Over 12 years ago, in the fall of 2007, Tennis Canada opened the doors to its National Tennis Centre (NTC). Since then, the structure put together by the Vice-President of High Performance, Louis Borfiga, has certainly proved successful and will welcome again this year a new group of athletes who are following in the footsteps of players like Milos Raonic, Eugenie Bouchard, Brayden Schnur, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca Andreescu.
Since its opening, 45 athletes have passed through the NTC. Of this group, 10 have played or are currently playing on the professional tour and 30 have played or are still playing on the American University NCAA circuit. In fact, the NTC counts 16 alumni who went on to graduate from American University.
Throughout its existence, the NTC has not only contributed to the development of great athletes, but has also helped to shape good human beings. The program aims to provide a supportive environment for some of the country’s top athletes and allow them to pursue an education at the same time. Over the years, a great camaraderie has developed between the players, the coaches and the support staff. A three-part mini series was produced to highlight some of the core values, vision and the team environment of the NTC.
This year, the NTC will welcome four newcomers, as Christophe Clément (Montreal, QC), Marina Stakusic (Toronto, ON), Mia Kupres (Edmonton, AB) and Annabelle Xu (Montreal, QC) have all made Montreal their home. They will join veteran NTC members Stefan Simeunovic (Niagara Falls, ON) and Jaden Weekes (LaSalle, QC), who are both in their second year of the program.
In addition, girls U16 national training camps will be organized regularly at the National Tennis Centre.
The majority of the current coaching staff will return for the upcoming season and their roles will more or less remain the same. Thus, Sylvain Bruneau will continue to spearhead the women’s program and will work closely with Simon Larose. Guillaume Marx will oversee the men’s program with the assistance of André Labelle and Nikolai Haessing. The NTC also counts Martin Laurendeau as one of its National Coaches. André Parent, Nicolas Perrotte and Virginie Tremblay will return as the fitness coaches while André Barette will continue his role as Academic Consultant.
Tennis Canada has also put in place four National Training Programs for young athletes between the ages of 8 and 15, which have already been well established for a few years in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and now in Calgary. These important programs are used to detect new talent and then ensure proper follow-up in their development and one day lead them to the National Tennis Centre. They collaborate with the various tennis clubs and their coaches to optimize the work already being done in clubs by setting specific goals. These programs are the foundation of Canada’s High Performance program as they introduce young kids to tennis, develop their skills and introduced them to a competitive environment.