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Omnium: a teacher in the care of the tennis stars

Omnium: a teacher in the care of the tennis stars

Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier mainly travels on the run, his office in his backpack, searching for fascinating subjects and people. He talks to everyone and cares about every walk of life in this urban history.

Some tennis players have singer temperaments, but as a rule, even the most temperamental are always very polite to the doorman…because they know it’s best to be in good graces.

“Of course they are nice to me, because they know I’m the one with the nana!” Laughs Sophie Claremont, 41, who is interested in getting tickets to shows, booking at the best restaurants or finding rare products demanded by athletes passing through Montreal.

“It totally takes me out of my normal day-to-day professional life,” says this fine art teacher with high school students 1 and 2 at a school on the south shore of Montreal.

As a teenager, she was a ball hunter and fell in love with the event.

She now holds one of the most coveted positions among the nearly 1,200 Omnium volunteers.

The players' VIP rooms are very lively and noisy places during the early days of the tournament.

Chantal Poirier’s photo

The players’ VIP rooms are very lively and noisy places during the early days of the tournament.

I walk with her in the players’ hall. During the tournament, it will be closed to journalists: a non-media space of peace for the stars who are resting.

Does she have a pet?

“Rafael Nadal is polite and always comes to say hello and check-in when he arrives.”

“Last year’s championship winner Camila Giorgi spent her evenings playing backgammon with her volunteer drivers, and she became our sweetheart.”

famous face

MI Clermont has been working there since 2009, so players and coaches recognize her.

“It shows they are happy to find a face they recognize.”

Monday is one of his biggest days.

“Normally, on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, I do more than 12 hours.”

As eliminations progress, players depart, usually directly for Cincinnati, where the next tournament is being held.

“I, I take care of them when they have orders: so-and-so kind of soft drink is hard to find, we take care of it. So-and-so has lost his contact lenses, and we will get it.”

A service very popular with professional tennis players? Barber!

“They are so beautiful, our men!”

like in school

A few years ago, when a mistake on a welcome sheet made players (mistakenly) think they all had tickets to Coldplay,I Clermont had to resort to her own teaching methods and organize a lottery to distribute the five pairs she had among the dozen players.

“The ping-pong table is used a lot and it’s great to see two players usually competing on big courts facing each other in table tennis…and they are so competitive that table tennis quickly becomes serious business!”

Some players walk around their Nintendo Switch screaming as they instantly clash with others.

“It’s often loud and happy here because the guys want to let go of their craziness.”

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Isn’t this atmosphere reminiscent of the school atmosphere during the holidays?

“completely!” Fit MI Claremont.

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