Canada has definitely become a serious power when it comes to pro tennis, but it was no accident. The names Milos, Bouchard and Vasek may be known today but few realize what it took behind the scenes to even make it possible.
Things kicked off in 2007 when the board of Tennis Canada made a key decision to invest in player development. They hired Louis Borfiga, a French coach who had developed players such as Tsonga and Monfils, to create a National Training Centre. Since then, four other training centres have since opened (Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver) but the NTC (located in Montreal) remains the focal point.
Players as young as 9 are identified through a national feeder network, with the best being brought to Montreal for intensive training. “It’s all about facilitation more than anything else,” says Michael Downey (who has moved to run the England Lawn Tennis Association). “What they’ve done is raise the profile of the game in the country.” For the future of Canadian tennis it would seem the sky is very truly the limit.
Local tennis alum Lily-Ana Kreutzer just completed her sophomore year with the UNC Bears in Northern Colorado. Maintaining her full-ride tennis scholarship, Kreutzer finished the year with a 5-6 record for the Bears. Go Lily-Ana!
Another local tennis standout, Makena Moore will get the chance to test her stroke at McGill University in the fall. Attending on scholarship, Moore hopes to showcase her skills and make the university team in Montreal. Go Makena!
Halfway through his second year of U16, Calvin Thalheimer continues to impress. Ranked in the top 5 of BC junior players, Thalheimer has continued to produce strong results on both clay and hardcourt surfaces. He qualified for both the 2017 Silex Indoor Provincials and the Rogers Indoor Nationals in Montreal, and recorded his first Junior ITF singles win at the Panorama Junior ITF event in Victoria. Go Calvin!
If you watch tennis at all, you already know his name. He’s one of the top players in the world. A Wimbledon Champ and a legitimate Davis Cup hero. In fact, by this point in his rapidly expanding career he’s already become something of a Canadian tennis icon. But did you know he also happens to hail from nearby Vernon, BC?
Vasek Pospisil is the real deal. He’s one of the most exciting tennis players in the world, routinely smacking highlight-reel quality shots and snagging near-impossible gets. His talents and accomplishments have been so unbelievable that the media quickly adopted a unique catchphrase to describe him: anything is Pospisil.
Vasek Pospisil grew up in this valley. He first played on the public courts of Vernon, BC, and spent six (!) years commuting to Kelowna every day (in the winter) just to hit on the indoor courts at Global Fitness. Eventually, his skills progressed to the point where the family had no choice but to transplant their promising up-and-comer to the bigger leagues in Vancouver.
With his youthful good looks and powerful game, Vasek has not only become a favorite of sponsors but of the fans too. Whether it’s his all-new YouTube Channel (Bounce, launched in February of this year) or being named to HelloCanada’s 2017 Most Beautiful list, Vasek Pospisil appears ready to break out in a big way. He even beat Andy Murray in straight sets at Indian Wells! Currently the #2 ranked player in all of Canada, Milos Raonic better watch his back as the Okanagan boy with the bright smile (and booming serve) is hot on his heels.