellent communicator she is. Valérie is the first woman to oversee the tournament in Montréal since it was inaugurated in 1980, and I wish her a long and serene career.  

Valérie can count on the support of Richard Quirion, who is the new director of operations, and of our very solid team in Montréal, which also includes chief revenue and marketing officer Anne Belliveau, chief financial officer Marie-Renée Boisclair and, eventually, a new head of human resources. Needless to say, they will broaden the influence of the Montréal office within Tennis Canada. I should also mention that Valérie will be collaborating with my colleague Gavin Ziv as she gets acquainted with her new position, especially with regard to her future responsibilities at the international level.  

It’s the end of a brief chapter in the history of Québec tennis—a history to which you all contributed so much. The coolest part is realizing how far we’ve come and knowing that an absolutely radiant future lies ahead.   

Réjean Genois 

Thanks to his passion for tennis, distinctive vision and talent for tackling challenges, Eugène Lapierre and his team made Montréal a player favourite on the ATP and WTA tours.  

Under his leadership, the tournament in Montréal grew into a huge and exciting happening for tennis fans across Québec. 

There’s been a lot of talk about the Big Three lately. As far as the Big Three of ATP and WTA tournament directors, my friend Eugène is definitely among them.   

Mission accomplished. 

Louis Borfiga

Even from far away, I feel a twinge of sadness. Of course, I’m affected by the news. 

Eugène is the tournament in Montréal. He is tennis in Québec; he is tennis in Canada.  

Working with Eugène means moving forward, growing and progressing! 

He made such a major contribution to the development of Canadian tennis, and he is passionate about our sport.  

Like the great visionary he has always been, he prepared for the future in such a remarkable way.  

In his new role, he will continue to support the sport that means so much to him.  

Thank you, Eugène! 

John Beddington

I am both saddened and happy to hear that Eugène is stepping down as the director of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers in Montréal.  

Saddened because it marks the end of an era but happy because Eugène deserves to step away from the front line, though he remains invested as a highly experienced advisor. 

What he accomplished over the past two decades as a tournament director who took on more and more responsibilities related to the sport of tennis in Québec and beyond is remarkable. 

His passion for tennis never wavered, and the future growth of the sport and youth involvement in tennis were constant concerns. 

Richard Legendre

A huge page has turned. 

For 22 years, Eugène kept the tournament in Montréal at the very top at a time when the competition was fiercer than ever! 

Eugène was smart, creative and dedicated to continuously enhancing the quality of the tournament and stadium facilities. 

He had the brilliant idea to build the clay courts on the second floor and make Montréal Tennis Canada’s National Tennis Centre. 

He also made Montréal one of the favourite tournaments of the world’s best tennis players! 

If Québec tennis has had such success on the world stage with players like Leylah, Félix and all the others, it is largely due to the over thirty years Eugène Lapierre dedicated to the sport. 

Yeah, a huge page has turned. And I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. 

Alain Faucher

Yes, Eugène played a key role in tennis in Québec, in Canada and especially in the city of Granby when he brought professional tennis back in 1995, with the Granby National Bank Challenger and today’s Granby National Bank Championships.  

He always supported the organizing committee and team of volunteers by being present and taking every opportunity to talk about his hometown, of which he is very proud. 

In his new role as a retiree, he will be able to continue to support the implementation of the new WTA 250 tournament, whose inaugural edition proved that Granby can meet the challenges. 

I wish our friend Eugène a happy retirement and success in his projects to continue to promote tennis among our youth. 

Martin Laurendeau

Eugène was a quiet leader in his own discreet and respectful way. He was able to delegate and create space for employees by giving them an enormous vote of confidence. He led everyone effectively, without pushing too hard or imposing too much. Like an air traffic controller, he knew the pilots were trained, responsible and professional, and he calmly coordinated things so that, at the end of the day, everything had gone safely and seamlessly.  

Even in high-pressure moments, Eugène stayed calm as only he could. He had a solution for everything! His presence alone was comforting, since he exudes the stillness and serenity of a great leader. 

His impact on tennis in Québec and Canada is considerable in every respect, and it seems he isn’t done yet! 

Jean-François Manibal

I had the pleasure and privilege of working closely with Eugène for over ten years at Tennis Québec. Happily, after he joined Tennis Canada, our professional relationship continued for more than three decades. During all those years, I got to know a passionate, dedicated, creative and generous man who, above all, is loyal to his Québec roots. While developing tennis across the country, our friend Eugène remained especially focused on the tennis development needs in Québec.   

His incontrovertible support made Tennis Québec a reference in Canada.  

I can only express my deepest thanks to the friend and colleague who enabled such growth in our sport.  

Tom Tebbutt

Eugène has always made himself available to journalists, and that is a great quality.  

When I was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Centre Court at IGA Stadium this summer, I tried to dress up—and Eugène showed up in jeans. 

I teased him, and we laughed. Eugène was the coolest tournament director in the entire world, by far! 

He has an excellent sense of humor, and I will miss all the conversations we had in his office. 

My best wishes to the kid from Granby. 

Valérie Tétreault 

It is a tremendous honour, of course, to follow in Eugène’s footsteps, since tennis has always been at the heart of his life. I am very aware that I have some big shoes to fill. 

I remember the invitation he gave me to the 2010 tournament. I guess losing to Marion Bartoli is what brought me closer to retirement, since I joined the communications team a year later! 

Eugène is genuine and always generous with his time. 

Thank you, Eugène, for being an inspirational leader. I am trying to do the same. 

Sylvain Bruneau

Eugène is known for his exceptional leadership. He was an outstanding tournament director and is a great person. I have nothing but respect for him. 

François Godbout

Yes, we are losing a good man. 

He knows tennis better than anyone, from top to bottom. He has dedicated his life to it. 

Through his passion, skill, candor and appealing modesty, he demonstrated how tennis can benefit individuals and communities. 

We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.