Zito Baccarani: A True Canadian Tennis Family


***Zito Baccarani, a 60 year old International Tennis Federation white badge referee and white badge chair umpire, currently lives in Etobicoke, Ontario and is a retired school vice-principal. Zito is an avid basketball player and a golfer who also enjoys playing tennis. Zito’s daughter, Jennifer, was a highly motivated tennis player who began her College career at the University of Houston, and completed it at the University of Nebraska. She did very well and loved to compete. She recently began playing competitively again.  Zito’s son, Matthew, was a National Champion in U18 doubles and finished nationally as high as third in U16 Singles. He played at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and was ranked fourth in the NCAA Division 1 in doubles. He has coached on the Women’s Professional Tour and has recently been a teaching pro at York Racquets Tennis Club in downtown Toronto.***


ONcourt: You have had a life filled with tennis experiences. What are some of your fondest memories?

Zito Baccarani: The fondest memories I have are of watching our kids play tennis and succeed at something they very much enjoyed, all the way from just starting to learn how to play to competing at the NCAA level. Learning how to compete and deal with the on-court ups and downs helped them to become the great people that they are today. I could still watch them. It always gave us great pleasure, for which I hold great memories.

ONcourt: What has tennis meant to you and your family?

Zito Baccarani: Tennis brought us together in many ways. We would travel together and be holed up in some small motel room for many weekends of the year, listening to the kids fight, working together to help them achieve their goals, in some far away place like Windsor, Stratford, Kingston or Ottawa. All the time not realizing what a special time it was, but looking back at it, it truly was. My wife, Janet, and I, enjoyed travelling great distances to watch the kids play tennis in university in the USA. Janet, who is a Chartered Accountant and Financial Planner, started her own company called Dedicated Financial Solutions, located in Mississauga, and has taken on our daughter, Jennifer, as her business partner. They are great friends.

We would often play doubles with the kids – adults vs kids; girls vs boys; or, brown heads vs red heads – until they got too good for us and then it was mostly watching them and pulling for each of them, together as a family. Tennis was a large part of our lives for many years.

ONcourt: Zito, please tell us about a memorable moment if not favourite – your accident this summer in Granby. We never knew officiating was such a contact sport?

Zito Baccarani: It was at The Granby Challenger in July on my wife’s birthday. She received a call from Tony Cho, one of the top tennis officials in Canada, telling her that my umpire’s chair had blown over and that I was in the hospital with 8 broken ribs, a punctured lung and a concussion. The chair had a large sun umbrella attached to it and caught a gust of wind. I landed on my head with the chair crushing my ribs as I fell upon the arm rest. My shoulder also got crushed but luckily was not dislocated. I was chairing a professional women’s match involving Sharon Fichman, a good friend of the family. She was instrumental in getting me some help and pulling the chair off of me. I woke up in the hospital a few hours later without any memory of what had occurred and with Tony Cho sitting beside me. All I remember is that it was second set, 5-3, 30 all. Two more points and I would have had a lot more fun this past summer.  Two months later, I had to have surgery to remove blood from around my lung from the original contusion. Six months later, I am still recovering and trying to get my body back to where it was before the fall. It is a slow process, but I keep working at it.

ONcourt: If you had one message as a tennis parent to other tennis parents, what would it be?

Zito Baccarani: My singular message to other tennis parents is to not worry about if your son or daughter is winning or losing. That is exactly the kind of pressure that they do not need. Let your child develop a love for the game first. Everything else will take care of itself. Of course, you want to save them from the hardship of suffering through failure, and you want to celebrate their successes, but please do not live vicariously through your children. Let them learn how to deal with the positives and negatives of tennis, just as you would in other facets of their lives. It is not always easy to do and I must admit that it was not easy for me, but in hindsight that is the way I would always want to do things and will do things if my two beautiful granddaughters decide to take up the game, or anything else that they wish to do, for that matter. I would also offer up that same message to coaches, who are sometimes understandably frustrated by their proteges’ performance or behaviour on court. These are young people, still in the throes of learning about whom they are and whom they will become. Give them some leeway to make some mistakes and the corresponding corrections, of course with your support and guidance. They are not trying to fail in order to upset you. They want success as much or more than you do. So don’t take it personally. They will very likely pleasantly surprise you with their reactions and how they are capable of bouncing back. So to parents I would say: “Let go a little, and trust your children to find their own way on the tennis court and in life.”

ONcourt: I would like to thank you on behalf of many of us who really appreciate the way you help develop our youngsters through your management of them at different events.

Zito Baccarani: Thank you, Pierre.

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.

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.

Yves Boulais: No Excuses… Get Working

Yves was proud to work with players including Greg Rudsedski, Patricia Hy, Oliver Marach, Eugenie Bouchard and Rebecca Marino, who achieved excellent results on the world stage. He was an Olympic Coach in Barcelona 1992 & Atlanta 1996, and Captain of the Canadian FedCup Team 1998 – 2000.

Update on UK Tennis Situation with Master Louis Cayer

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.

Tennis Guru, Louis Borfiga Shares What Makes “A Good Coach?”

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…