This week, Tennis Canada introduced its 2021–2022 class of athletes who have been training at the National Tennis Centre (NTC) presented by Rogers for at least a year and all through the pandemic: Victoria Mboko, Kayla Cross, Mia Kupres, Annabelle Xu, Jaden Weekes and Christophe Clément. Get to know more about them in this video presentation.
While you will very likely hear more and more about them in the years to come, they have already left their mark by being part of the 15th class in the NTC’s history!
This year, the Centre celebrates its 15th anniversary. Created in 2007 under the leadership of Louis Borfiga, Tennis Canada’s former vice president of elite development, the NTC has been home to some 50 athletes and proven itself by helping its players—including Milos Raonic, Eugenie Bouchard, Félix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca Andreescu—ascend to the highest spheres of international tennis.
“Nearly 15 years ago, Tennis Canada inaugurated the very first National Tennis Centre, with a full-time program designed for the nation’s best athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 to provide them with training, education, coaching and sport science resources to succeed at the highest levels of our sport,” said Hatem McDadi, Senior Vice President of Tennis Development. “Thanks to the support of all the partners involved in athlete development, we can say our investment paid off. We can be proud of our Centre and work in the private sector to help Canadian tennis thrive at the highest level, and it will be important to continue to work together to prepare tomorrow’s players and consolidate Canada’s position in the global arena.”
A long-term investment that quickly delivered on its promises
The NTC was founded on the premise that Canada could train local champions who would go on to compete in major international tournaments. While one of the key goals was to generate more interest in the sport among the media and public, there was also a determination to show future generations they could rank among the best in the world.
Looking to leading tennis nations like France and Russia, Tennis Canada established the NTC and invested heavily in elite development. The objective was a long-term one, but the results began to add up in no time.
Milos Raonic won his first ATP title in 2011 in San Jose. Since the start of his career, he has raised 8 winner’s trophies and competed in 15 other finals, including Wimbledon in 2016.
Eugenie Bouchard has earned two WTA titles, one in singles (Nuremberg, 2014) and the other in doubles (Auckland, 2019). She has also played in 11 finals (7 in singles, 4 in doubles), including Wimbledon in 2014.
Félix Auger-Aliassime poursuit son ascension sur le circuit professionnel. Détenteur d’un titre de double (Masters de Paris, 2020), il a pris part à 9 finales (8 en simple) et a fait son entrée au Félix Auger-Aliassime continues to climb in the ATP rankings. He holds a doubles title (Paris Masters 2020), has fought in 9 finals (8 in singles) and entered the Top 10 in 2021 at No.10, his highest career ranking.
Bianca Andreescu aura marqué l’histoire du tennis au pays en Bianca Andreescu made Canadian tennis history by becoming the first Canadian to triumph at a Grand Slam (US Open 2019). She also holds two WTA titles, including the National Bank Open (2019), and has made two final appearances.
Over the past 15 years, NTC players have attained five singles titles and nine finals from Grand Slam events (junior and professional). While there is no doubt that their success is the result of all their hard work and the efforts invested by those around them, the National Tennis Centre has remained the catalyst that gave Canada’s best and brightest the opportunity to join the global elite.
As one chapter ends, another begins
Since last summer, Guillaume Marx has led the National Tennis Centre presented by Rogers, as well as the regional training centres in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver, which bring together the best under-15 players in each region. Sylvain Bruneau continues to oversee the NTC’s transition program for girls, working in close collaboration with Simon Larose, and Marx runs the boys’ program with the support of Martin Laurendeau. Nicolas Perrotte and Virginie Tremblay are the centre’s fitness coaches, and André Barette is the academic advisor.
With this sense of renewal, it is essential to remember that the changes do not mark the start of something new but rather the next steps in the journey that began in 2007. The efforts of the past decade and successes of our Canadian players at every level are what enabled Tennis Canada to lay the solid and critical foundations that ensure the development of our sport.
Knowing the NTC was initially founded with a view to generating a long-term impact before short-term results, the next chapters promise to be very exciting!