Several important figures in the Canadian tennis landscape were honoured for their service to the sport with TPA Excellence Awards, which were given out at the Coaches Conference during Rogers Cup.
The TPA Coaches Conference was held in conjunction with the WTA and PTR on Tuesday, August 6th at Toronto’s Aviva Centre. This year’s headlining speakers were elite WTA coaches Wim Fissette, Torben Beltz and Dimitry Tursunov. There was also an appearance from 2019 Hall of Fame inductee Mary Pierce. Topics discussed included girls in tennis, the physical development pathway of a tennis player, development of Canadian tennis, and there was an on-court coaching demonstration involving tactical drills used by WTA coaches.
The 2018 Coaching Excellence Award was given to Tyler Prescott, who is currently the Director and Head Coach at NYTA, one of the largest academies in Toronto with over 350 members. Prescott has been a Course Facilitator for the Coach 2 certification for six years and is currently the Coach 3 Facilitator for Tennis Canada, helping develop the country’s top coaches.
Claude Chartrand of Quebec was the recipient of the 2018 Club Professional Excellence Award. A certified Coach 2 and Club Pro 2, he has been in the tennis industry for 39 years. In his role as Director of Tennis at Midtown Le Sporting Club Sanctuaire, Chartrand has helped the progression of the junior program whilst almost doubling the revenue of the tennis department. In May 2019, the club hosted a fundraising event, Mindstrong, and raised a tremendous $2.6 million, benefiting the psychiatry department of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.
One facility was also recognized for their outstanding contribution to the sport and their community this year. The Royal Glenora Club in Alberta was named the winner of the Year-Round Facility Excellence Award. Royal Glenora is partnered with a not-for-profit foundation that provides children with athletic potential the financial support to enjoy access to its facilities. The club hosts annual Edmonton Junior Tennis Society events that bring together over 400 underprivileged kids for a day of tennis. The club’s staff has a long history of being actively involved in community development outside of the club, sitting on various committees and boards to provide their support to the improvement of tennis across the city and province. Last year, they hosted a workshop during Davis Cup. The club also employs active, TPA-certified staff only.
The 2018 Course Facilitator Excellence Award was presented to Hassan Askari of British Columbia. Askari is a certified Coach 2 and Club Pro 2. He is recognized nationally as a tennis professional who displays the highest standard of conduct and service to tennis, both on and off the court. Over the past 12 years, Askari has played a significant role in player, program, and coach development in clubs and communities, particularly in Coquitlam, British Columbia. He is a compassionate coach, dedicated to the personal growth and well-being of the players he is working with. He is also a Course Facilitator and takes the time to share his experience with coaches and individuals who are eager to grow the game.
Ontario’s Pierre Lamarche was the winner of the TPA Service to the Game Excellence Award. He has been involved in tennis for over 20 years and is a certified Coach 4. Lamarche assisted with revamping Canada’s coaching certification system and, as Head National Coach, he led Canada’s Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams into the World Group for the first time. His leadership and vision to achieve long-term objectives enables him to harness, coordinate and empower individuals as part of a dynamic team.
Sarah Kadi of British Columbia was announced as the third recipient of the Rene Simpson-Collins Excellence Award for outstanding female coaching, which is accompanied by a $2,000 scholarship to help offset training and development costs. A certified Coach 3, Kadi has been coaching for over 10 years. She is currently working towards her masters degree in High Performance Coaching and Technical Leadership.
The Gary Caron Scholarship was presented to British Columbia native Zach Ohlin, who is currently the Director of High Performance and TDC Leader of The Tennis Centre in British Columbia. Ohlin has worked with players ranging from top U10s, to winning G5s, as well as on the WTA Tour. He also manages 25-30 kids in the Performance Program while overseeing the development of five national-level athletes.
All award winners received their accolades among their peers as well as family and friends in the TPA suite during Rogers Cup’s Tuesday night session. The event concluded with a presentation of recognition on Centre Court between the matches that evening.
Congratulations once again to each recipient on their incredible achievement.
(Feature photo: Peter Power/Tennis Canada)