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Full Court Press – Tennis Canada




The dictionary defines a press junket as a party or other event held for journalists to announce a new movie, usually attended by the movie stars.

On the press day of the National Bank Open, it is the ATP players who are the stars.

The Sunday before the main draw starts is generally a very busy day for the members of the media, who want to get in as many interviews as possible over the next week.

Press conference Tsitsipas
Pascal Ratthe/Tennis Canada

The commentators from the TV stations that have the broadcasting rights actually have twice as much work.

They attend the press conferences and also have ten minutes one-on-one with the players to ask them more specific questions. The goal is to broadcast fragments for the player matches.

Between periods or when it rains, the lengthy interviews come to the rescue of the producers, who can perform them in their entirety to keep viewers interested during longer breaks.

Interviewers can also ask all players the same set of questions for a tennis vox doll with the biggest names in the game.

Back in 2019, when I was a TVA Sports commentator, I created a tailor-made questionnaire for Canadian BFFs Denis and Flix to find out how well they knew each other: what one thought of the other and whether they shared the same opinion about a particular topic. Some of the answers were surprising and the exercise was a lot of fun.

don’t forget the swag

Between two studios and three questions, the stars sign balls, rackets, shirts and posters for sponsors and fans. They play the game without blinking and even pose at the same time! (Felix has long proven himself to be a multitasker, both on and off the court).

It’s all part of being a superstar.

Edited by Nina

The discreet young woman who is in the shadows at Flixs interviews is his partner, Nina Ghaibi.

She’s behind all of World No.9s’ social media posts, from the photos on Twitter of Flix greeting his fans in Canada and around the world to the quick video montages of music seen by his hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram.

Nina knows how to turn an everyday interview or routine training into a fun movie.

You have to admire the players who join the junkets. Hearing the same questions over and over and answering them diligently and respectfully is something we should admire. Many players continue to smile and generously share details, realizing that every interviewer is different and deserves the best content possible.

Among the junkets I have participated in, Nadal, Federer, Fognini, Goffin, Monfils and even Kyrgios have always been courteous. But my favorite will always be John Isner, the affable American I described as the perfect gentle giant.

Even though he’s been asked a million times for these kinds of pictures, he did it with a smile and understood his role as an idol. On and off the track.

Just for reference, I’m 59.




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