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Neil Parker: “Two Minutes of Canadian Tennis in Slo-Mo”

Written by: Neil Parker

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After a tennis scholarship at North Eastern Oklahoma University, Neil began his coaching career at Oak Bay Rec Centre in Victoria. Since then, he has coached at Rockland Sport in Montreal, Blue Mountain Racquet Club, Vancouver Lawn Tennis & Badminton Club, The Arbutus Club and worked as the Head Tennis Professional for the New Westminster Tennis Club, North Shore Winter Club as well as the Tennis Director for the University of British Columbia. Neil has also coached internationally for PBI.

Over the last nine years Neil has trained hundreds of coaches as a Tennis Canada course facilitator. Neil developed a DVD with Wayne Elderton that was rated the #1 DVD in the world by the ITF for developing young players. The DVD is now the centre piece of the first level of Canadian certification. He produces videos for Tennis Canada, USTA and has licensed pro footage to Transworld Sport. As a pioneer in the use of video and tennis, he has produced projects such as the world’s first interactive video tennis lesson and the world’s first tennis instructional app for the iPhone/iPod touch. Neil’s web site gbatennis.blogspot.ca has more information.

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The Odlum Brown Vancouver Open (July 30th – August 7th) was a successful tournament for Canadians with a resurgent Aleksandra Wozniak taking the women’s title and BC boy Vasek Pospisil losing to eventual champion James Ward of Great Britain in the semis. Other Canadians in the draw were Erik Chvojka beating fellow Canadian Pierre-Ludovic Duclos in the first round and Steven Diez losing to Grega Zemlja of Slovenia in round one. On the women’s side Sharon Fichman, Eugenie Bouchard, Heidi El Tabakh lost in the first round with Gabriela Dabrowski bowing out to Irina Falconi of the US in the second round. Stephanie Dubois tried to battle through a leg injury but retired in the quarters to Julia Cohen of the US.

The Vancity Open is Canada’s second largest tournament with this years prize money growing to $200,000. The tournament is very popular among the players and I’ve witnessed how the event has helped Canadians like Rebecca Marino, Stephanie Dubois and Vasek Pospisil mature into tour professionals. There’s talk of making the Vancouver Open a full ATP/WTA tour event. Next time you’re in Vancouver in late July, check out the Vancouver Open at the beautiful Hollyburn Country Club.

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A New Reality By Nicolas Pereira

This past week in the World Team Tennis ‘Bubble” I have seen the efforts to keep everyone safe while carrying on a team competition with around 60/70 players and coaches onsite. Counting organizers, officials, media, and support personnel are around 150 people trying hard to make this happen. I am very impressed by how the strict protocol has been handled and how everyone is invested in making this event a success, but The Open is a completely different scale of details.

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It does not matter that you get your rating playing locally or that you had spent an insidious amount of money playing the ITF junior tour tournaments. Your rating is your level of play (you get no bonus for playing more or playing far away). This allows us to break free of the ITF competitive structure potentially saving us time, money, and headache. We see this as a great opportunity to improve the logistic of our sport.

Brandon Burke (son of ACE President Doug Burke) Elected to WTA Board

As revealed in a recent news release issued by the WTA Tour – Brandon Burke has been elected to the WTA Board of Directors (to start officially in September). Oncourt got together with Brandon to delve a bit more into his background and to gain some insight into this wonderful appointment he has attained at such a young age.