Friday, December 12, 2014

MILOS MAKES HEADLINES WITH AWARDS

MILOS MAKES HEADLINES WITH AWARDS

They say good things come in threes and that certainly applies to the recognition that Milos Raonic has received in the form of three awards:-

The Canadian Club of Toronto presents its Canadian of the Year Award to distinguished Canadians whose efforts and example have improved the lives of others and benefited us as a nation. On Wednesday, November 26th, the Canadian Club  recognized  Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Canada's top ranking professional tennis player, as the 2014 Canadian of the Year award recipient.

Then on Friday Dec 5th Tennis Canada announced the male recipients of the 2014 Tennis Canada Excellence Awards.  It was no surprise when they named Milos Raonic as the Birks Male Player of the Year for the fourth time. Maybe more of a surprise was that they also named him as the 2014 Most Improved Player of the Year in recognition of his continued growth even at his exceptionally high level. By reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal, qualifying for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, and consolidating his ranking inside the Top 10, Milos has shown that he has elevated his game and that the best of his career may well be yet to come. 

Next it was Milos who turned his success into awards for the next generation of tennis players. On Tuesday Dec 9th Tennis Canada announced the creation of a new Player Coaching Grant for under 12 players, which was made possible due to support from Milos. The grants will be used to offset players' coaching and travel costs.

Milos commented, "Costs associated with a promising player reaching their potential can be difficult for some families. My parents gave me every opportunity to succeed and I’m continuing to set and reach my goals, but that’s not the case for everyone. I want Canada to continue producing high-calibre talent and hopefully this grant helps remove some barriers that may be facing the young players and their families that need that training, development and competition.” 


Three Ontario players will be the retroactive recipients of the award for 2013.  They are Liam Draxl, Viktoriya Tabunshchyk and Alexandra Akhipov.

Ariana Arsenault and Sebastian Serbanescu of Ontario and Justus Alexandre Agbo and Melodie Collard of Quebec are the 2014 recipients of the grant.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

REMEMBERING VIC BRADEN


It is with much sadness that we heard of Vic Braden’s death from a heart attack on Oct 6th. His wife said “His great big heart just finally gave out.” He was 85.

Vic made his name as a tennis promoter and teacher. He sponsored research into various aspects of tennis with a particular interest in psychology (he earned a master's degree in psychology at UCLA and California State). He believed that learning tennis should be fun, his mantra was “While people are being introduced to a new sport, they should be laughing their guts out while learning. Those that learn this way are usually in the sport for a lifetime.”
In 1986, Jack Kramer said, "One Vic Braden is worth a lot of champions in helping the sport. The McEnroes, Borgs, Connors, they've been great. But I don't think any one of them has created the interest in the sport Vic has."



Vic Braden contributed 23 articles to Ontario Tennis magazine between 2001 and 2008. I found an article on Cheaters by Vic in a Florida USTA magazine and thought it might be valuable for players in Ontario to read it. I checked out Vic Braden and his web site and emailed the general address asking for permission to reprint. I received a personal email from Vic the next day granting me permission to use the article as he felt promoting tennis was so important. Later that day he emailed me again as his marketing people thought he was being too generous. We agreed to include a ¼ page ad with his articles and developed an agreement that lasted 8 years. Sometimes we would use articles that he had on file and at others he would write specifically for us. Not one penny passed between our organizations. On the single occasion that Vic thought he would miss a deadline by one day, he phoned me personally to apologize. The article arrived the next day.

The article on cheaters that started it all can be found below. It may seem a little dated, but still has relevance for the player who thinks they may be facing this issue.

Vic was a great man who worked with so many stars of the game but had the passion for the game that he was willing to help a nobody from nowhere who asked for his help in promoting the game of tennis. He was a terrific role model with an insatiable curiosity for what made tennis players tick. He will be missed.


How to Handle Cheaters on the Tennis Court by Vic Braden

While doing a survey of junior tennis players, the number one concern was how to handle cheaters. It also remains a serious issue with adults at several clubs across the country. Here are my thoughts on this complex issue.

One, before accusing someone of being a cheater, you’ll want to be sure that you are correct in making that charge. One year, we tested over 100 subjects making line calls for the USTA and we were amazed at the vast number of errors made by spectators. Linespersons and tournament players calling the service line. To guarantee our accuracy we filmed a large number of serves at 1000 frames per second. At that speed we were able to see the exact contact point of the ball against the court for approximately three frames. We would ask several individuals to go out onto the court and place a stick at where they thought the ball landed. We were surprised, not only by the number of errors, but the size of the errors being made by nearly everyone. To be fair, the linesperson sitting in a chair and looking down the line was the most accurate, even though there were some errors. But the servers, or hitters, on the opposite side of the landing point were often miserable with their calls. The spectators were basically miserable at calling lines.

Two, there are players who simply have lousy eyesight and shouldn’t be calling shots at all. This group doesn’t intend to cheat and they often call shots that penalize themselves.

Three, we also know that players landing on a hard surface tend to lose visual acuity because their eye moves irregularly and vision is often distorted. You can easily test that theory by running a lap around the tennis court and have someone hand you a newspaper article to read on the second lap. You’ll get the picture fast. But alas, there are players who actually choose to cheat on a few, or many, key calls to gain an advantage in a match. These neurotic individuals are normally known to all the players and are the subject of this article. There are several actions you can take.

1. IF YOU”RE PLAYING in a sanctioned USTA event, you have the right to ask for an umpire. You can’r always get one, but you send a notice out to your opponent that you smell a rat. The key here is to alert the tournament committee before the match so that they have personnel ready to jump into the loop at the first obvious infraction.
2. YOU CAN CHOOSE to confront the perpetrator, but that seldom works as the cheater has been through that scenario a hundred times.
3. IF YOU KNOW THE HISTORY of the violator, you can actually have a friend videotape the calls on the cheater’s side of the court. Then you can present evidence to the tournament committee. Even though there are difficulties as the camera normally operates on 30 frames per second, the cheater makes such bad line calls that the video is often quite conclusive.
4. YOUNG PLAYERS often say to themselves, “Okay, if that’s what the person is going to so to me, I’ll do the same thing to him/her.” That is not in your best interest as cheating is cheating, no matter what the reason. As a matter of fact, honest people who give into this system of “an eye for an eye” often feel miserable the first time they cheat. They usually play worse and lose faster.
5. ALL PERSONS BEING CHEATED should feel good about one thing. The player doing the cheating is so insecure that he must use cheating as a crutch. But when the big tournaments come around, there will be umpires and linespersons and the cheater will no longer have the crutch on which to rely. That often causes the cheater to choke.
6. THERE ARE POTENTIAL LEGAL issues regarding the “defamation of character”. However, the most effective system I’ve seen is when several adults, or juniors, seek a meeting with the cheater and express their feelings at the same time. The cheater likes one on one situations, but hates group sanctioning. There is a time when an intervention program must be implemented.
7. REMEMBER YOU CAN CHOOSE to completely avoid playing the cheater. If everyone defaulted against the cheater, don’t think for a moment that the tournament committee, and club owners and members, wouldn’t get the message.
8. JACK KRAMER USED TO TELL ME that he expected about six bad line calls a match. Thus, he could count on playing his best as he never got angered until the seventh lousy call. This helped him beat cheaters sooner.

Andrew Young, once the US Ambassador to the United Nations, told me about a wonderful lesson he learned from playing against international politicians. He said, “Those who cheated on the tennis court could almost always be counted on to cheat in the United Nations”...so, player, beware.

OTA AT RAONIC RACE FOR KIDS

OTA AT RAONIC RACE FOR KIDS




The annual Raonic Race for Kids fundraiser was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on November 25. Hosted by Milos Raonic and Tennis Canada the event raised $130,000 for The Milos Raonic Foundation and Tennis Canada’s "Let's Make Tennis Matter for Kids" campaign.

The Milos Raonic Foundation focuses on children with physical disabilities and, especially, children in need of prosthetic devices that will enable them to reach their full potential. Milos' charity works in conjunction with the Holland Bloorview kids rehab hospital in Toronto. The Let’s Make Tennis Matter for Kids campaign supports programs which gets children onto the courts and playing Kids Tennis.  In Ontario community programs have been launched in Mississauga, North York, Scarborough and Ottawa (Capital Kids).

Sixteen teams vied for the Raonic Cup by participating in a series of fun, interactive, circuit-style challenges alongside their celebrity honorary captains. The captains were Milos, Frank Dancevic, Patrick Chan, George Stroumboulopoulos, Dwayne De Rosario, Carson Arthur, Adriano Belli, Michael Boguski, Rob Faulds, Karl Hale, Curt Harnett, Marnie McBean, Danielle Michaud, Kelly Murumets, Martin Reader,Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. The Master of Ceremonies for the event was TSN’s Cabbie Richards. Sponsors included McRae Imaging, Pizzaville, Toronto Star, National Bank and New Balance.

The OTA entered a team called the OTA Future Stars, captained appropriately by ATP and Canadian Davis Cup tennis star, Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, who developed his tennis in the OTA competitive system  

A lot of photos the fun, OTA team action and videos of Milos and others, have been posted on the OntarioTennisAssociation  Facebook page, Check them out and like them! 

Everyone had a great evening and enjoyed the competitive and active events. Don't forget to check out OTA President, Scott Fraser's, blog at tennisontario.com where he reviews his highlights of the year in a seasonally entitled 12 days of OTA.

Pictured here left to right; The OTA Future Stars - Dave Gervan, Scott Fraser, Diane Kriksciunas, (Patrick Chan), Kim Fraser, Milos Raonic, Dianne Weatherby, Michel Lecavalier, Jim Boyce and Rob Nicholls.

FUNDRAISING AT THE CRICKET CLUB

FUNDRAISING AT THE CRICKET CLUB
 Click here to view video


On Nov 13th the Cricket Club kicked off a series of planned fundraising events in support of the Doug Philpott Inner-City Children’s Fund.  The Philpott Fund programming has been expanding and in 2014 they provided free tennis camps to 8,000 kids at 17 sites, were able to train 11 teens as community leaders to help run the camps and distributed 500 racquets to kids and their families collected from local tennis enthusiasts.

The first event was a book launch.  Gerry Ronan Sr has published his first book at age 81.  It is - a collection of his lifelong poetry writing entitled The Outstretched Hand  by  Gerard C. Ronan. He is donating the book proceeds to the Philpott Inner City Children's Tennis Fund and with a packed house at the event, and the lively readings of some of the poems at the launch, undoubtedly sales were brisk. Gerry is a long time tennis player and member of the Cricket Club.

The next event was a “tennis-a-thon” for kids and this was an innovative way to get young players (up to the age of 17) introduced to fundraising and enjoying tennis.  75 kids played for 10 hours between 2pm and midnight and the event took place at the end of November.  A video of the event put together by Jamie Pope can be seen at Philpott Kids Tennis-a-thon or by clicking above.


Thanks go to Caroline Killeen, Sophie Ljukovic Ronan and Pauline Noteboom Veerman for developing a great idea and designing such a successful event and to Laura Borza, Claudia VoicuGreg Novak, Chris Gostek, Ali Khan, Patti Henderson and Jamie Pope for their help in making it such an enjoyable reality.


The next and most significant fundraising event will be the Ladies Team Tournament which will be hosted January 28th and 29th  2015 at the Cricket Club. 

For more information of the Philpott Fund please go to www.philpottchildrenstennis.ca


CANADIAN TEAM REACHES USTA FINAL

CANADIAN TEAM REACHES USTA FINAL




Early in 2014 a group of tennis enthusiasts decided they would dip their toes into the US tennis scene by entering a team in the Over 40 USTA 9.0 mixed doubles league playing out of the Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston, NY.  The league matches were played on weekends which meant that the extended travelling was not so much of an issue for the players, most of whom work full time.  League play may have interfered with their chance to enter tournaments here in Ontario, but for the doubles tennis fanatic, the opportunity to play and fraternize with new opposition is important, and most sanctioned tournaments give priority to singles play, even if they do include doubles.

“We would get up at 8 a.m. and be there by 11 a.m., play two matches and then go for drinks and a bite to eat,” explained the team captain, Sandra Barrett. “It was just fun. That is what brought us into it. The USTA is a world-class organization as far as how they approach the tournaments and how well-organized they are. From the [local] leagues all the way to Nationals, our opponents have been so welcoming and they’re so friendly.”

Co-captain, Kelly Stobbe, concurred, ““It is different competition. It has been very encouraging. [Opponents] are happy to have new blood and someone else to play against. More teams helping to build more tennis and keep it going.”

More than 250 players on more than 30 teams qualified for the Nationals played at the Surprise Arizona Racquet Centre over 3 days.  The Surprise Racquet Centre is run by the City of Surprise, near Phoenix, AZ and boasts 25 courts, 17 of which have lights and so is large enough to accommodate all kinds of tournaments and a range of activities at one site.

The Canadian team stood out at the event. They sported red uniforms, Canadian flags and logos and even had a small cadre of supporters waving towels and flags in support and immersed themselves in the competitive atmosphere.  Tennis Canada helped them out with towels and T-shirts. Although the team missed out on playing in the event semi-finals, they in no way felt outclassed and the challenge of the competition and the efficient organization made the experience extremely worthwhile and memorable for the first all Canadian team ever to reach a USTA league final.

The experience was so positive that in 2015, there will be 8 Canadian teams entered in the USTA Over 18 and Over 40 Mixed Doubles Leagues.  Teams will be from the 6.0 to 10.0 level.  “It is very exciting to see the growing interest and to form teams with players from all over the province!” said Sandra Barrett.  For more information on participating in USTA leagues you may contact her at Sandra@tennisaccess.com.

Pictured here from left to right are Rob Husain, Donna Wittmann, Scott Barrett, Joanne Dyment, Ray Thompson, Sandra Barrett (Captain), Kelly Stobbe (Co-Captain), Adam Salahudeen.  Photo by Shabana Husain.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

GABY BREAKS THROUGH - IN SINGLES


Gaby (Gabriela) Dabrowski of Ottawa captured her first career professional singles title on November 2nd at the Tevlin Challenger. She defeated American Maria Sanchez 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(7) in a nail-biting final in which she managed to claw her way back from a deficit several times.

In the first set, Gaby was down a break at 2-4 but managed to win four games in a row to take the first set. After losing the second set, Gaby found her game at 2-5 down in the third, again putting together a four-game winning streak. Unable to take the fifth game in a row, the third set was decided by a tiebreaker. Gaby found herself down 2-5 in the tiebreaker and overcame a match point against her to take the title.

“I struggled through the whole match finding my range,” Dabrowski said. “I wouldn’t even say that I eventually found it, but some shots I hit were finally more penetrating and deeper so she wasn’t able to come into the net as much. Everyone says take it one point at a time, and that’s really what I did. Being able to come back in the third set, it proves to me that I can come back in those situations. I felt like I had chances all over the place, and I was just missing a lot of them so although I was down 5-2 I felt like if I kept pushing I could get it back and luckily I did.”

“It’s very special that my first title is in Canada,” she said. “That means a lot to me. I’ve played this tournament so many years and everybody has been so good to me that winning it here is way cooler than winning it in any other country. I just hope I can do it again. I have so much to work on still, and I feel like I didn’t even come close to playing my best tennis this week. I think that’s a positive that I was able to win a lot of matches without even feeling 100 per cent.”

Winning a first title can be elusive and prove how much of winning at tennis depends on both confidence and mental strength. Gaby had lost four professional singles finals prior to this breakthrough. But Gaby is no stranger to winning big singles titles. In 2006 she was the first Canadian to win Les Petits As, a world class under 14 event played in France and in 2009 she won the Junior Orange Bowl, the first Canadian to so since Carling Bassett-Seguso won that world championship in 1982.

Gabriela and her partner Tatjana Maria also faced Maria Sanchez and her partner Taylor Townsend in the doubles event at the Tevlin Challenger. It was another hard fought match in which the Canadian- German duo lost 15-13 in the super tiebreaker.

Gaby, this time partnered with Anna Tatishuli, was able able to extract a little revenge for that loss in Captiva Island the next weekend (Nov 9th). Gaby gained her 12th professional doubles win by beating Maria Sanchez and Asia Muhammad in straight sets.

The Tevlin Challenger has been a great opportunity for our Canadian Girls to gain valuable experience. It was at this event that Gaby, partnered with Sharon Fichman of Toronto, won her first two doubles titles in 2007 and 2010. Gaby and Sharon are members of Canada’s Federation Cup squad. Last year they reached the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup by taking out the number one seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

Photo courtesy Peter Figura.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SCHNUR WINS USTA INTERCOLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIP


Ontario's Brayden Schnur captured the 2014 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate men's singles championship on Nov 9 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows, New York. 

Featuring a 32-player singles draw comprised of the best collegiate tennis players from across the U.S., Schnur, who is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, came out on top with a 6-4, 7-6(2) victory over Gonzales Austin from Vanderbilt.

Currently ranked seventh nationally in NCAA Division 1 tennis, Schnur is from Pickering, Ontario and is a former member of Tennis Canada's full-time national training centre in Montreal.

Brayden participated in a Q and A session with OTA Club Presidents when he was playing at the Rogers Cup earlier this year. To see the video of his session click on Brayden Q and A 

MERCHANT WINS NATIONAL CONTEST


Congratulations to the OTA’s sponsor/partner The Merchant of Tennis on being named Canada’s favourite small business as part of a national contest held by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Interac between October 6th and 18th. More than 700 business were nominated.

The Merchant of Tennis is a tennis specialty retailer with stores in Toronto and Oakville, but which has a significant on-line presence for sales through www.merchantoftennis.com. The Merchant of Tennis is the official retailer of Kids Tennis equipment for Tennis Canada and has a significant retail presence at the Rogers Cup in Toronto each year. The Merchant of Tennis has a large following on Facebook and Twitter and go the extra mile to make sure their followers know about special promotions and contests, but are also well informed on tennis trivia and history as well as what is happening on the professional circuits.

CFIB president Dan Kelly presented the award to The Merchant of Tennis business owners Pamela and Rob Horwood last week (see photo). The title of Canada’s Favourite Small Business comes along with a professionally produced ad campaign sponsored by Interac and developed by Toronto-based advertising agency Zulu Alpha Kilo. Merchant of Tennis received a significant financial award along with the kudos.
“There are thousands of unique small businesses across Canada, like Merchant of Tennis, that are woven into the fabric of their communities, and into the hearts and minds of their customers,” said Kelly.

Loyal customers have only great things to say about Merchant of Tennis: “They’ve got stuff the big stores don’t,” said one customer. “(That’s why) I only trust smallbiz to understand customers.” Others say it’s not only the equipment and prices that make Merchant of Tennis great, it’s the “friendly and knowledgeable staff who have been there at every step and shoe size through (their) son’s tennis growth.”

“We are thrilled to be named Canada’s Favourite Small Business,” said Pam Horwood, CEO of Merchant of Tennis."The #MyFavSmallBiz contest was an outstanding opportunity to engage with our existing clients, reach new audiences and showcase what we do. It gave small companies like ours a bigger voice in a highly competitive national market. Thank you to all of our wonderful customers who voted for us. We're honoured to have your continued support."

Consumers also had a piece of the pie to win during the contest. In total, there were 26 consumer winners, representing six different provinces, who went home with a prize of $500 each.

UNDER 9S THRILL AT THE CHAMPIONS


The Champions Under 9 Tournament was played at Rexall Centre in Toronto Nov 7 to 9 this year. Rather than have regional play downs, eligible players were able to get direct entry into the event and as a result 109 players took part in this event more than 50% than those who played in the inaugural event. Players came from all parts of the province including places as far afield as Thunder Bay for the opportunity to compete in the event. The initial part of the competition consisted of round robin play, with top performers going through to a knock out draw with finals being played on Sunday. The two winners, one boy and one girl, will each receive $6,000 of coaching from their pro over the next two years, with the finalists receiving a similar grant but for $4,000.

Stefan Simeunovic of Oakville and Victoria Mboko of Burlington were the champions. While Adrian Smith of Barrie and Madison Lee of Mississauga took finalists’ honours. Stefan participated in the event last year after winning the West Central region play down and a second Stefan Simeunovic of Niagara also qualified for the event in the South West region. It was the other Stefan Simeunovic who won the Champions in 2013. Apparently the boys father’s both have the same name too (Mlad) – quite a coincidence!.

The Champions is the brainchild of Murray Rubin, a life-long tennis enthusiast and member of York Racquets Club in Toronto. Murray and his wife Roda generously support this event both financially and with their presence with the goal of helping to produce a world champion.

Pictured here left to right are: Alexandru Filoti (participation award), Roda Rubin, Rebecca Prediou (Sportsmanship award), Sava Uncianschi (Sportsmanship award), Adrian Smith (Boys’ finalist), Stefan Simeunovic (Boys’ champion), Victoria Mboko (Girls’ champion), Madison Lee (Girls’ finalist) and Murray Rubin.

Photographer Clive Cohen took lots of pictures of the players over the weekend . These are organized by player name and playing time on his website.To check these out and to purchase his photos, please visit www.tennisprints.com.

For more information on the tournament please visit www.tennisontario.com

SUPER SENIORS WIN GOLD IN TURKEY


The ITF Super Senior World Team and Individual Championships were held at Club Ali Bey near Antalya, Turkey in October. With more than 60 courts this resort can accommodate all the events in a first class setting and the beautiful red clay obviously suits the players from Ontario.

In team competition, the Canadian Over 80 women’s team of Muffie Grieve, Rosemary Asch (Montreal), Joyce Cutts and Joan Bradich won the Doris Hart Cup for the fourth consecutive year, showing that our players, like wine, get better with age.

In the individual competition, Inge Weber (see photo) won the gold medal in Over -75 singles, with a win in the final over Roz King of the USA, 6-1, 3-4 ret. Muffie Grieve came home with two world championship titles in over 80 doubles . She won ladies doubles with Jackie Zylstra of South Africa and mixed doubles with Max Byrne of Australia. Muffie Grieve looked as though she might be on her way to a third world singles title too but was stopped in the Semi-finals in a very tight match against Ann Fotheringham of Australia. After losing the first set 5-7, Muffie came back to win the second set 6-1 and then lost 10-7 in the super tiebreaker.


In men’s Over 60 doubles, Keith Porter (formerly of Toronto) and Jim Cameron of Ottawa were able to successfully defend their world championship title, but without the satisfaction of actually playing the championship match. Torrential rain hit the site on both the Friday and Saturday of individual competition. Even when you have that many courts, it’s no help when they are under water and you have a few rounds to play. They won the final in a walkover against Thomas Emmrich and Dan Nemes of Germany, who had reached the final with a walkover against the number 1 seeds Buchenrode and Hellmonseder of Austria.

For more details on these events please go to www.itftennis.com/seniors

Friday, October 10, 2014

IS ROB STECKLEY CANADA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL COACH?

WORLD CHAMPIONS SENIORS DEFEND THEIR TITLES


Tim Griffin, Terry Redvers, Jim Cameron and Keith Porter were all smiles as they received their awards as men's team of the year for their bronze medal performance in the 2013 Von Cramm Cup (Over 60). Cameron and Porter are the reigning World Over 60 men's doubles Champions and received the Men's Individual 2013 Seniors Excellence Award.

Muffie Grieve received the Women's Individual Award. She is the current over 80 world champion in singles and doubles. Muffie, along with Joyce Cutts and Rosie Asch of Montreal, also received the team of the year award for 2013.  They were the winners of the Doris Hart part of the Over 80 team who were the Doris Hart Cup Champions in 2013.

The Steve Stevens Senior Outdoor Nationals were hosted by the Donalda, Granite and Toronto Lawn Tennis Clubs August 16 to 23 this year. Many players from Ontario won national titles. Ontario players who placed in the top 4 or reached the doubles final in their age categories are listed below with the champion, finalists and places in order.

O35 MS Brian Ahlberg, Kevin Chang, Giovanni Schiavo (4)  MD  Chris Ritchie & Coulter Wright, Jamie Gordon & Jason Pun WS Maureen Drake, Kanta Murali, Mary Hall (4) WD Maureen Drake & Shiera Stuart (BC),  Liane Marr & Kanta Murali.

O40 MS Matthew Akman, Omer Rashid, Ben Woo (4) MD Gerry Ronan & Coulter Wright,   Paul Beck & Garett Prins  WS Jenn Bishop,  Laura Randmaa Atkinson (3)  WD Jenn Bishop & Tina Blaskovic,  Jill Gardner & Adrienne Simmons.

O45 MS  Karl Hale  MD  Paul Beck & Gary Meanchos, Mike O’Neill & Martin Lemay (QC) WD  Jill Gardner & Adrienne Simmons.

O50 MS Gary Meanchos, Kerry Mitchell (3), Graham Watt (4) MD Rob Benneyworth & Graham Watt (2) WS Alison Taylor, Cathy Litton(3) Susanna Sekely(4) WD Kathy Mueller & Dale Kozicz, Janice Hebert & Kathleen Winningham.

O55 MS Terence Robinson, Abbas Khiltash (4) MD Fraser Macdonald & Len Simard   WS Erin Boynton WD Erin Boynton & Diana Dimmer.

O60 MS Jim Cameron (2), Sergey Borodulin (3) MD Jim Cameron & Steve Yesowick (BC) Sergey Borodulin & Sydney Azancot (QC)  O60 WS  Michelle Hall (2) Christa Cameron (3)

O65 MS Tim Griffin MD Hani Ayoub & Ken Dahl(BC) , Tim Griffin & Terry Redvers WS Mary Ann Gaskin, Sue Smylie(3) WD Mary Ann Gaskin & Trish McLachlan (BC)

O70 MS John Tibbets, John Yeomans, Shaheer Mikhail  MD Shaheer Mikhail & Eric Bojesen, John Yeomans & William Berry  WS Pat Marks (4) WD Jane Seed & Louise Langston (QC) (2)

O75 MS  Guido Weber (2), Jack Wear (4)  MD Guido Weber & Horst Dammholtz (BC) WS  Inge Weber, Evelyn Hustwit (3) WD Muffie Grieve & Evelyn Hustwit, Inge Weber & Rosie Asch (QC)

O80 MS Lorne Main, Immo Von Schroeter (4) MD Robin Arnold & Philip Taylor, Lorne Main & Gordon Verge. WS  Muffie Grieve, Joyce Cutts (3) Joan Bradich (4).

O85 MS Paul Lee, Fred Metrick MD John Kaliber & Gerald Regan (NS), Paul Lee & Austin Macpherson.

The event was blessed with great weather and the hospitality from the three sites made participating in this national event a pleasure for all. Thanks go to all the staff and volunteers who made the week one to remember for everyone who played.


UNDER 8 & UNDER 9 PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONS


Between September 5th and 7th some 40 young players converged at ACE Burlington - Cedar Springs Health, Racquet and Sportsclub for the U8 and U9 Provincial Championships. Parents, coaches and spectators were treated to exiting matches over the three day period. 

The U9 was played on 3/4 court with orange balls. 20 players in the boys U9 group were divided into 5 boxes with round robins being played in each box. The winners of each box; Matthias Uwe Kask, Daniel Cancilla, David Asenov, Chase Stark and Sasha Rozin were placed in a championship elimination draw. Sasha Rozin emerged as the winner with a win over Matthias Uwe Kask in the final.

The eight U9 girls were divided into two boxes with round robins also being played in each box. The two box winners Cadence Brace -and Sophia Gutowski - both from ACE Burlington, played in the final with Cadence coming out on top by a score of 4-2, 4-2.

The U8 was played on 1/2 court using red balls, and the ten participants in the U8 event were divided into three boxes with the winner of each box advancing to the championship box. With the boys, the best result was earned by Sava Uncianschi, and second was Achuthan Rahulan; while Anna Tabunshchyk - ACE Burlington had the top girls result followed by Laila Bassem Kamil in second place. The under 8 group are pictured here.

INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN LARENDEAU


The Canadian Davis Cup team will play Japan at home in the first round of the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group, March 6 to 8 2015. This will be a re-match of their first-round from 2014 in which Japan defeated a depleted Canadian squad 4-1 to reach the Davis Cup World Group quarter-finals. Because the two countries competed in Japan the last time they played, the 2015 first round will take place in Canada. The host city and venue will be determined at a later date. “We definitely feel we are a World Group nation and we look forward to starting fresh next year and trying to advance past the first round and create another historic run for our country,” said team captain Martin Laurendeau. "We’re excited to be able to play at home again behind a supportive crowd like what we’ve experienced in Halifax and Vancouver over the past couple of years. While we know from recent experience that Japan is a talented team, we will be ready for the challenge and we know we have the capabilities to take on any team in the world. There is a lot of tennis to be played before the team gathers for this tie, but we will be prepared and ready to compete.”

Canada will be competing in the World Group for a fourth straight year after defeating Colombia 3-2 in the World Group Play-offs in Halifax September 12 to 14. Photo shown is from Halifax courtesy Peter Figura.

Japan will be competing in the World Group for a second straight year. Its victory over Canada in the first round in February marked the first time Japan advanced out of the World Group first round. Missing an injured Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals, Japan then fell 5-0 to Czech Republic.


Ontario Tennis writers Peter Figura and Jan McIntyre caught up with Davis Cup captain, Martin Larendeau at Roland Garros in 2014. The interview they completed with Martin is included below.
Martin Laurendeau, Captain of Canada’s Davis Cup Team and Responsible for Tennis Canada’s Players in Transition.

Peter Figura and Jan McIntyre met up with Martin Laurendeau, following Milos Raonic’s 4th round win over Marcel Granollers at Roland Garros in Paris, to discuss Davis Cup and Canadian tennis.

PFYou were part of the group of 6 – 8 guys inside the top 200 and that was probably the 2nd best era in Canadian Tennis next until now. What is the difference between the two and how come what is happening now didn’t happen then? How do you see that from your perspective as a player, as a coach, and as a Davis Cup Captain?

ML I would say that the main difference is probably that back in our era we had a good group in grand slam main draws. There was Andrew Sznajder, Chris Pridham, Glenn Michibata, Grant Connell and myself.  5 or 6 guys and we were pretty much left on our own. Most of us had gone to college. It was basically the only way to do it. There was not much support.  At home there wasn’t much happening. At college we got a lot of training. Not just Canadians but most Americans and a lot of foreigners too - it was a road that a lot of players used to prepare for the pros. Once we left college there wasn’t much support – no funding, no money, just a few guys sharing hotel rooms and grabbing buses and trains and just doing the best we could at that time. Now the guys have great support, they are just as keen as we were back then. They want to be the best they can be – good on them and good on the Federation. The coaches at TC have come a long way in player development.

PFWhat do you see in Davis Cup? You put a team together and also by my observation and from others, it seems to be more of a team approach. How did you do it?

ML A lot of it is up to the guys.  There is a learning curve with the Davis Cup format. The competition itself is very different from the tour. You need to play for your country, in a three-day competition not a weekly competition. Maybe you play, maybe only play one match, maybe you don’t, there are a lot of unknowns and it’s a team event. So guys growing up in an individual sport now have to play in a team competition. There is a big adjustment to be made there. So it takes a while for the guys to get it and learn that everyone needs to do their thing. Ultimately this is a team approach and a team effort. It is easier when you play college baseball or football and you just go from team to another team but it is the same team sport. Secondly, I think that over the years we have just gotten better and better individually. We got more support from Tennis Canada, the staff have gotten better in the sense that we are more involved throughout the whole year with that objective and the guys themselves just believe more.  We spent many years down in the qualifying rounds but it has been 3 or 4 years now that we have been in the World Group and the guys are doing better internationally. We believe that if can put it together then we can do well in Davis Cup.

PFYou were close in the finals last year…

ML Yeah we were close but far away still. We faced a tough team, we faced a great team and you know it may prove that it was better to have a good run but still get stopped in our tracks there. If we want to go beyond the semis and into the finals and win, then it is two more wins that we need to do. Maybe a bit – we beat Spain we were facing a team with injuries. It was a quick, quick rise for us. We have the youngest guys by far. Most teams have guys that are 27 and older and we had guys back then at 22 years old. Of course Nadal wasn’t there and a few top 15 guys weren’t there but still we faced a team that would have put us away in a heartbeat in years past. And we did beat Italy with their best players and that’s the way it goes. We had a good run - our players were in their best form and played their best tennis. That’s what you need in this competition. And they believed – they believed before but even more as the weekend unfolded. The first one we won that we knew we would play together for a few ties in a row. The guys were winning tournaments and going deep so it was all coming together. But this year was different, every tie is different. France won it one year, they went down the Champs des Elyséé with the President and then they lost in the first round. This competition is different - you need your best players to be at their best. Look at Japan, we didn’t have our best players, we had injuries. Then the next round, Nishikori was sidelined with injury and (other guy) so `

PFFour years ago, no one will remember that Milos was facing match points against Estrella (Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic)

ML Two match points down and now he is in the quarters here (Roland Garros). So things can go quickly. You know you need things to go your way, chips to fall your way as much as you prepare professionally speaking you still have to have momentum and still have to have home court advantage as much as you can. You still have to have your players healthy and you have to have them playing their best tennis so a lot of things have to go right for a good year.

PF - What is your plan to stay in the World Group level? Except for having team members at a very young age.  We will probably have a new doubles team soon.

ML Soon, not yet… but soon. Two years ago our guys were young and still learning and never the less we have been in the World Group for a few years. I know the guys are keen, they are not satisfied with a semi-final run they want to do better. They know their best years are ahead and they know that they want to do better and this is the most important part. You can have staff and Federations and everyone in the whole nation wanting to do well and to do better but it comes down to the players being hungry and thirsty and wanting to win and we have that. We are very fortunate to have a keen group of guys that really want to make an impact at that level.

PF - Tell me about bringing new guys onto the team.  In training – you had Filip

ML You have to look at right handed and left handed players. Training partners that will help the guys to play their best. Simulate the game styles from the opponents. You need to balance chemistry. Not all the guys get along so you have to factor that in. Make sure that the team aspect, spirit and chemistry is number one then you can have a team that can produce really well because it is an enjoyable week and guys are ready to do whatever for each other. That part is really important. Bring our young guys in whenever we can. Everyone that has gone through the system when they were 17 or 18, 16,19, in their teenage years we want them to be there to feel the locker room, the build up of the strategy for the Davis Cup, the stresses, the experience and the enjoyment of Davis Cup. Everyone has had a run at it. Filip did it and the younger ones coming up with have their turn.

PF - What did it take to convert someone in your time from college player to tour player?  College, I don’t think is playing that much of a role.  I don’t know if you agree with that.

ML Now it has been replaced a bit. In our generation we were used to that format. Our team just got along. We had no choice. There was no support. We would travel together we would make our schedules together, we would try to stick together there was only a handful of us.  Now there is the National Training Center in Montreal, which helps a lot. We send our youngsters to Junior Davis Cup, we send them on national tours, and they train together in Montreal. The coaches follow them through 15-18. There is a sense that you need your buddy to train with. You want to be better than him but you also need him. That concept is helping in many ways and is similar to what we had in college. And now it is kind of replaced with a team environment having coaches and players all going for the same goal. It has been good in that way.

PF - How much were you involved in Montreal in the training center?

ML Not much because I have 30+ weeks a year on the road. Obviously we need coaches that are a lot more present – a lot more fulltime.  I do stop by, I do follow what is happening and I do pitch in whenever I can with some trainings and stuff. The bulk of the work is with Guillaume Marx and Jocelyn Robichaud and the guys looking after our young male players.

PF - Are you watching juniors here?

We don’t have boys playing here. We only have one girl – (Françoise) Abanda. Our boys are too young this year. In the next few years they will be coming along.

JM - We saw guys like Hugo Di Feo here last year.

ML And Peliwo. They are now too old. Our next group are 14 and 15.

JM - So we have a little bit of a gap.

ML Yep.

JM - One of the things I mentioned to Michael Downey a few years ago was that I wasn’t seeing any Tennis Canada presence here. We saw Daniel playing and lots of fans. I saw Canadian club level coaches here and they would point out to me the American coaches who were following the futures and all that. Why isn’t Tennis Canada here?   At least bring some of the youngsters to get the feel, like you say for Davis Cup. Why not the same thing for a Slam because this is like the holy grail of tennis?

ML Well yeah. That part has gone better. We have our coaches that do the ITF Junior circuit. Ultimately, a guy like Peliwo, he didn’t just play the Grand Slams he played Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4 and Group 5. Did what he needed to do to get a good ranking to access the bigger tournaments. So we do that with our young guys. I am at the Grand Slams and some of the Masters Series and some of the other tournaments. Sylvain Bruneau does the same with the girls and Louis Borfiga comes along. He is here at the moment. He goes to New York and Toronto. And some of our Board members have been coming to Davis Cup in the last few years. Realizing that being there makes a difference and this has come with our successes, It has come with our nation coming together and doing what needs to be done to be the best at this.

PF - What else has to happen to in your perfect world what is missing, if anything?

ML - We have everything we want really to get the job done. We have a lot more funding than we ever had which allows our coaches to travel worldwide. Maybe 10 years ago if we had budget constraints and we had a tour in south east Asia or somewhere that it was too expensive, we might decide to go the US but then it is more difficult and a different experience. Now we do what needs to be done. We are given the support for that. They trust our expertise and our knowledge of the game to know what needs to be done and let us do it. We are conscious of the expenses, of course, but we have great staff, great coaches, great facilities, and we have great programs and we probably have the best junior program in the world, I believe. And we have an incredible board of directors that is so supportive of what we do and they believe in us and they trust us a lot. We have had great results in Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Juniors. I don’t know what else we would need. The rest is a result. The process itself, I think that we are on top of things, doing the right things. It comes down to finding coaches – ultimately the guys doing the work in the field day in and day out is very important. We have the ability to hire guys like Ljubičić, or outside coaches when we need to. And it is working good. We have full time staff coaches who are there all the time so we are able to complement and fill the gaps and it has been working good. We have the support from Michael, and Kelly now that are very keen on expanding and keeping the results coming. There is a lot of effort and energy going the right way, being channeled and funneled the right way and that has a made a difference over the years.

PF - You have the youngest team but they are going to get older. Do you think that there are enough juniors right now?

ML - I would love to have more players and more juniors. I would love more players like when we were in Japan and we had three injuries that weekend. You can’t plan for that but it would be nice to have 6 or 7 more guys in the top 100 to fill the gaps or pitch in when you need to bring them in. That’s a product an outcome basically, the process is being done very well and we need to improve on that. Of course I would love to have more juniors, more kids playing the game. There are programs for this. We are doing the best we can and no one is satisfied at this stage. We think this is the start of something bigger and better to come. We are all very excited.

PF - Would you have imagined in your playing days that 10 years from when you retired, when we did that coaching course together, that people would be coming to you or that anyone would be looking up to Canadian tennis as a sort of model?

ML - Not really. We were an outside nation all the time. You need a few players to do well obviously.

PF - The question would be maybe from your point of view, what is wrong with American tennis? You are watching all the time right?

ML - The Americans are not the only nation to be struggling from where they were to where they are now. I think maybe some of the other nations like South Africa and Sweden are even worse. They have no idea what happened It happened so fast. The game is growing. More nations come up with players. It is so international now. There are only 100 players in the top 100 and there are more and more nations fighting for those spots. So those spots become more and more rare and they are working as hard as they can. They brought in José Higueras to try to develop the clay philosophy and training center. Now they are projected to build a 100-court facility in Orlando with indoor courts – with clay courts and hard courts and they are trying to find a way to get in the game. It is tough and I am proud of what we have done. We don’t have the numbers of Spain or France or some of the other world nations at that level. But the few that we have pro rata wise we are doing very well. In the last 7 or 8 years since we have had the training center, its not like we have had 50 kids training there and if you have 1 or 2 players out of 50 that’s great odds. And we’ve had 3 out of 8 or 3 out of 10, which are phenomenal odds. Things are going our way and hopefully we can keep that up.

We have passionate people who really care. Debbie Kirkwood is here doing meetings now. Jack Graham who was on the board and is now with the ITF he’s here. Our international presence has really come along well with Stacey Allaster (Chairman and CEO of the WTA) and Michael Downey, Vanessa Webb (on the WTA Board for the players).

JM - Do you feel that when you go around to different places that there is more respect for Canadian tennis?

ML – Definitely. It comes down to results and when you have results something must have been done right somewhere. But it is not always Federation driven, sometimes or maybe down the road, we may have 3 guys in the top 50 that come down to having driven parents or having a great coach in their neighbourhood that has brought them to be where they are. Tennis Canada is not the only way. The next wave could be an exodus of kids going to the United States. We have Brayden Schnur that went to the NCAs – he was voted freshman of the year. He played no. 1 for Carolina. He only lost two matches and ended up top 10 player and that is another way to go about it. I think that the more we have Genie’s and Milos’ and Vasek’s and Nestor’s and Fed Cup and Davis Cup results, the more that it is on TV and in the papers, the more the kids believe that is not just an odd thing that one player is making a living out of that, they believe that they can do that. They are inspired by that and think that they can make the quarterfinals here one day or play Wimbledon one day. That is what I did, and that is what has to happen with the next generation of ball kids being there at the Rogers Cup, and they want to play tennis there one day as a professional. All these good results just pull up everyone up to the top and there is this mass belief that we can do it.

PF - I spoke with Louis Borfiga, when we saw each other in Montreal, I asked what is next for you and he said that within the next 5 years Davis Cup, Fed Cup or a Grand Slam. What is your take on that?

ML - Yes. We have two players - one in the semis and two in the quarters here. The more you get to these stages, you are two or three matches away so you increase the odds of it happening. And the more this happens, the more you need programs because when you have player that shoots up, it gets the kids excited and you need the programs to welcome these kids. If there is nowhere to go or it is expensive. It kind of happened in Brazil when Guga Kuerten was winning this 3 years in a row, they lost their window, this guy had an impact as a player for his country but where are the hundreds of Brazilians that could be playing here as a result of that? You need good facilities when people come knocking at the door, you need to be able to say you can go here, you can do this, you have this program, this place where you can train. You are at this level, we have this for you and you can put the pieces together and you can accelerate the results this way. This is where I think that we have improved at lot. When the chips are coming together now it is not because of one thing but a lot of things were in place that reaches a lot of different levels for the sport.

PF - The last question - Milos and Novak on Tuesday?

ML - It’s a tough draw. You know he had a good draw, he’s made the most of it so far and you have to run into a top 4 guy somewhere. He’s got to run into Novak it looks like. Its tough, for me the match against (Gilles) Simon was key in his development. Because both guys knew that the draw was opening up and it was a really good chance to make the quarters and you won’t meet a guy like Djokovic or Nadal before the quarters or Murray or those guys. The way he served for the match and lost it, he kept his composure on Center Court against a Frenchman, I think we may look back on this as a key moment in his career, because he has been in 4th round a few times already and that allowed him to play today and make the quarterfinals, he may need a few semis. That is what happened to Federer, to Nadal and that’s what happened to Djokovic. They didn’t just shoot through and do it all in one go. He’s on track with his targets and Novak is going to be a major obstacle and if he wants to win a grand slam you need to a major hurdle or several major hurdles for you to go through. So that is why this match, as difficult as it is going to be, is necessary in his development.
FAIOLA BRAMPTON OPEN RESULTS

On the weekend of Sep 26 to 28, Brampton tennis enthusiast’s were out in force this past weekend in support of the 1st annual Faiola Import Brampton Open. The event entertained the province’s top Open and 4.0 competitors on some of the finest clay courts in the country. Participants we’re treated to breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the three days of competitive play highlighted by a Porketta (a savoury, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition). With a number of competitive matches taking place on the weekend, the tournament was highlighted by the Men’s and Women’s Open finals on the Sunday afternoon. In the Men’s Open, Iancu Ghinda (Ottawa, On) dug deep after dropping a decisive 6-0 set to force a third against Oakville’s very own ATP tour ranked Martin Beran. The fans in attendance we’re treated to a number of jaw dropping points with Beran imposing his championship tactics and closing out the match in three, 6-0, 6-7, 6-2. Men’s Open Final Martin Beran def Iancu Ghinda 6-0, 6-7, 6-2

The Women’s event show cased the young up and comer Olga Donchu, who was able to serve her way through the tournament upsetting the number 2 seed Tiara Higuchi, number 3 seed Anna Maria Buraya, and finalist number 1 seed Rachel Cruickshank. From watching the match, it was easy to see that there’s a new Canadian Missile on the war path.
Women’s Open Final: Olga Donchu def Rachel Cruickshank 6-3, 6-3

The Men’s 4.0 final was won by OTA journeyman Paul Ciccone, who cut short the championship run by Brampton Tennis Club’s hometown qualifier Johnny Nguyen. Although Johnny was able to upset number 2 seed Cole Ciccone, his stamina seemed to fade when pushed to a third set against the older yet craftier Ciccone. Men’s 4.0 Finals: Paul Ciccone def Johnny Nguyen 4-6, 6-2, 6-2

Thank you to the Brampton Tennis Club tournament staff and sponsor Faiola Import Company LTD who made the event a success. For more tournament results or up and coming tournaments, please go to ota.tournamentsoftware.com.

INTERCOUNTY TENNIS ASSOCIATION SEASON ENDS

The Intercounty Tennis Association celebrated another hectic league season with their annual playoffs at Rexall Centre on Saturday September 13th, but rain delayed the playoffs to Sunday September 14th for all except the Junior League. For the teams that had played on Tuesdays it had been a frustrating year because of the rain and rain interrupted the playoffs as well so that only the Mixed and Junior leagues completed their matches. In the mixed league playoffs Credit Valley beat Dentonia in the Majors division, Sir Winston Churchill beat Parkway Valley in A, Headwaters took B honours from Swansea and Milton proved themselves the best of the Cs against Bayview Village. In the junior league playoffs all the boys and mixed division leaders also won the playoffs. Including Newmarket who beat the Credit Valley Warriors (see photo) in the playoffs of the Boys Majors Division. The girls of Richmond Hill beat the girls of Swansea in a playoff between the two divisions.
Congratulations to the teams from the following clubs for winning their divisions in regular play for 2014.

MIXED LEAGUE: Majors: Dentonia. A Centre: Davisville. A East: German Mills. A North: Richmond Hill LTC. A West: Howard Park. B Centre East: Seneca Hill. B Centre West: James Gardens. B East: Tam Heather. B High Park: Swansea. B North: Agincourt. B South East: Davisville. B West: Headwaters. B York: Richmond Hill LTC. C Centre: Howard Park. C Centre East: Bayview. C East: North York. C High Park: Rosethorn. C North: Aurora. C South East: Davisville. C West: Milton. C York: Richmond Hill LTC.

LADIES LEAGUE: Majors East: Richmond Hill LTC. Majors West: Wallace Park. A East: Tournament Park. A Centre: Richmond Hill LTC. A Mid West: Mayfair West. A West: Ontario Racquet Club. B East: Hillcrest. B Centre: Richmond Hill CC. B North: Nobleton. B Mid West: Lambton. B West: Whiteoaks Park. B2 Thursday East: Aurora. B2 Thursday Centre: Pine Point.

55 PLUS LEAGUE: Div 1 East: Ajax. Div 1 West: Brampton. Div 2 Centre: Richmond Hill. Div 2 North: Newmarket. Div 2 West: Whiteoaks Park.
JUNIOR LEAGUES: Boys Majors: Newmarket. Boys A1 East: Leaside. Boys A1 West: Swansea. Boys A2 East: Unionville. Boys A2 West: Headwaters. Girls East: Richmond Hill LTC. Girls West: Swansea. Mixed Majors: Tam Heather. Mixed A: Newmarket.

And a hearty thank you to the Intercounty Tennis Association Volunteers who make it possible for more than 2000 players to compete each week in the vibrant leagues which provide options for everyone to play.