It often seems as though a Fed Cup team is four players and a captain, since they’re the ones who appear on the courts and promotional posters and at press conferences. But it takes more than players to make up a squad. Indeed, an entire army works behind the scenes. The Canadian Fed Cup team counts on a coach (Nathalie Tauziat), a physical trainer (Clément Golliet), a doctor (Pierre Messier), two physiotherapists (Carmine Felice and Larysa Krawec), a hitting partner (Hugo Di Feo) and a team manager (André Barette). Their sole mission is to use their expertise to make sure the athletes are at the top of their game when the weekend gets underway.
In our Behind the scenes series, you’ll get to know some of the people in the shadows and learn more about the supporting roles they play.
Pierre Messier – doctor
It has been five years that Montreal native Pierre Messier is the Canadian Fed Cup team doctor, but for him it feels like a lifetime. He is currently an Emergency Physician and also holds a diploma in sports medicine.
“I play a lot of sports, which is where part of my interest in sports medicine comes from. My uncle was also an Emergency Physician as well being involved in sports medicine. I wanted to follow in his footsteps. It is useful when you follow a team, to have the training in both domains. You have the expertise to deal with a multitude of situations.”
During a Fed Cup tie, he begins the week by sitting down with each player to make sure that he is aware of any injuries or changes to their health. He has gotten to know most players pretty well over the years. There are some ties that have kept him more occupied than others, sometimes the players have some lingering injuries or get hurt during a match and other times his week is less eventful.
But, he sees his role with the Fed Cup team as more than just being the doctor. Without necessarily having all of the training as a psychologist or a nutritionist, he tries to help the players in many aspects in order to optimize their performances. His goal is to create a positive environment in a sport that is often very lonely and mentally taxing.
“It becomes all about participating in the team atmosphere, in all of its components. I am a doctor by trade, but more importantly a member of the support team for these athletes. We do everything it takes to ensure that their experience is positive. The ongoing joke is that I am a professional ball boy during the week.”
In addition to working in the emergency room at Cité de la santé hospital, following the Canadian Fed Cup team, teaching courses and being one of the doctors on staff for the Montreal Canadiens, Pierre is also a proficient broomball player. Just a few days ago, his team won the National Championships.
While he has a lot on his plate, Pierre continues to enjoy the experience of being a member of the Fed Cup team.