Lucien Laverdure

Lucien Laverdure, coach, promoter, entrepreneur (b at Montréal 25 Sep 1915; d there 25 Dec 1976). Lucien Laverdure picked up a TENNIS racquet for the first time at around the age of 12 at the Collège Mont St-Louis, thus discovering the sport that really suited him. A recurring theme throughout his life was to share his passion with as many people as possible.

From 1933 to 1946, he taught tennis to Quebecers by organizing more than 800 exhibition matches throughout the province. Around 1934, together with Roland Longtin, he opened a sporting goods boutique on Montréal's rue Sainte-Catherine West. As the years passed, he became the sole owner of Boutique Lucien Laverdure, the first retail store in Québec to specialize in tennis.

In 1946, Laverdure was the first French Canadian to become a certified trainer at the renowned United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA). The following year, he was named head instructor for the city of Montréal, a position that allowed him not only to organize tennis lessons but also to offer the first real training in the discipline. As of 1948, by combining promotion and teaching, he set up "tennis days," and once again travelled to the 4 corners of the province giving demonstrations, workshops, conferences and film presentations during these specialized days.

In 1952, he was the first to establish the idea of an indoor club when he founded the Tennis School of the Regiment of Châteauguay in Côte-des-Neiges. In its first year, the school welcomed 57 students. Two years later, aided by two instructors, Laverdure was able to provide free tennis lessons to more than 600 young boys and girls.

Nicknamed "Mr. Tennis," Laverdure also found time to serve as the secretary for Québec's provincial Lawn Tennis Association, from 1948 to 1960. Also in 1960, he established the Montréal Tennis Club, which offered lessons to adults and youths at the Université de Montréal courts and on the municipal courts at Jarry and Lafontaine Parks. During the 1960s, this school trained 12 teachers and 135 monitors.

In 1969, Lucien Laverdure finally realized a dream by opening the Club de tennis 4 saisons in Fabreville. Here he taught "instant tennis," a method that became very popular with youth who learned the rudiments of the sport.

Like someone with a true passion, Laverdure wrote tennis columns for such French Canadian newspapers as Le Canada, La Patrie, Le Petit Journal and Le Devoir, and for a time his writings appeared in English in the Sunday Express. In 1964, in collaboration with Jean-Paul Cofsky, he published a book aptly titled: Tennis, mon obsession.

Lucien Laverdure was considered the real pioneer of indoor tennis in Québec, and dedicated over 45 years to his sport. Mr. Tennis passed away in 1976 at the age of 61.

In 1991, he was inducted into the QUÉBEC SPORTS HALL OF FAME, and 4 years later into the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame.