Photo: Martin Sidorjak
Rafael Nadal’s return may not have gone according to plan, but Richard Legendre’s return to TV is not only confirmed but well underway.
This week, he’s back at the IGA Stadium he built as a tennis analyst for TVA Sports, replacing the recently retired Réjean Genois.
He’s always stayed close the action, returning every year as an avid spectator “without a walkie-talkie,” as he puts it. Now, he’s going back to work there for the first time in 21 years.
“I left in March 2001,” said the former director of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers for 13 years. He was then appointed minister of sports and executive vice-president of the Impact soccer team. Eugène Lapierre took his place 21 years ago. “Hats off to him!” he said, congratulating his successor.
Time may have flown by, but Richard Legendre’s passion for tennis is as strong as ever.
Of course, he’d also have liked to see Rafa in shape and in action on the courts.
“You know, Rafa at 80%, that just doesn’t work,” he said, well aware of all the energy Nadal has to expend to win.
Rafa or no Rafa, Richard Legendre remains enthusiastic about the very high level of competition in Montréal.
“At this tournament, everyone’s hungry. When the second half of the season starts, everyone wants to start strong,” he said.
Our studious analyst was doing his homework when I got in touch with him for this interview, and his research has yielded some revealing findings.
“The average age of the top eight seeds with Félix (Auger-Aliassime) in the group isn’t even 23. It’s 22.7. That’s young, very young. Daniil Medvedev is the oldest, and he’s only 26. What the public is about to see is the most modern tennis. It’s exciting. Félix could win,” he continued.
As we talk, Richard Legendre mentions another reality tennis can’t escape.
“We’ll have to see, but when you think about the big three, Rafa, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic certainly have less time left. That’s why I see this year’s National Bank Open as an opportunity to discover the tennis of the future,” he concluded.
At IGA Stadium or in our living rooms with Richard Legendre on duty on TVA Sports, there’s still plenty of interest.
Have a great week of tennis!