Editor’s Note: Two years ago, Tony Roth, the Director of Tennis at the Ottawa Athletic Club, received a three-day notice that the club was closing. The following story emphasizes that “Good things happen to Good People.”
OC: Tony, the demise of the Ottawa Athletic Club, was a disaster for tennis. How did it affect you? How about all the members and children of the Noble Tennis school?
The closure of the OAC was a great shock. We were given three days’ notice after we had run try-outs and filled our programs for the Fall-Winter season. It left hundreds of students and families in a predicament and a staff of eighteen teaching professionals, nine full-time. With few other regional facilities, many had to hang their racquets for the fall and winter of 2020.
OC: How did you react after learning of your new precarious situation?
Although I was initially stunned at the announcement, I know that life moves in cycles, and there is no point in complaining over things that cannot be changed, so I turned my mind to the future.
OC: What has transpired since then?
The short-term plan was to create a Noble Tennis School prospectus for presentation to seasonal clubs. This led to agreements and successful ongoing working relationships with the Ottawa Tennis & Lawn Bowling Club and the Kingston Tennis Club. At the same time, we initiated a project to create a new year-round facility in Ottawa, the Noble Tennis Centre, and we are still engaged in that pursuit.
OC: How do you feel about your new opportunity?
I am amazed and delighted to work with Tennis Clubs of Canada as they launch a brand-new facility, the Kingston Racquet Centre. I have deep roots in Kingston. It was my childhood home, and I later attended Queen’s University and was Head Pro at its indoor and outdoor clubs before moving to Ottawa. Kingston has had no indoor tennis for about eighteen years, so the new facility is a tennis development challenge and opportunity that I look forward to undertaking. Working with the fine people at TCC on this project is something I could not have imagined would occur when the OAC closed back in 2020.
OC: Will the Noble Tennis School continue to exist?
Absolutely yes, the NTS culture, pathways and methodology will be implemented at the Kingston Racquet Centre, and we will sustain our seasonal club commitments. In addition, a second volume of the book Noble Tennis will soon be published, this time on our Methodology, as well as a revised second edition of the first volume on the Wisdom of Sport. At the same time, we are expanding our YouTube and Social Media presence while pursuing a year-round facility in Ottawa.
OC: What are your goals going forward?
When the OAC closed, I was unsure if it was the end of the NTS project or just the end of one cycle. As it turns out, the School has been resurrected in new and exciting ways, and I look forward to working with humanity through the phenomenal sport of tennis in the coming years.