Canada’s Two New Tennis Ambassadors: Viktoriya Tabunshchyk and Maria Tanasescu

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***ONcourt has decided to start profiling two young players, Viktoriya Tabunschyk and Maria Tanasescu, who are on the Under 12 Canadian Team, which left to compete in Italy for a four-week period.***

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We selected these two girls for various reasons. The most important one is that we can access their training and competitive programs easily.

Viktoriya Tabunshchyk was born in Ukraine on January 07, 2001 in the historical old city in the western part of Ukraine, Lviv. Viktoriya and her parents moved to Canada just before she turned two years old. She picked up a tennis racquet when she was 4, and her first shots were fed by her father, Kyrylo. When the family moved to Edmonton at the age of 5, she started to attend group and private lessons at Saville Sports Centre. Looking for a more competitive tennis environment, Viktoriya with her parents and her little sister moved to Burlington, when she was 7 to become a part of the ACE Tennis team – Viktoriya as a player and her Dad as a coach.

Presently, Viktoriya trains at ACE Tennis for 5-6 hours per day, which includes private and group tennis lessons, as well as physical conditioning. Viktoriya competes in a wide variety of tournaments almost every weekend – from U12 local tournaments to Nationals and Open adult tournaments. In the past half of the year, Viktoriya won the U12 interprovincial Ace Cup, the indoor U12 National Selection, a number of U14s and U16s events, was a runner-up at the U14 Provincials, and finsihed 4th at the U12 Nationals. In the last 10 months, she has played a staggering 100+ matches.

Maria Tanasescu, whose parents are Romanian, started to play tennis, when she was 6 years old. She played as a recreational tennis player until the age of 8, when she joined the Players Edge High Performance program. Maria currently trains at ACE Tennis at Toronto Tennis City with Ben Armstrong and other coaches. Maria is the Finalist of the U10 Provincials and the 2012 U12 Indoor National Champion. Maria’s long-term plans are to continue to be among the top players in Canada, and at one point, to be a tennis ambassador for her country around the world.

This past weekend, both Maria and Viktoriya played in the second U12 selections in Ontario, making it to the finals before the rain struck. As a result, the final will take place after they come back from their trip to Italy, which includes three international 3-star tournaments in Padova, Trieste and Porto San Giorgio, Italy. Five U12 players are in the group with Tennis Canada coach Sebastian Scutaru.

Viktoriya and Maria are very excited about having the opportunity to compete against the world’s best junior players. They understand how privileged they are in having been selected by Tennis Canada for this great opportunity. We asked them to share their experience so others could benefit from their travels.

A look at their experiences will provide readers the opportunity to see that there are many ways to achieve success. Now that players are starting at a younger age, parents are much more involved, and many of them are looking to find answers to their own child’s development. Hopefully, we can assist somewhat by providing insight in the development of these two great athletes. There are many similarities: they are great hardworking players, they are beautiful smart young kids, they are of Eastern European backgrounds, their fathers are heavily involved, and they are living their first real international competition. But there are also differences on how they go about achieving their success [for example, emphasis on the number of tournament matches played].

Entry-level tennis has changed dramatically with players starting into the sport at a much younger age. That emphasis has been promoted world-wide by the International Tennis Federation. Tennis Canada has also shifted their attention and resources to the new emphasis – “Progressive Tennis”. Following these two young champions through their Italian travel can provide insight to what the parents of young progressive tennis players can expect and aim for.

Good luck girls, looking forward to your reports.

A deeper dive into second serve statistics

The two most widely reported second serve statistics in professional tennis are the number of double faults a player hit, and their second serve winning percentage. If we’re trying to understand the effectiveness of a particular player’s second serve, relying only on those statistics has significant drawbacks. Article by Michal Kokta.

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