Written by: Robby Menard
***Robby Menard who has a Bachelor of Physical Education (Science) and Specialization Tennis Fitness, is Tennis Canada Level 4 coach and Club Pro 2.
Robby is the cofounder and head coach of the Académie Ménard Girardin (A.M.G.) Montréal. Coach of the year in Québec 1993, 2005, 2007 and Tennis Canada Excellence Award holder 1994-96, 2005, 2009-2010, he has been an influential leader in the last 15 years in the Québec Tennis Federation commission of coaches, and has been involved with many professional ranked players such as Simon Larose 188 ATP and Stephanie Dubois 98 WTA. Cristina Popescu top 5 ITF ranked player.***
The state of Canada’s tennis resides in a smart tennis competition structure .This statement has been said for 35 years now:
“ I know I have heard it since playing my first provincial tennis tournament ! “.
The most common negative comment we have heard over the year about our nice little Canadian junior tennis players at the international level is: they look good, they hit the ball well, but they are not tough competitors.
I believe we have the worst competitive structure of any modern industrialized country, for the following reasons:
- Our summer Nationals are too early in the summer season, so our players play Provincials too early. Consequently, there are very few outdoor preparation tournaments. This, obviously, means our indoor season is too long. Therefore, points are easier to win indoors etc…
- We don’t play enough on clay. Only the under 12’s and 14’s play on clay. There should be 3 Nationals for all categories. The under 12’s and 14’s should have an outdoor’s national, on hard courts on top of the one on clay. I suggest Nationals for under 16 and under 18 on clay… effectively stretching the summer season. Here is an unconventional idea: make a national event for the under 12, 14, 16, and 18 categories in Florida in November! We must evolve. Put your ideas out there.
- We do not have enough team events to make our sport fun! Granted, Tennis Canada is trying to move in that direction, but our sport must be more fun than soccer and hockey!
- We need more open events; yes, the $9,000 events, so we can have local juniors and adults playing each other.
- As much as possible, encourage international events to come to Canada, not just us always going away to play high level.
- Indoor private clubs are too full, many are at capacity. Tennis Canada and provincial associations must help create more bubbles to provide tennis competition to local communities.