MONTREAL – Rare is the coach-player relationship that lasts a player's entire career these days. That sort of went out with Borg and Bergelin, and Edberg and Picard.
So the nearly four years Canadian Olympian Vasek Pospisil spent with French coach Frédéric Fontang was a seriously long-term relationship, by tennis standards.
But now, it's done. Pospisil announced Monday that he was parting ways with Fontang, 46, after nearly four years.
His announcement goes far beyond most announcements of this type, reflective of the relationship of mutual respect the two developed.
— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) August 1, 2016
By mutual agreement, Vasek and I decided to end our professional collaboration after the Toronto pic.twitter.com/CI57MGEdwt
— Frédéric Fontang (@fredfontang) August 1, 2016
Fontang, too, has nothing but superlative things to say about Pospisil as a player and a human being.
During their time together, Pospisil had some tremendous highs – a Rogers Cup semi-final, Wimbledon quarter-final and a Wimbledon doubles championship – as well as some brutally tough stretches, many caused by a series of injuries and resulting crises of confidence.
That includes this season, which has had more downs than ups and has meant that, as of today, he is ranked No. 100 in the world in singles.
The 26-year-old from Vernon, B.C. has had a lot of turnover in the ranks in the last few months. He has a new agent after a long association with Sam Duvall and Lagardère. He also parted ways with physical trainer Andres Vial a few months ago, who was one of many Pospisil worked with over the last few years. Fontang has been the constant – a good coach and, more rare in this business, a thoroughly decent man who truly cared about trying to help Pospisil be the best he could be as a player and a human being.
But a prolonged slump such as the one Pospisil has been experiencing, especially one that has come through a stretch where he has been relatively healthy – rare for him in the last few years – is going to have consequences.
Pospisil told Eh Game that he had been pondering a change for awhile, but finally made the decision after the tough loss to Gaël Monfils in the second round of the Rogers Cup last week.
Fontang, who went straight from Toronto to a well-deserved holiday, told Eh Game he would comment further after a little time has passed.
We'll have more on this from Rio.