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August 11, 2019

Eugene Lapierre

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English for Eugene.

Q. My usual question about the Olympics.
EUGENE LAPIERRE: Every four years (smiling).

Q. This time it's probably easier.

Q. There's a bit of a buffer. Is there any sort of contingency, anything you have to put in place next year to account for the Olympics?
EUGENE LAPIERRE: We'll see. We're starting to talk about maybe transportation. That would be one element we'll look at.

The way it works, maybe for the benefit of everyone else, there would be the Olympics, the two weeks of Olympics ends, then Montreal starts. But tennis is in the first week of the Olympics, so basically there's one full week in between.

It's still almost like I guess 12 hours' time difference, so that's the main point. You have to come back early, quick, to get accustomed to the time zone here. That will be the focus. Technically it should be okay.

At the same time it's a lot of tennis. It's after the spring, the long clay season, the short but intense grass season, then just a couple of weeks. Then the Olympics, then one week and they come here, Cincinnati, this or that. It's going to be a tough summer for the competitors.

At the same time we don't know who's going to be playing the Olympics, yeah. Some players may be doing some choices anyway. But we expect they will want to come back quickly in North America and get ready for the US Open coming and so on.

That's the situation.

Q. You talk a let about the various episodes that take place during the tournament, the Khachanov thing. How much tennis do you actually get to watch during the tournament?
EUGENE LAPIERRE: I do get a piece of the action, not the full match. There's some that I want to see a little bit more.

I tell you what, one guy I didn't see this week is Medvedev. I've seen him play before, but I saw that he improved his play tremendously. I could see he was like a wall out there. I'm going to watch that one.

But, see, I didn't get to see any of the matches on National Bank Court this year. Usually I want to go and take a peek on how it's going. Somehow I must have seen a little bit less matches than usual this year, which I'll try to correct that next year.

Q. With regards to the venue, we know about the roof, the efforts you're trying to make to get the roof in place in the foreseeable future. Is there anything else you would like to do in terms of major developments, apart from the small bits and pieces?
EUGENE LAPIERRE: So many things. So many things. The problem is always it's a capital investment. The things we would like to do, we would like to maybe get more of this building, maybe adding some space to it towards the back. I don't even know if it's feasible. I started to talk to the city about it and see how we could do this.

The grounds themselves, I don't know if you see the grass, but actually nobody can see the grass because it's non-existing. We try to cover some space and everything. That's a huge investment to just redo the flooring.

At the same time there may be other areas we want to improve, like the sky lounges. Well, we didn't get so much rain this year, but it's tough to keep those lounges from dripping when it rains. We need to seal the stadium somehow. Once we get a roof, it's okay, we don't have to seal anything any more.

What else? What else do we have on the list of things? When we do our team workshops, we have a long list of stuff we want to do. It's things that people would not see like getting more water and electricity out on the field so you can better service the clients when they want food and drinks and so on, things like that.

We need to improve seating around the secondary courts a great deal. We had a shortage of seating this year. We need to do that.

We need to increase the logistics around the parking situation. I mean, that would be capital, but we want to do this. Maybe more shuttles to outside parking areas. I'm just taking stuff out of my head. There's a long list of things we can do to improve on both sides.

The two things that are very important that we try to improve every year is the client experience and the player experience - not the media experience, sorry (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

Q. For the 40th edition, did we learn new things?
EUGENE LAPIERRE: We always learn a lot during the tournament. We have proof of that this year again. I would note in particular that the story was around the Canadian players this year. Even after seeing them in the four same lines of the draw, we saw there was great potential there. We have good years ahead of us seeing those Canadians. We are happy about that.

There's also the domination of Rafael Nadal. It's good to have him in Montreal. He loves the city. He loves playing here. We have him in the final once again with maybe a fifth title for him. So I thought it was interesting.

But the big winners are the Montreal fans. The atmosphere was great for the whole week, starting on the Friday when the players came to practice. There was also the qually weekend, then the sessions. This is what makes us special on the tour.

I was listening to the report from the ATP supervisors on the tournament. It's only positive. They were highlighting this fact. They said it was the organization of the tournament. I believe it's because of the fans, not the organization.

They were noting the fact that they came in numbers. On Sunday morning of the qualifications, the line was down the road. We are used to that here. I believe the players feel they are appreciated, and this counts a lot.

Q. While we are waiting for the next developments for the roof, the Montreal tournament needs to stay ahead of the parade. What did the tournament do to stay in that position in 2019?
EUGENE LAPIERRE: Well, we improved the conditions for the players. You might not see that, but we made the gym bigger because the players want to sleep well, to eat well, and to be able to prepare well for the matches. They need to practice. We made the gym bigger.

We made sure the food was okay. Food is very important. They have special things for them. They have a special area where they can eat. They can also eat upstairs. Everything was satisfactory there.

The semifinalists and the finalists now have a jet for going to Cincinnati because it's not convenient to travel from here to Cincinnati. They lose a whole night. Now they can leave the same evening and go to Cincinnati. This is what we've done for the players.

For the spectators, we improved a lot also. We'll see the results of that. But we improved the catering with more food trucks, more catering areas, more bars for refreshments and beverages.

There's also more shady areas because it's hot. People don't want to stay in the stands in the sun all the time. So we tried to have more shade. We improved the logistics for parking.

Some things might need great investments, but the way we are doing things with our team is to look at the details. This morning, before 9:00, we were walking around the stadium and taking notes.

People love the site. All week they've been telling me how beautiful it was. But we do see the small details that are wrong, and we take notes, and we are going to improve them for next year.

Q. The final is still to be played, but can you tell us about a particular moment you noted during this tournament, or a player?
EUGENE LAPIERRE: I very much liked Felix's match against Khachanov. Khachanov himself at the end of his second match said about the crowd, Yesterday it was not so good, but today you were great. I thought it was fun. It's interesting to see the players with a strong personality who are able to express it.

I have not been able to see all the matches, but this match with Felix was crucial for me because we knew about the high pressure Felix had. He made it through his first two matches with some difficulties. There he was playing against a top-10 player. It's a real test. It was important for him.

It was, in my view, closer than the score might say. I remember a specific moment when he was up 2-1 in the second set serving. It was 15-40. He was able to come back. He had advantage two or three times. If he had been able to convert, we don't know what would have happened. This shows how close he was. It's going to be fun to see the following months and years with him.

This is my memory from this tournament.

Q. Before the beginning of the tournament, you were saying you were going to break new records for the attendance. Sales have exploded. We don't have the official figures yet. What can you tell us about the attendance?
EUGENE LAPIERRE: Things are going well. I can tell you now we are going to break the record. We should be beyond 220,000. This is including zero spectators for last night, for Session 14. We would have broken the record by far. Now it's going to be by a few thousand. During the whole week there were many people on the site and we are very happy.

Q. Each year Rogers Cup breaks the record. How can you explain the success?
EUGENE LAPIERRE: There are more fans, more tennis fans, more people coming. Of course, we want that success every year. We try for it.

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