Now This Is Tough: Melika LeBlanc


***Melika LeBlanc, the 15-year-old bilingual player from Moncton, was the sole representative of New Brunswick at the recent U16 Nationals in Montreal. While players, parents and coaches worry about their training environment, Melika’s predicament gives a different meaning to the need of a better infrastructure in Canada. Moncton is slated to open a new year-round center this year.

Melika is a Grade 10 student, and has been training with Mark White since she started playing tennis.***


ONcourt: Melika, this is your fourth National Championship. Does it still have that special meaning for you?

Melika LeBlanc: Yes it does, because I always go to the Nationals and try to compete better than I did the last time I went.

ONcourt: How do you feel about your performance at the Nationals?

Melika LeBlanc: I felt like I did okay, considering the amount of tennis I play. But I could’ve done better.

ONcourt: How do you prepare for the Nationals, when you live in a place with no indoor courts?

Melika LeBlanc: I try to work on my fitness, I try to play in a gym. I play volleyball that helps my hand-eye coordination, and hockey that helps my movement.

ONcourt: How often on the average do you play weekly on courts?

Melika LeBlanc: From November to May, I play about 0 to 2.5 hours weekly. When the outdoors courts open, I play more.

ONcourt: How hard is it to come to the Nationals with that type of preparation?

Melika LeBlanc: It’s really hard, because you come here and the other players are way more prepared. They also play a lot more, have really good coaching, and have more experience, so it’s easier for them to succeed.

ONcourt: What are your aspirations as a player?

Melika LeBlanc: I would like to get a tennis scholarship to a university in the States.

ONcourt: When and how did you start playing?

Melika LeBlanc: I started playing when I was 8. I started, because my parents brought me to the courts to play for fun, and I really liked it.

ONcourt: What do you love most about the sport?

Melika LeBlanc: I love that you have to compete really hard. When you play singles, you are the only one playing, so you have to be at your best all the time. I also love that it is a mental game, and you have to strategize.

ONcourt: Thank you Melika.

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.

ONcourt Interviews NGTL Co-Founder Yves Boulais

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.