Friday, 17 July 2015

Tennis Manitoba News Updates

Canada's Frank Dancevic returns the ball to Belgium's Steve
 Darcis during the first singles match of the Davis Cup World
Group quarter-final in Middelkerke, Belgium on Friday.
(Geert Vanden Wijngaert/The Associated Press)

Manitoba Clay Court Championships and Manitoba Jr Open
Last week's Manitoba tournaments' players brought the heat! Both weather wise and on the court. For a full listing of results and more news about what's happening on our home courts, click here.

Tech-Air Manitoba Open
Registration deadline for the 2015 Tech-Air Manitoba Open is NOON on August 10th. The tournament runs at Kildonan Tennis Club August 12 - 21/15.

Western Canada Games Team Named
Head coach Jared Connell and Assistant Misa Tennant have selected the final roster of 8 players. Congratulations to: Monika Popovic, Jennifer Wang, Mackenzie Miller, Devika Deraj, Shawn Sophosath, Earin Hirkewal, Alex Kirbyson, Stefan Barre. Good luck to our team as they head to Wood Buffalo, AB to compete August 7 - 12

Prairie Regionals
24 juniors players from Saskatchewan and Manitoba will compete at Taylor Tennis July 22 & 23 to qualify for outdoor nationals.

New Title Sponsor for Winnipeg's Pro Event
National Bank has signed on as title sponsor of Winnipeg's men's and women's pro tournament. This year's edition of Canada's sixth largest pro tournament will take place August 22 - 30 at Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club. Note to all local players - the men's singles winner of the men's Tech-Air Manitoba Open will receive direct entry into the main draw singles while the women's open winner receives direct entry to the qualifying draw.

Local Officials Make the Cut
Congratulations to Manitoba officials Steven Peers and David Kives - both survived the final cut to officiate the "finals" day at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Next up for our crew - Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal before heading home to work the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger August 22 - 30.

Team Canada
Devastating news for Canada's representation at the Davis Cup. First Milos Raonic, Canada's top player and ranked 8th in the world, is out due to ongoing problems from foot surgery undergone earlier this year. Now Vasek Pospisil will not be playing either vs Belgium July 17 – 19. Pospisil was Canada's next best shot without Raonic. Unfortunately Pospisil has a wrist injury and will be taking the next 2-3 weeks off to avoid further damage.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Portage tennis player wins two titles at Manitoba Junior Open

Shawn Sophasath, right, alongside Tennis Manitoba director
 of tennis development Jared Connell, middle, and runner-up
 Zachary Baron after the 2015 Manitoba Junior Open final on
 July 9 at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club. (Photo:Sam Unrau)

By Matthew Hermiz, The Graphic

(Portage La Prairie, MB) A local tennis product emerged as king of the court at the 2015 Manitoba Junior Open.

Portage la Prairie native Shawn Sophasath won the boys U18 (under-18) singles event and teamed up with Winnipeg’s Monika Popovic to earn a second title, the U18 mixed doubles crown, at the 2015 Manitoba Junior Open on July 7 to 9 at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club.

Sophasath,14, clinched the U18 boys title with straight sets win over Zachary Baron 6-4, 6-4 in the July 9 final. That same day he and Popovic defeated Maya Arksey and Baron 7-6(4), 6-4 in the mixed doubles final.

“It means quite a bit, it’s the highest level of junior tennis in Manitoba,” said Sophasath. “It’s good to see that I’m at that level.”

The No. 1 ranked U14 player in Manitoba toppled Connor Davies 6-4, 6-1 to open the boys singles tournament on July 7 before downing Shrey Gupta 6-3, 6-0 a day later to reach the final.

In U18 mixed doubles, Sophasath and Popovic rallied after dropping the opening set of their semifinal against Marcello Audino and Reece Carter on July 8 to win 3-6, 6-0, 10-8.

Sophasath has enjoyed success on the courts for years. The Portage Tennis Club product will make his second appearance at the junior nationals this year. The pure competition that is a tennis match excites Sophasath, who has been playing the game since he was four-years-old.

“It’s very competitive, I like rising above others. It takes a lot of defeat going through it too, but it’s something learn from,” he said. “I like that it’s a solo sport for the most part playing singles. You don’t have people who will rely on you so you don’t have anyone who you’ll let down except for yourself.”

The long term goal he’s driving towards is earning a U.S. scholarship to play NCAA tennis. In the shorter term, Sophasath has his sights set on the Western Canada Summer Games, which begin Aug. 7 in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Complete Manitoba Junior Open tournament results are available at

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Steinbach's Tennis U has it all

Barry Bruce, with everything one would need at Tennis U
 in Steinbach, Manitoba.

By Terry Frey, The Carillon

With Canadian superstars Milos Raonic and Genie Bouchard making their mark on the world tennis stage the last couple of years, interest in tennis in this country could be at an all-time high.

So for Steinbach’s Barry Bruce to launch his Tennis U in Steinbach, which could be one of the finest facilities in the province, if not the country, the timing is right, with interest in tennis, perhaps coincidentally, but certainly fortuitously, at an all-time high.

This project for Bruce, the owner of the McDonald’s franchise in Steinbach, has been in the works for a couple of years, but with the indoor facility now completed at his new building on Acres Drive, it is now open as he is accepting bookings from the public.

Bruce, himself, is one of the top tennis coaches in the province, with more than 25 years of coaching experience who also has experience coaching at the national level and on the ATP professional tour.

Dubbed a world class training centre, a tour of the facility earlier this week left this reporter, who just happens to be an avid tennis buff, absolutely wide-eyed that this facility was located right here in Steinbach.

Bruce has invested more than $1 million of his own money into the facility, which is state of the art in every respect. A serving machine that can serve the ball up to 130 mph. There is also full court radar to measure the speed of serves. Milos would be suitably impressed. And there is a Lobster machine, which can lob the ball in different patterns.

His professional tennis stringing machine is one of only a few of its kind in Canada and is the same machine used on the ATP Tour. Even the playing surface, called plexi-pave, is the finest surface available.

Tennis U is now open for booking individuals to play or for lessons. A variety of lesson rates are available, depending on the equipment used in the process.

An example of rates for court rentals are $40 per hour for singles, which would be $20 per person, or $60 an hour for doubles.

"We are completely self-contained here, " said Bruce, "we have everything here anyone would need in tennis."

One of the things that Bruce is most excited about with his new tennis facility is the new program he is offering for kids called Learn to Play where different balls are used in the program to make it easier for kids to learn the game. He is hoping to start after school and summer programs for kids wanting to learn the game. "The kids will use smaller racquets and foam balls and we can have up to 24 kids on the court at one time."

He is also hopeful that adult leagues will start at the facility as well as hosting some future competitions.

The facility itself is stunning, 11,000 square feet in all with a 40-foot ceiling with brilliant lighting.

For Barry Bruce, Tennis U is a hobby, a passion and a business venture all rolled into one, this truly is a facility second to none.

"It’s fun to see people’s reaction when they see it for the first time, tennis people from around the country," said Bruce with a chuckle, "they are shocked, they can’t believe it’s here."

Article and photo courtesy of Terry Frey, The Carillon

Saturday, 18 April 2015

2015 Rogers Rookie Tour Schedule

The indoor Rogers Roger Tour season wrapped up last
Friday at Taylor Tennis in Winnipeg.  

The 2015 Rogers Rookie Tour schedule for Manitoba is now available.

The Rogers Rookie Tour events create a player-friendly environment for children to be introduced to competition at a level suitable for their age and understanding. The matches are played with slower red, orange or green balls on smaller courts, using modified scoring. It is a fun way to start tennis and makes it easy for children to play the game, develop good technique and tactics and a love for the sport.

Get more details at

Friday, 17 April 2015

Waschuk repeats on All-GLVC Team

After Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship quarterfinals play,
Waschuk has etched her name in the Bellarmine record books as the
 third winningest player in school history with 99 victories to her credit.

Bellarmine AthleticsEvann Waschuk has put together one of the most noteworthy careers in the history of Bellarmine University's women's tennis program. Now the Knights' senior has another achievement to reinforce her status.

Late Thursday evening, the league office announced Waschuk's inclusion on the All-Great Lakes Valley Conference Team. It is the second straight season that the Knights' senior has received the acknowledgement.

Waschuk did nothing short of stockpile victories this season. The Canadian from Winnipeg, Manitoba, built a 15-4 record in singles play and a 15-6 mark in doubles competition with junior Caitlin Hanley. She was 13-3 in matches established as No. 1 singles.

Buoyed by her sterling senior season, Waschuk shot up to No. 3 on Bellarmine's all-time wins list with 98 leading into the GLVC Tournament. Against conference competition this season, she gained three wins apiece in singles and doubles action.

Waschuk laid the foundation for a standout campaign early, regrouping after her losing her first singles match of the season to rattle off 11 consecutive victories. That streak included triumphs over GLVC colleagues Missouri-St. Louis, Truman State, William Jewell and Southern Indiana. During the impressive span, she was named GLVC Player of the Week on Feb. 17.

Waschuk capped the regular season with three consecutive singles victories, including a pair against conference counterparts Saint Joseph's and McKendree. Her 15 singles wins thus far rank among the single-season top 10 at Bellarmine since the 2006-07 season.

Waschuk also had a long string of dominance in doubles play during the regular season. She and Hanley registered eight straight victories bridging the fall and spring seasons, the last two over conference affiliates Missouri-St. Louis and Truman State. They would go on to triumph over league foes William Jewell, Illinois Springfield, Saint Joseph's and McKendree.

Get more Manitoba student-athlete #CollegeTennis updates on Twitter.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Tennis Instructors Course

Tennis Manitoba is pleased to be hosting an Instructors Course from April 30th to May 3rd, 2015. The four day course will take place in Winnipeg at the Norwood Community Centre. Prerequisite online e-learning modules will be provided as part of the course. The course fee is $300.

For additional details, click here.

See also...

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Knights' Waschuk named GLVC Tennis Player of Week

INDIANAPOLIS – Bellarmine University senior Evann Waschuk has been named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week in the sport of women's tennis, the conference office announced Tuesday.

In two victories Sunday against GLVC rivals Missouri-St. Louis and Truman State last week, Waschuk combined for a 4-0 record at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.

In the Knights' 5-4 win over the Tritons on Sunday, Waschuk was the only BU player to be involved in two victories. She teamed with junior Caitlin Hanley for an 8-5 win in doubles play over Lina Parra and Natalia Carvalhais, and then edged Renee Verboven 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 in singles action. Behind Waschuk's performance, BU was able to squeak out the victory.

Bellarmine followed later that day by meeting Truman State, and Waschuk helped set the tone with Hanley for an 8-1 triumph with a decisive 8-3 win in doubles play. She then delivered her final victory of the weekend with a 6-2, 6-2 result over Kim Birenbaum, triggering a sweep for the Knights in singles action against the Bulldogs.

In the process, Waschuk maintained her upward climb of Bellarmine's all-time wins list. Her four victories on Sunday pushed her into eighth place with 82.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, this is Waschuk's first career weekly award and the first for a Knight since Caitlin Hanley was recognized by the league on March 25, 2014.

Sources: GLVC and Bellarmine Athletics.

Get more Manitoba student-athlete #CollegeTennis updates on Twitter.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Canadian Tennis Coast-to-Coast: Tennis Manitoba and their digital innovations

Article courtesy of Tennis Canada.

As part of the process leading up to a 2015 re-brand of Tennis Canada, we travelled to each province to meet with the presidents and executive directors of the Provincial Tennis Associations (PTAs) to learn what tennis means on a grassroots level in their region. Over the next three months, we will feature a different province weekly and learn more about the various themes that embody tennis across the country. To read articles from the rest of the series, click here.

Popularizing the Universal Tennis Rating System

Though tennis in Manitoba may be less prevalent when compared to Ontario and Quebec, due to a smaller population, the province has made several unique contributions to the fabric of tennis in Canada. This includes the popularization of the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) system. UTR is a tennis ranking system that provides players across the world with a common language to determine their level of play. There are 16 levels of tennis, which are based on actual match results without regard for age or gender. Bruce Waschuk, president of Tennis Manitoba, has led the charge for the spread and promotion of UTR.

Manitoba initially implemented UTR to help improve tournament player selections and draw seeding. Because of Manitoba’s smaller population, there is not an abundance of tennis players at all the various age and gender event categories. To solve this problem, Manitoba now uses UTR for running level-based tournaments, where draws may have players from multiple age groups and both genders. Manitoba also uses UTR to realize new initiatives that help grow tennis participation, as well as help existing players find a better game. These player ratings allow juniors to find more appropriate local tournament competition. This is a stark difference from previous years where extensive travel was the norm for many competitive Manitoba juniors.

“UTR felt like a natural part of tennis culture in Manitoba,” said Tennis Canada CMO Mark Healy. “It was expected in conversations around the courts, and innately followed in all tennis play.”

Working to Bring Tennis to the Forefront

Manitoba hosts two professional events as part of the ITF Pro Circuit, a $15,000 men’s Futures and $25,000 women’s Challenger, which both take place in Winnipeg in August. Manitoba emphasizes the build-up around the tournaments, focusing on new programming and catering to a young demographic. Before these tournaments came to Manitoba, it was very hard to drum up interest around tennis. Tennis Manitoba executive director Mark Arndt, Waschuk, and their team worked hard to bring these ITF events to their province and it is now paying dividends through increased tennis participation.

“Our two ITF tournaments are the showpieces of tennis in the province,” said Arndt. “They are the key to unlocking other forms of tennis participation.”

The harsh weather in Manitoba makes outdoor winter tennis nearly impossible, which is in line with the rest of Canada. Fortunately, there are several indoor clubs that buoy tennis participation throughout the winter, such as the Winnipeg Winter Club and Taylor Tennis. Manitoba’s tennis clubs are unique because they have a rich, albeit small, culture around clay courts.

“The culture of tennis in North America usually manifests itself through hard courts,” Healy remarked. “But clay courts are popular and growing in Manitoba – it was very refreshing.”

Digital Innovation

Manitoba is very sophisticated when it comes to digital marketing, which has led to a large social following. The province has its own successful digital marketing campaigns, but has also agreed to help test any new digital strategies that Tennis Canada may have. This collaboration will lead to synergies for both sides and hopefully for all digital marketing in Canada.

Tennis Manitoba believes that two factors keep people from playing tennis: finding a partner and finding a place to play. To combat the latter, Manitoba took an inventory of all known tennis courts in the province and created a custom Google Map for Manitobans looking for a nearby court. It is extensively used throughout the province and is a highly visited page on Tennis Manitoba’s website.

Looking for a place to play tennis in Manitoba? Check out the
Tennis Manitoba Court Locator at

A trailblazer in the area of UTR, Manitoba is also trying to push it to new heights by combining it with technology. The Tennis Manitoba team inputs all tournament match results that take place in the province into the UTR system, which calculates a tennis player’s level of play rating. This leads to improved player development, as well as an increase in player satisfaction from more compatible match play.

Strong leadership, passionate tennis players, and innovation in UTR help make Manitoba a very significant tennis contributor in Canada, with lots of potential for the future.

Provincial Tennis Associations (PTAs) are the provincial arms of Tennis Canada and are essential parts of growing and developing interest and participation across the country through their local initiatives. Our mission to grow the game of tennis in Canada would not be possible without the committed and tireless efforts of the PTAs.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

2015 Western Canada Summer Games Try-out

Team Toba at the 2007 Western Canada Summer Games.
The Western Canada Summer Games are fast approaching, and Tennis Manitoba is looking to select a training team of 12 players (a combination of boys and girls) to begin preparation for the competition this summer.

The tennis event at the Western Canada Summer Games is a unique competition where players compete as a team for their province. The Games can be a great experience for players aspiring to play University tennis, as many former Team Manitoba members have gone on to secure a US-based college tennis scholarship.

Tennis Manitoba will hold an open tryout on Friday, January 30th, at Taylor Tennis from 5 to 7 PM. A parents information meeting will follow. There is no fee for the tryout. All interested players must register by Monday, January 26, 2015.

For additional details, click here.

Online Registration (click here)