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Montreal: August 3, 2024 - August 12, 2024
Toronto: August 4, 2024 - August 12, 2024
Montreal : August 3 - 12, 2024
Toronto : August 4 - 12, 2024

A (Busy) Day in the Life of Valérie Tétreault

Since last fall, she’s been at the helm of Montréal’s international tennis event. The very first woman to be appointed tournament director.

Valérie Tétreault, former member of the WTA and former communications director at Tennis Canada, took the reins from the illustrious Eugène Lapierre. And as you can imagine, her professional and personal life changed drastically as her already busy schedule got a lot more complex.

On July 13, Valérie gave her first press conference in her new role. It was a big day: a major media event held just a few weeks before the balls get rolling at the 2023 National Bank Open (NBO).

On the program: planning, revising, hosting, speaking, giving interview after interview after interview, running to meetings, taking calls, sitting for more interviews and rushing to more meetings.

There was no better day to tag along.

9:38 a.m.

After popping into her office at IGA Stadium, Valérie heads two blocks down the street to Fabrik8 where the press conference is to be held. An-ever caring tournament director, she walks in with coffee for everyone. 

Photo : Paul Rivard

They all sit down, and she brings them up to speed. The press conference is set to start in an hour and a half.   

Why wait nine months before her first press conference as tournament director?

“My appointment was announced on October 6, and there was a long handover with Eugène, who was so patient and efficient. I’ve been on my own for a while now, but he’s always just a phone call or email away if I need anything, and that’s very reassuring,” she explains.

Read also: Chef Antonio Park Will Bring the Flavour to Championship Weekend in Montreal

After only a few days on the job, she joined a series of day-long meetings to take stock of the 2022 edition of the NBO and prepare for 2023. All the while, she continued to oversee Tennis Canada’s communications until her successor came onboard.

Over the next few months, she attended virtual and in-person meetings in cities like Strasbourg and Monte Carlo and consolidated her ties and relationships with WTA and ATP brass. And let’s not forget the weekly tournament committee meetings and media interviews, since she’s asked to comment all major tennis news, including the NBO’s plan to offer equal prize money at its two events by 2027, which was announced on June 22.

“At this stage, there’s stress, but even more so there’s excitement, for sure. That said, we also have to prepare and plan for the next two years. First, 2024 is an Olympic year, and our tournament is during the second week of the Paris Games. We have permission from the ATP to start the main draw on Tuesday and play the final on the following Monday, so players can cross the pond. And don’t forget that they’ll have to make a super-fast transition from the clay courts at Roland-Garros to the fast courts at IGA Stadium. And, of course, in 2025, we’ll be joining the other Masters 1000 events on a 12-day calendar. We’ll increase the current 15 sessions to 25.”

10 a.m.

The team reviews the final technical and organizational details of the press event. Valérie is with Tennis Canada’s corporate communications manager Marc-Antoine Farly. No one wants a glitch or oversight to spoil this important day.

Photo : Paul Rivard

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Photo : Paul Rivard

With her experience as a tennis commentator on French-language TV and as the host of her predecessor’s press conferences, Valérie knows the ropes. A consummate professional, she gets comfortable in the space to avoid the shock of walking out to everyone staring at her.

The press conference starts at 11:20.

11:05 a.m.

Fifteen minutes ‘til showtime. As members of the media and guests find their seats, Valérie stands to the side as Marc-Antoine updates her on the last-minute changes.

Photo : Paul Rivard

With her keen attention to detail, she works with Tennis Canada’s official photographer Pascal Ratthé to ensure the federation’s partners and special guests get good visibility in the shots.

Photo : Paul Rivard

11:15 a.m.

Moments before she walks out, Valérie goes over her handwritten notes—the same ritual she followed as a WTA commentator.

Photo : Paul Rivard


It’s time, and Valérie listens for her name to be announced. She’s opened many press conferences in her career, but this one’s different.

11:30 a.m.

She becomes more and more at ease as she addresses the crowd. She even sprinkles a few jokes along the way, and the audience chuckles. The new tournament director has already won them over.

Photo : Paul Rivard

Read also: Jessica Pegula Has Made Canadian Courts Feel Like Home

Photo : Pascal Rathhé/Tennis Canada

Read also: Road to the NBO Montreal - Iga, Maria, and a wedding

Photo : Pascal Rathhé/Tennis Canada

There’s audible laughter from the crowd when Valérie comes to the topic of World No.1 Iga Swiatek. “Iga’s a phenomenon,” she says. “In 2022, from mid-February to early July, she competed in 35 matches and won them all. Way back when, I had a similar record. I didn’t lose a single match between February and July. But that’s because I didn’t play!”

11:50 a.m.

The press conference wraps up with official photos of Valérie and the tournament’s major sponsors. Then there’s the usual scrum. The entire presser was recorded, but she still answers questions as reporters, lenses and microphones swarm around her.

Photo : Pascal Rathhé/Tennis Canada

Read also: Clay and Friends Will Kick Off the Montreal Tournament In Style

Photo : Pascal Rathhé/Tennis Canada

A few minutes later, attendees hit the buffet table as Valérie sits down for a series of one-on-one interviews. It may seem somewhat redundant, but journalists often ask specific and exclusive questions so their piece stands out. It’s all part of the deal.

Photo : Paul Rivard

Read also: 2023 National Bank Open Montreal Players - Meet the Canadians

Photo : Paul Rivard

1:30 p.m.

After a quick bite with her team, Valérie heads back to IGA Stadium to catch up on emails and prepare for her afternoon and early evening meetings.

She returns a few calls, including one from the WTA to discuss a program that’s set to launch soon.

Read also: Bouchard, Sebov, and Zhao receive qualifying draw wild cards for the National Bank Open

Photo : Paul Rivard

All the paths Valérie has taken as a player, Tennis Canada’s head of communications and a TV commentator have perfectly prepared her for this tremendous step in her career. She fully understands the realities of the players, media and tournament organizers. “I use the same strategy as I do on the court: I always try to pinpoint my weaknesses to improve and also build and capitalize on my strengths,” she says. “But there’s no doubt that my switch to comms was excellent training. Still, about 40% of the job is new. There’s the dynamic with the players and their agents, not to mention the relationships with the WTA and ATP. Eugène had always been transparent with me—and that’s one of his many qualities—but he couldn’t share everything. So I’m learning at lightning speed.”

5:00 p.m.

Valérie sits down with Julie Gravel for an update on the marketing budget.

Photo : Paul Rivard

6:00 p.m.

As their meeting ends, another more important one begins. It’s three weeks out, and the heads of all the tournament committees are checking in.

Valérie’s comfortable running the meeting. She’s known most of the people in attendance for years. She truly values them, and the feeling is mutual. 

“That aspect of the new job is probably what touched me the most when I was appointed: having the employees’ support,” she says with a genuine smile.

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Photo : Paul Rivard

“The current team is a great mix of people who’ve been with us for a long time and with whom I’ve had some wonderful times and of new people who were hired after the pandemic forced us to cut staff. The new additions bring fresh ideas and points of view to the table. I really understand why Eugène always said how much this is a team effort. I’m often front and centre, but it’s all the work put in by so many people that allows me to shine and sleep soundly!”

Photo : Paul Rivard

8:00 p.m.

And since Valérie broached the subject, how have all the late nights at the office affected her personal life? It’s only natural that her new job would impact her family.

“I’d say that’s the hardest part,” she candidly admits. “Especially in this first year when I have to try to stay on track, forge ties and understand everything, I often feel as if I have to say yes to everything. But you have to take a step back. The most important thing is watching my daughter grow up. She’s isn’t three yet. When I went to Europe for a few days, it was difficult for both of us. That’s something I had to learn because I have to manage my priorities effectively.”

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Fortunately, she can count on her parents and in-laws to be there. “There’s an African proverb that says ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ That holds true in our family. We have so much support.”

Photo : collection personnelle

And making things easier—or more complicated depending on the situation—Valérie’s wife Julie also works at Tennis Canada. The upside is that the two have a shared passion, but the drawback is that there’s very little downtime. “If there are problems we didn’t resolve during the day, we get to them at suppertime. So in the weeks leading up to the tournament and especially during the ten days of the event, we work even longer hours. During the tournament, we’re often on site from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. for the entire week. Luckily, our parents are around, and that’s very reassuring. And we live very near the stadium, so we can sneak off to see our daughter several times during the day.”

Read also: Remembering Venus Williams’ Montreal Debut

It's all in a day’s work for Valérie.

Just imagine a year!

Career, work, pressure, passion, advancement, social and family life, free time—she juggles them all.

We wish her every success.

And a fantastic tournament!

Photo : Paul Rivard