Former top 10 player Guy Forget swapped the Davis Cup captaincy for the role as tournament director of the Paris Masters this year and explains what goes in to running a successful event.
Be prepared for anything and everything
I get there before the match starts, probably an hour before the first match – so I don’t drink too much wine the night before. I’m pretty tired at the end of the day and wine makes me sleepy. I make sure everything is in the right place for the first match. I usually follow the beginning of the first match; then I have quite a lot of interviews, between three and six a day – which is fine – because I like it, I like talking about the event and the game that I love. I leave after the last match is over. So often you leave here at about midnight, you‘re in bed by 1.30/2 and then you have to wake up at maybe 8 or 7.30, but it’s exciting, I can’t complain.
Make sure everyone’s happy
I have some meetings with some players, some ATP people, some staff, on all the things that we’ve put in place and that can be improved, whether it’s food, whether it’s services, transportation, hotels, practice. Before the tournament, we talk about wildcards, singles, doubles, qualifying. Basically, all the little things that every service might encounter – they ask me this is what we want to do, what do you think about it? So I give my input and my view on some of the problems we might face. I spend a lot of time with the sponsors, too. A tournament like this one, you do not exist if you don’t have partners. So you have to make sure your partners are happy with the way things are going.
Work hard to get the schedule right
At the end of the tournament it’s easier but the first few days, it’s not a nightmare, but sometimes, to deal with players playing singles, doubles and which court and the one that has injuries, or don’t want to play too late, too early. About five of us make the daily schedule. Luckily we all agree after about an hour.
Plannng is an ongoing process. Because when you speak to a partner, a sponsor, you’re already talking about how can we serve you better, how can we do better? You’re talking about now, tomorrow, next year. Talking to players is the same thing. You want them to feel like they came to Paris and enjoyed the food, practice was good, they played well, their wives were happy being in Paris, which is always a positive sign. And then you have a permanent relationship with the ATP and the people making the decisions. If they feel that you are there and you care about your tournament, they’ll be there to help you, I guess.