Western first began to establish its tennis program in the 1920s. Current UWO tennis coach Anthony Glavanic has served as the coach since 1990, and in 2011, Cameron Cross joined the program as a co-coach. The Western Mustangs men’s tennis team has won three straight OUA championships and 18 in total. The team is made up of a mix of dedicated veterans and skilled rookies/sophomores from across the world. Tennis Canada spoke with team captain Sasha Leznoff about his experiences playing university tennis and advice for student tennis athletes.
I believe that the level of competition in the university tennis program in Canada is higher then it has ever been. The biggest difference has been the depth of players in the league. Tennis is a growing sport in Canada, and there are so many highly-ranked players now who have decided to stay here for their education. This has led to a much higher quality of tennis all throughout the lineup.
It is very exciting to represent Western University at Rogers Cup. Tennis has long been an individual sport, but when you are representing your school, you are playing for much more then just yourself. You are playing for your teammates, coaches, the student body, and reputation of the university.
Having the event at Rogers Cup makes it that much more special. Rogers Cup is the most prolific tennis tournament in Canada with a lot of history. To be playing on the same courts as the pros and having tennis fans throughout the grounds come and watch is an incredible experience.
I have always been around the game of tennis. I grew up playing in the Ontario Tennis Association, competing in provincial and national tournaments. I also competed in OFSAA and the inter-county Major’s league. Aside from playing competitively, I coached tennis for many years and was a ball boy at Rogers Cup.
My experience playing tennis in university has been extremely rewarding. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by awesome teammates and coaches who I have built lasting relationships with. We have also had great success with winning the OUAs and qualifying for nationals in all of my seasons here. But there have been many challenges as well. With such a strong team, your spot in the lineup is never safe and you must be prepared to work hard at practice. As a team, we are also still looking to take the next step and win the National Championships. Overall, university tennis has required commitment and persistence, but it has been the highlight of my time at Western.
To anyone looking to join the Canadian university tennis program, I would say “Do it – the program is growing and getting more competitive each year; and playing tennis on a varsity team and representing your school is an incredible experience – don’t miss out!”
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