Ontario Tennis

Ontario Tennis 2017/2018 | Summer 2017

Tennis, Ontario

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ONTENNIS.ca | SUMMER 2017 29 year, a tradition which continues to this day. Possibly the most important piece of the basic structure Jim initiated was to upgrade the provincial computer ranking system to a dynamic web-based system, Baseline. Through this system player history, draws, results and rankings could be accessed on the tennisontario. com web site. This provided transparency to the ranking process and attracted a lot of interest in the web site. New types of tournaments were added, for example rookie tournaments for new competitors, and David Defehr, who was Provincial Coach for the OTA between 2001 and 2005, even took on the responsibility of organizing and running the first under 12 nationals in order to establish this event in the calendar. In the Spring of 2008 Kartik Vyas, the current Provincial Coach, wrote an article describing the competitive structure pyramid and his experience as follows. "In the six short years I have been with the OTA, there have been several major changes in player development programming ranging from a new tournament database system to the addition of under 12 and now a viable U8 & U10 competitive structure. In that time, our competitive membership has grown by 500 active players." He also noted that "The OTA continues to thrive as an organization because of our supporting member clubs, sponsors, partners and committed staff and the ideal of a pyramid shaped competitive structure is being built and enhanced continuously." "The ideal "pyramid" provides a large number of introductory level tournaments spread across the province to provide competitive access to all. Players who compete successfully then gather experience through playing in tournaments that bring together competitors from a broader area with greater rewards in terms of competitive experience, ranking points and prizes. Provincially this pyramid peaks with provincial championships. Players who perform well at the provincial championship level can then start participating in the larger pyramid of the national and international competitive structure." Kartik and his staff are still focused on continuing this work of building and enhancing the pyramid to ensure that the competitive structure remains relevant and effective in supporting players' development needs at all levels and ages. Today there are twice as many summer OTA junior tournaments as in 1995 and almost the same number of winter junior tournaments as summer ones. When Tennis Canada increased the funding for tennis development, they added professional events across Canada (futures and challengers) which allowed players to earn international ranking points without traveling abroad, which complemented the OTA's approach. If we use Milos Raonic as an example of a player who used the OTA competitive structure as part of his development regime, we see that he actually started playing tournaments in 2000 at nine years of age. At 10 he played in 18 tournaments and had a win-loss ratio of just over 50%. It wasn't until he was 11, in 2002, that he started to win tournaments, taking the U12 indoor provincial title and 3 under 14 events that year. At 13 he started playing and winning under 18 events. He took the indoor provincial honours for under 16s at 14 and for under 18s at 15 and he won his only junior national title (U18 indoors) at age 17 in 2008. Milos then concentrated on playing Open and ITF futures events. At the start of 2011 when Milos' ATP ranking shot up to #37, he had played 522 matches with a win-loss ratio of 2/3, with 60% of these matches having been played in OTA sanctioned tournaments. Ever since Milos Raonic moved rapidly up the ATP singles rankings (from 156 to 37) in the first two months of 2011 to become the highest world ranked Canadian male ever in singles, Canadian professional tennis has blossomed. Clearly Milos' breakthrough has been an inspiration for others to succeed. Milos benefited from the OTA competitive structure to help develop his skill, competitive edge and identify him as someone worthy of special developmental treatment by Tennis Canada. Players like Brayden Schnur, Denis Shapovolov, Bianca Andreescu, Layne Sleeth, and Jack Mingjie Lin who are coming to the fore today also have played numerous matches in the OTA competitive structure. In 2012 when Milos was asked about the OTA competitive structure he said, "There was pretty much a tournament every weekend. I was very fortunate, there was a great foundation there and it provided enough competition, every weekend when I needed it." A hearty thank you must go to Jim, Alli, Dave, Kartik and all the OTA staff and Club volunteers who have stayed the course over the past twenty years to keep building the competitive structure and provide Ontario junior tennis players with the opportunity to get ample competition and experience all year round. 2008 BASELINE COMPUTER RANKING SYSTEM 3X TWICE AS MANY TOURNAMENTS TODAY AS IN 1995 VOLUNTEERS IMPROVE QUALITY OF THE TOURNAMENTS UNDER 8 & UNDER 10 ADDED AGE GROUPS WITH 500 ACTIVE PLAYERS 2 010+ RESULTS MILOS RAONIC DENIS SHAPOVALOV BIANCA ANDRESSCU LAYNE SLEETH MILOS BENEFITED FROM THE OTA COMPETITIVE STRUCTURE TO HELP DEVELOP HIS SKILL, COMPETITIVE EDGE AND IDENTIFY HIM AS SOMEONE WORTHY OF SPECIAL DEVELOPMENTAL TREATMENT BY TENNIS CANADA. BIANCA ANDRESSCU WON HER FIRST PROFESSIONAL TOURNAMENT AT THE AGE OF 16 COMPETITIVE STRUCTURE DENIS SHAPOVALOV WON HIS FIRST PROFESSIONAL TOURNAMENT AT THE AGE OF 16

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