Team Canada is composed of a great captain and equally exceptional players who give their all while representing their country at international competitions like the Billie Jean Cup. But, we often forget about the many people behind the scenes who help the athletes perform at their best on the court.
Team Canada is fortunate to be able to count on professionals with a wide range of expertise who ensure that the players are at the top of their game, both physically and mentally: coach, fitness trainer, doctor, physiotherapist, massage therapist, etc.
In our behind the team series, we’re allowing you to get to know these people whose roles are essential to the team’s success. Today, we’re presenting Larysa Krawec, Canada’s massage therapist.
Larysa has been with Tennis Canada for the past three years and will be working her fourth event with the national squad. She has multiple jobs within the team. On match days, she ensures that all of the girls are ready to play either with pre-match treatments or any tape jobs needed.
“Throughout the week, I also see how the team is feeling (how their bodies are, any injuries), attend practices so I can see how they are moving on court. Before and after practices and training, I treat the girls, make sure they are moving well and attend to any injuries. With COVID, I haven’t seen the team in over a year, so it also allows me to catch up with them.”
Larysa makes no secret of the fact that she loves the role she plays with the athletes.
“I love that even though I am behind the scenes, what I do is important—whether it’s fixing injuries or just being part of their support system,” she explained. “Especially with everything that is going on in the world currently, as a massage therapist, I am making a small impact on trying to help people feel just a little bit better.”
In addition to her tennis activities, Larysa works at a Toronto sports clinic and is very involved with organizations such as the Toronto Blues and the Toronto Police Service soccer team. Involved in sports since the beginning of her career, she has supported a multitude of athletes from various backgrounds: National Hockey League (NHL), Canadian Football League (CFL), Athletics Canada, Italian National Ball Hockey team, etc. If her experiences seem varied, it should be noted that her skills are just as wide-ranging. After earning a degree in massage therapy in 2009, she has cultivated an impressive number of skills that make her a highly versatile resource.
“After 2009, I wanted to diversify and acquire new skills to help my patients and athletes. So I completed several courses: contemporary medical acupuncture, fascial stretch therapy, emergency first responder for sports, etc. I also have a degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto, where I focused on health policy. Plus, I have a great friend and mentor (a chiropractor named Carm Stillo) who took me under his wing and showed me a more functional approach to treatment,” Krawec shared.
“After 2009, I wanted to diversify and acquire new skills to help my patients and athletes. So I completed several courses: contemporary medical acupuncture, facial stretching therapy, emergency response as a first responder in sports, etc. I also have a degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto, where I focused on health policy. Plus, I have a great friend and mentor (a chiropractor named Carm Stillo) who took me under his wing and showed me a more functional approach to treatment.”
She began working with tennis teams in 2015 when she joined the Pan American Games team in her native Toronto. While she has many memorable moments from her work in the tennis world, one experience in particular stands out.
“My best memory in tennis has to be when the girls beat the Netherlands at my first tie, it was amazing to be a part of that experience—celebrating that win.”