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ONcourt Interview: Gavin Ziv “Tennis Canada Improves Competitive Structure”

ONcourt Interview: Gavin Ziv “Tennis Canada Improves Competitive Structure”

Interviewed by: Pierre Lamarche


*** Gavin Ziv Director of National Events, Tournament Manager, Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at Futures Event in Saskatoon this past weekend. “My team works to manage around 70 national and international tournaments taking place in Canada annually in junior, senior, wheelchair and professional categories (this includes Davis Cup and Fed Cup). The National Officiating Department run by William Coffey is also a part of this department and recruits, trains and manages all officials for these events.”***


Gavin Ziv: “The National Events department works closely with the newly created Competitive Development department which is led by Ari Novick. The main focus of this department is to upgrade the competitive structure across Canada partnering with our Provincial Associations in order to implement the high performance competitive structure recommendations. These recommendations were a result from a comprehensive feedback process where we gathered input from all of our stakeholders across the country. This department also focuses on the integration on the new tournament management system with the new ranking system to be unveiled in 2014.”

PL: “You head a Tennis Canada department which in many ways will determine the fate of Canada’s future performance on the international level, how do you feel about that responsibility?”

GZ: “The Events department in conjunction with the Competitive Structure department certainly understands our role and the importance competition plays in the development of our athletes (which is why this area is one of the priorities in our current Tennis Canada strategic plan). We feel confident that we have a strong plan in place and that we will continue to improve the competitive environment in Canada.”

PL: “The emphasis recently has been to develop an integrated competitive schedule, what are some of improvements you see coming?”

GZ: “Most recently we moved the Outdoor Junior Nationals later into the summer and added five national qualifiers across the country which provide a more comprehensive summer schedule. We are also working on a college program for our U18 Nationals to help educate our players as well as providing opportunities for NCAA coaches to see them in action. In the U10 area we are working at increasing the number of team competitions. We are in the process of revamping our national ranking system using our new internationally proven VR software system as well as upgrading our communication vehicles (i.e. Most recently adding live scoring for all pro tennis events). On the professional side, we are looking to continue to add more pro events that are coordinated with current pro circuit events and this will go hand in hand with our expansion of the officiating training and recruiting program. We are also looking to take advantage of our recent success in Davis Cup and Fed Cup and look to grow these events and interest in Canada. On the seniors and wheelchair tennis side, we continue to add and upgrade events at the National and International levels. We are also working with our provincial partners on various areas including creating three distinct competitive seasons, increasing the numbers of competitions in singles and doubles, adding more events on clay courts and overall having a more coordinated and integrated calendar.”

PL: “What are the benefits associated with tournaments across the country in non traditional areas such as Saskatoon?”

GZ: “Our mission is to grow the game of tennis and adding non-traditional markets has helped us expand our reach and promotion. These markets have traditionally done an excellent job in creating events that work well for the players, get great local media attention and community/fan support. It has also allowed us to create regional circuits in Canada.”

PL: “Do you think the investment will result in meaningful increase in participation in the region?”

GZ: “This accompanied by a focus on developing/upgrading facilities along with community based programs can lead to the increase in tennis players around the Country. At one of our most recent futures events in Kelowna, we had a little Aces community launch which saw almost 200 kids under the age of 12 come out and try tennis and watch some of the pro tennis in their back yard.”

PL: “Do you believe these events will improve our performance on the International scene?”

GZ: “All the initiatives we mentioned above we think we play a strong role in continuing to improve our results on the International scene.”

PL: “Five years from now how do you see the competitive infrastructure evolving on a National level?”

GZ: “More competitors, more events, new tennis markets and a competitive structure that will better allow our players to meet the recommended number of competitions as per the long term athlete develop guidelines.”

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15 Responses to “ONcourt Interview: Gavin Ziv “Tennis Canada Improves Competitive Structure””

  1. 1
    AJ Says:

    Junior Tennis is only sports where juniors are making line calls,
    this opens the door for cheating.
    Please recruit or create more volunteer opportunities for
    monitoring Junior matches.

    Cheating is getting out of hand.

  2. 2
    TP Says:

    Completely agree with AJ.
    It is out of hand right now.
    The latest example was in Milton last weekend.
    All the balls that were close to the lines were called out. It was just one girl who required constant attention during all her matches.
    The attitude was terrible.
    Volunteers are good but they have to be trained.

  3. 3
    Alex Says:

    I can confirm TP’s words for Milton tournament.
    My kid was playing there and I saw that myself.
    The only problem I have with Volunteers is that beside training they also need experience otherwise they can make things even worse like one of them did the last outdoor provincial for my kid by overruling 2 calls that she even did not see because she was watching two players arguments on the next court.

    I attended many tournaments and I can see that most of the boys after U16 and up practically do not make bad calls. They even do not call outs in many cases.
    In girls tournaments it is everywhere starting from U12 and ending with U18.

  4. 4
    David Says:

    At this point the governing body must be held responsible. Cheating has been addressed and has increased over the recent past as certain players will win at all cost because of external pressures such as parental and the desire to catch Tennis Canada’s eye and thereby travel the world at 12 yr old and receive supplemental training. The result is increased arguments on court and increased confrontations among parents that at times turn physical or verbal. OTA must know this or directors of the tourney are not reporting these situation because of the paperwork involved. Players know who the chronic cheaters are yet these cheaters intimidate and there are no repercussions. I always thought that when I pay $65 or $110 for tournament fees that those funds also go towards paying for officials. But there are rarely any officials so it looks like to us that those fees are a cash grab.
    Certain players have cheating incorporated in their game, just as one would a good serve. They make a bad call and justify it by just saying”it’s my call”. It has become a joke because there is no authority that will discourage this. The directors are overwhelmed as they are alone. Therefore the good players get discouraged and get turned off on the sport. Outside of the tennis circle, family and friends think we as a tennis group are nuts when they hear that the kids make their own calls. Of course cheating will occur they respond. It is up to OTA and Tennis Canada to step in. It is out of control. If not, if a fight occurs between parents, these two governing bodies should be held liable as well as it is well known that cheating is out of hand and there has been no intervention.
    My suggestion is simple. Tougher penalties for those that are career cheaters and have their matches monitored. You want to know who those cheaters are? Simple…. Ask the players. One has done such a great job she is travelling with team Canada right now. Message it sends to players….it pays to cheat.
    Second suggestion…. All senior players must put in a certain amount of volunteer hours and officiate the younger players matches. Most of these senior players do not play every weekend as they are trying to protect their ranking anyhow so get them to work. It is a way for them to give back to the tennis community as they have received so much over the years. Each player must volunteer a certain amount of hours. If not they are not eligible for the upcoming tournaments. The cost is free to implement this so get it done. Everyone knows, sees, and talks about this cheating problem every tournament. Lets get these changes done.

  5. 5
    Marie Says:

    The National Officiating Department?…….come on….. Is that true? I have more than 1 child in tennis and have been going to tournaments for the past 7 years almost every weekend…. I have NEVER seen anyone from this “department”. You must be making this stuff up…. Hahaha. How about you and your people come and float around the tournaments, you know ground level, and see what is going on. Parents going crazy on each other…. Players cheating and bullying on court and little officiating. I have seen directors intimidated by parents as the officials are out numbered. It has reached a whole new level of crazy on the girls tennis side. Worse than when my kids started 7 years ago.
    So I say to this “ministry of magic” department…. Come show yourself and make your presence felt at the tournaments. It’s dirty…. Come and make a real difference. Our kids need you too.

  6. 6
    Tennis Dad Says:

    This is a great topic and is worthy of discussion and change. I agree with what has been said. (Ministry of Magic….hahaha..they don’t exist either. Funny)

    Lack of officials at tournaments is a problem. However I believe the problem is also with the lack of enforcement. The tournament director MUST forward to OTA what occurred at the event. If there was cheating with a particular player that must be reported. OTA must then take note of this and address the player via email or such about the warning. Third warning and there MUST be a suspension. I agree with David. So much on the line so the will to win at all cost is strong. (Receiving free Supplemental training, travel representing Canada overseas etc.) Enforcement is the key.

    Not to offend but these discussions regarding cheating, officiating and enforcing have been going on for years. It seems like OTA is overwhelmed with the task of cleaning this up.Just saying……it’s been discussed for a long time. Take a day off during the week from the office and on your Saturday come and roam some of the weekly tournaments. Follow the repeat offenders that cheat and witness it for yourself. We need to think differently. At my work, like many others, we always need to be thinking differently to stay ahead and evolve. Things never stay the same. Your presence at these tournaments would be encouraging and will show a determination to make our sport great!

  7. 7
    Alex Says:

    Dave, you can rely on asking players. In their opinions every one they lost to is cheater.

  8. 8
    Alex Says:

    Sorry, I meant
    David you can not rely …………………………………

  9. 9
    Alex Says:

    To the topic.

    All those initiatives are very good but I am afraid it may be too late.
    Just looking at the numbers we can see how OTA and TC in general are shrinking. When I registered my kid with OTA in 2010 in her last year of U14 there were more then 300 kids registered just in U14. Right now there only 146 kids in U14 with 74 of them U12. The numbers are declining every year. 208 in U16 and then 249 in U18. Basically if you do the math the numbers are (OTA):
    U12 74 girls registered
    U14 72
    U16 62
    U18 41
    If you go through the list you can find that there are about 10 girls in each age category (except U18) who never played in 2013. There are about 15 girls (including in U18) who played one or two tournaments this year. I am not calculating those who were or are injured.
    It was also reflected in U16 Provincial championship.
    Only 4 girls from top 20 participated. I hope OTA will learn from it and will do better next year.

  10. 10
    Rose Says:

    Saw tennis Canada team from Vancouver with their coach Ruben in the US. Unethical bully behaviour. Screaming at opponents, cheering on unforced errors and cheating. I was sorry for Canada. And to think national coach would allow this. Maybe he learnt different ethics from other places. Canadiens in my books did not behave this way. 10 kids were out of control and their coach yelling with them. Sad and embarasing. Very poor sportsmanship at a junior event…

  11. 11
    Dino Pollitt Says:

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  12. 12
    Effie Angelozzi Says:

    rick simpsons hemp oil cures any type of cancer.. if a person with cancer did both of these things it would really help

  13. 13
    Nelle Rebera Says:

    Do you guarantee shipping worldwide?

  14. 14
    Sanford Yetter Says:

    hey, I started and failed this diet twice in the last few months. I only ever got up to day 14 and lost 10lbs in that time (but I didn’t stick to it strictly and did no exercise). Both times I broke the diet with a binge and gradually gained the weight back over a month or so.

  15. 15
    Donald Meditz Says:

    Interesting. Perhaps someday I’ll try a breakfast-to-breakfast intermittent fast instead of dinner-to-dinner. I find dinner-to-dinner pretty easy, though.

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