Earlier in October, the U15 Canadian Prospect Team kicked off its 2023-24 cycle with two development camps in Toronto and Montreal. The revamped U15 program was soft launched last year, before being fully rolled out in 2023. The U15 Canadian Prospect Team is designed to help track, monitor, support and develop the next generation of Canadian tennis players ages 10-14.

The U15 camps are specially designed to incorporate a handful of different training areas to advance the participants’ development. From on-court drills and matches to off-court fitness conditioning to sport science and medicine education, the camps cover many key aspects to helping participants grow as tennis players.

The new cohort was divided into two groups, with the girls taking part in the camp in Toronto and boys participating in Montreal.

Quebec’s Gordon Dankov, who made it to the U12 finals at the Fischer Outdoor Junior Nationals in August, shared about his experience at the camp in Montreal and what he enjoyed most about participating.

“Being part of the U15 Prospect Team means that Tennis Canada chose me to be here and I’m feeling confident and positive because it means that they see something in me. I see that loads of players from before were in this camp just like me and made it as professionals, so I’m glad and happy that Tennis Canada chose me to participate,” said Dankov. “It means a lot for me positively and I’m happy to be here in the camp.”

“I like the morning tennis sessions a lot because it refreshes me a bit and it’s a bit like a new morning routine to me to train tennis early in the morning. I also like when we play other sports like basketball or soccer, because it helps me to be in a team and to interact as a team with other people,” he added.

Incorporating other sports and activities beyond tennis is a vital part of the camp’s structure. While tennis is primarily an individual sport, teaching young players the importance of teamwork through sports like soccer or basketball help them develop as an overall athlete.

The three main objective of the national camps are stated to 1) foster a high performance and team environment, 2) to evaluate and analyze key performance indicators in order to set individualized objectives, and 3) to provide participants with sport science and sport medicine support and education.

“Our goal with the camps isn’t to bring in participants and just make them hit the tennis courts non-stop day after day,” said Melissa Lacroix, Tennis Canada’s Senior Manager of High-Performance Tennis Development. “Our aim is to develop the country’s future professional players, and in order to do that we believe it’s important to create a competitive environment while also fostering a culture of team work and providing opportunities in the schedule to develop different skills off the court, like fitness, training, wellness, mental performance and multisport activities. Overall, we also want to fuel their passion for tennis by ensuring the kids are enjoying themselves while participating, learning and growing.”

A third camp will take place in Toronto on November 6, which will ensure that all 66 players on the U15 Canadian Prospect Team had the chance to participate.

More information on the U15 Canadian Prospect Team can be found here.