Wishes come true in players lounge

TAMY EMMA PEPIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:39 PM ET

MONTREAL -- The players lounge at Uniprix Stadium offers creature comforts most of us can only dream about.

The facility was built specifically with the wealthy athlete in mind and includes a gym, massage rooms, pool tables, table tennis and even a service counter where just about every wish can be granted.

"They go, they ask and they receive," said David Gagne Cote, who is in charge of customer service during the tournament.

"If Madonna is in town and a player wants tickets, we'll find them."

The lounge gives players a chance to take out competitive frustrations on each other between matches. Foosball competitions often pit the Spaniards against the Argentines or the Americans.

Players are shuttled between the lounge, the practice court and the media room via chauffeured golf carts. Stars such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been forced to navigate a sea of rabid, autograph-seeking fans. Other lesser-known players pass through the stadium grounds completely unnoticed.

Daniel Paquette, who co-ordinates the shuttle service, says his drivers are under orders to respect a player's privacy.

"The drivers do not speak to the players," he said. "But if they ask us a question, we'll answer."

He says the prize money in tennis doesn't seem to have corrupted the athletes.

"They are all very friendly," Paquette said. "When they arrive, they always thank us and even when they don't speak the language, they will often take pains to thank us in French."


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