The day has come: want to feel like Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Raonic on the Red Clay Courts of the European Spring Clay Court season? Now you can live the experience, right here at Toronto Tennis City, the small quaint club located in the midtown Davisville area of the city.
The same surface used last week at the “Internazionali d’Italia” at the Roma Foro Italico, where Nadal continued his domination on the red dirt over Djokovic [see the Joker happy to be on red clay], has been installed at the five-court Balliol facility and is now ready for play. The 50 tons of clay came from the Cremonini factory near Imola, Italy. The factory is the largest producer of the surface in Italy and its product is the surface of the International of San Marino, Italian Davis and Fed Cup, ITF’s, Challengers, as well as the Italian Open.
The project has been in the works since Pierre Lamarche and All-Canadian Sports Management Inc. took over the ownership of the five-court facility two years ago. Lifetime friends and Tennis Canada Hall of Fame members, Harry Fauquier of Tennex Systems and Lamarche [All-Canadian Sports Management Inc.], decided that there was only one option to provide developing Canadian players with the opportunity to develop a certain set of skills [footwork, physical endurance, variety of game style, mental tenacity and strategy] and that was to duplicate the surface, where most world-class players are developed – red clay.
Lamarche and Fauquier, both former Davis Cup players and captains and long time supporters of Canadian tennis, agreed that the surface they both had learned on, red clay, was the answer. The only problem is that the red clay available in North America is more a variation of the green clay, Har–Tru, than it is of European or South American clay. Although they have not given up on finding a North American solution to the natural resource quandary, they decided to look abroad for solutions. The final choice, of the Italian option, was based on access, delivery and most importantly, the duplication of the real red clay experience.
Fauquier added: “This is an experimental foray in providing Canada with the surface, which is essential in developing players aspiring for international success. Hopefully, we can start a trend, which will see existing and new facilities considering the red clay option. It is also a lovely way to spend a few hours for adult recreational and competitive players”.
Toronto Tennis City is also home to ACE Tennis, Canada’s top ranked tennis Academy. Former Jamaican Davis Cup player and captain and the President of ACE Tennis, Doug Burke, said: “We are so excited to be able to provide our players both in Burlington and Toronto the opportunity to develop their skills on the most demanding of surfaces. This will only enhance our development programs and the skills of our players.”
Lamarche added: “We are looking forward in the short term, until other facilities develop the same red clay option, to work closely with the Ontario Tennis Association to provide them access for some of their player development opportunities. Toronto is the center of tennis in Canada, and we must show the way for others and assist them in achieving their journey, if our dream of making tennis a major sport in our country is to become a reality.”