Joel Dembe – Canada’s #1 Wheelchair Tennis Athlete


***Joel has always been in love with sports. He was born with a benign tumour that was removed near his spine, which developed into a partial-paralysis causing both a scoliosis and partial nerve damage to his body. As a child, Joel was very active and competed in a variety of sports including track and field, sledge hockey, challenger baseball, and golf. It wasn’t until he was introduced to Frank Peter Jr., one of the country’s top wheelchair tennis players, that he truly found his passion. Wheelchair tennis combined both speed, power, and eye-hand coordination. A sport that demanded that you be good at so many different things all at once.

After a few years, Joel rose to the top of Canada’s junior rankings. At age 19, he made Canada’s National Development. As part of the development team, he was introduced to some of Canada’s top coaches, trainers and players, and continued to progress as a tennis player while attending the Sports Management program at the Brock University. In recent years, he has been training with the ACE Tennis coaches who helped him to finally become the number one ranked Canadian in the ITF Men’s Wheelchair tennis singles ranking in July 2011 and Canada’s #1 ranked wheelchair tennis athlete in October 2011. Joel is currently in training for the London 2012 Paralympics.  If you wish to help Joel reach his goals, you can make a tax deductible donation at***


ONcourt: Joel, tell us what it means to you to be Canadian Nationals Singles and Doubles Champion.

Joel Dembe: Winning the Canadian Nationals Singles and Doubles titles are proof that hard work really does pay off!  I now realize that the sacrifices that I’ve made throughout the year to get to this point were totally worth it. I’ll be able able to call myself a National Champion for the rest of my life.

ONcourt: What do you feel was the most contributing factor to your championship? Was it technical, tactical, maybe psychological?

Joel Dembe: Mostly psychological. In year’s past, I was not mentally strong enough to beat opponents, especially when it came to crucial points. Have to give credit to Stephanie Nihon who gave me tools to calm my brain and develop a routine that would work for me. I would usually dig myself into a deep hole in a match, which would be very hard for me to crawl out of, and now that just doesn’t happen anymore. Having the ability to calm my thoughts throughout the match allows my tennis ability to really come through.

Also, I would have to say the amount of time I’ve spent on court with Ben Armstrong along with several hitting partners has contributed as well, in addition to bulking up physically with the help of Jonathan Skelcher.

Finally, the night before the final I went to bed at 7:30pm. My body was extra-rested and energized when it came time for me to play.

ONcourt: Did you celebrate your win in any special way?

Joel Dembe: I didn’t celebrate whatsoever the night I won. I ended up doing laundry and cleaning my room at a fellow player’s house, whom I had stayed with during the Nationals. We also had training camp on the Monday & Tuesday, so I needed to give myself some much needed rest. I’ll hopefully have a chance to celebrate after the Para-Pan Am Games next month in Mexico.

ONcourt: Congratulations on making it to London 2012. How will you adjust your training to get ready for that?

Joel Dembe: Haven’t made it to London 2012, although I’m certainly well on my way to getting there.

ONcourt: What do you most look forward to during the Olympics in 2012?

Joel Dembe: Again, don’t want to comment on this just yet as I haven’t officially made it yet. I will know by next Spring.

ONcourt: Do you know much about the competition you will face during the Olympics and do you feel that the Canadian wheelchair level is world-level?

Joel Dembe: I know a lot about the competition that I will face, and certainly Canada as a country is well behind the curve. Both Europe and Asia completely dominate the sport, with North/South America having only 4-5 players in the top 50. Canada, along with the United States, is currently is trying to develop the next wave of talent that can compete at the same level as the Europeans, and hopefully our country will get there over the next few years.

Next Gen Tennis League promises exciting matches

The Next Gen Tennis League again saw some great tennis last weekend at The Credit Valley Tennis Club and Burlington Tennis Club. This promises that Saturday the 24th will feature some exciting matches and very competitive tennis. All three matches will be played on Saturday October 24th, with Team Byte Network Security facing Team Hydrogen at noon (Burlington Tennis Club).

ITF Men’s 85 World Team Championships Renamed the Lorne Main Cup

Toronto, October 13, 2020 – The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on Tuesday that, as of 2021, the Men’s 85 World Team Championships will be renamed the Lorne Main Cup after the late Canadian. Lorne Main was selected for the honour following a unanimous vote by the ITF Seniors Committee, and approval from the ITF Board of Directors, after his name was put forward by Tennis Canada as part of the nomination process.

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I would like to share a mindset I instil in all the players I coach, one I believe has greatly influenced all of the player’s performances; “whatever happens, I can handle it.” This mindset is achieved through a systematic, tactical development process, so that whoever the opponent, whatever the surface, regardless of the environment, or scoring, the players can, and will rise to the challenge as it is presented.

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Many are asking this question, each with their own opinion, their own truth. In reality, it is difficult to answer with certainty, as the evaluation method can vary from one person to another. However, when you think about it, when you look at the references in the field of coaching in various sports, there are certain common and fundamental elements that I will describe to you here…