Sooner or later, we’re going to have to face facts: the illustrious Eugène Lapierre has left the helm of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers.
He’s no doubt immortal, and so we hoped his tenure as the tournament’s big boss would never end. Nonetheless, after 21 years of loyal service, he chose a different direction.
But he didn’t quit tennis—far from it. He embarked on his (semi)retirement as an advisor to the President and CEO of Tennis Canada and Québec’s Davis Cup storyteller. As far as projects go, he’s created myriad opportunities for himself, from leading initiatives to install domes over outdoor tennis courts so players can enjoy the game year-round to introducing as many people as possible to his beloved sport, urging youth to make tennis a sport for their lifetime and, of course, proffering his knowledge and lush locks to the media, which swears only by him. Those are his plans, and he’ll carry them out with the same mastery he’s always demonstrated.
Though he’s risen to great heights, he’s always remained a mild-mannered rabble-rouser. The glory and honours never clouded his deep-rooted avant-garde approach to life.
Let’s not forget that Eugène holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. It takes a profound understanding of the human psyche to lead such a vast group of employees and volunteers for so many years, and he did it so deftly that it makes you wonder whether the job was easy or he was just meant for it. It may seem like a big step for a boy from Granby who started out as a tennis court attendant, but he never saw it that way.
On the court, he was outstanding. So much so that he earned a full scholarship to Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, and competed on international tours with his friend Richard Legendre in Europe.
Back on home soil, he put his sports management skills to the test as a coach at Interplus in Granby and TenniSport in Québec and as the assistant director of the Tennis Alcan tour.
He then very capably worked his way up and served as Tennis Québec’s technical director for a decade, until Richard Legendre offered him a position at Tennis Canada.
From 1993 to 2001, Eugène was second-in-command during the overhaul of IGA Stadium, all the while exerting his influence behind the scenes.
When his mentor felt the call of political life, Eugène naturally and effectively took the reins with aplomb.
For 21 years, he charmed the public, players, employees, volunteers, media, artists and athletes of all stripes. He’s a tennis intellectual who left his mark on Montréal. As time went on, his tournament took its place as the city’s headlining event of the summer, relentlessly shattering every attendance record. A phenomenal success.
Throughout his extraordinary career, he’s always remained true to himself. And that’s one of his greatest qualities. There’s only one Eugène Lapierre, in his life and work.
But it’s time to come to terms with his decision, as Eugène turns yet another page in the mammoth encyclopedia he’s spent his career compiling.