Like many Canadians, Jacey’s sports journey began on skates. She transitioned to tennis at seven-and-half years old. It started as a fun pastime, but quickly became her passion. She’s since made tremendous strides in her game and captured the U12 Fischer Outdoor Junior Nationals title this September.
The 12-year-old, who lives in Aurora, Ontario, has now spent over five years playing the sport and regularly trains at Tennis Canada’s Toronto headquarters. Hitting the ball, relieving stress, and the competition is what Jacey enjoys most when she’s on-court, usually two-to-three hours per day. Much time has been dedicated to mastering her craft, and Jacey is grateful that Tennis Canada coach, Tomasz “Tom” Blazejewski, is there to guide and support her.
Jacey met Tom in 2017, a year before she was invited to a Provincial/Regional PTC camp. These camps are designed to identify Canada’s best young talent and provide them with supplemental developmental opportunities, including coaching. From lesson one, Tom took notice of Jacey’s skill and has been working on fine-tuning her game since. He calls Jacey on match days to give her pep talks and constructive advice and happily made the six-hour journey to watch Jacey play in the U12 Nationals finals.
“My coach, he’s awesome,” Jacey noted. “He trains with me every day and gives me good quotes before every single match. Whenever I see him at my match, he gives me so much confidence.”
Winning the finals was a major milestone for Jacey. However, tennis isn’t always smooth sailing. She hasn’t always been so self-assured, but this season Jacey won 40 of her 59 matches, reached five finals, and captured three titles. Her hard work is paying off, and success is encouraging her to contemplate a career as a professional.
For players like Jacey, coaches like Tom are essential. The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on Tennis Canada’s tennis development investment, including coaching. That’s why the organization faces an enormous challenge to (re)build. To ensure players like Jacey have all the resources available to realize their tennis dreams, we need help. Your help.
Short-term goals include winning next year’s U14 Fischer Junior Nationals and working on her serve. Down the road, Jacey dreams of playing in a Grand Slam against one of her favourite players, Emma Raducanu. Both Raducanu and Jacey’s moms are from the same city in China – Shenyang – hence she feels a connection with the Brit. She’s a big fan of another US Open champion, Bianca Andreescu, who Tom also coached.
The PTC camps which Jacey attends are where most of Canada’s professional tennis players begin their journeys. From the PTCs, players advance to the country’s Regional Training Centres before graduating to the National Tennis Centre presented by Rogers in Montreal. These programs are instrumental in raising the next generation of tennis stars in Canada, and they would not be possible without the generosity of our donors.
Treading in the footsteps of her heroes inspires Jacey to believe she can make it at the highest level, just like they have. Already at such a young age, she has played a key role in terms of outreach for Tennis Canada’s new fundraising campaign called Where I’m Raised, which is focussed on raising players like her into becoming Canada’s next tennis champions.
Jacey made sure to watch every one of Leylah Annie Fernandez’s matches during her run to the US Open final. Seeing that kind of success firsthand inspired her to believe it’s possible for Canadians to be champions on the biggest stages. Help her achieve that dream.
“They indicate that being a Canadian tennis player it’s actually possible to win a big Grand Slam or tournament,” said Jacey. “It’s actually possible to be a really great tennis player and not doubt yourself.”
Tennis Canada CEO Michael Downey reached out to personally congratulate Jacey on her victory at the U12 Nationals, which coincidentally was held in the town where Fernandez grew up, Laval, QC. She is extremely grateful for the support she has received from the federation and one of her goals is to represent Canada on the international stage.
She said: “I think it’s awesome, everything that Tennis Canada did for me, all the encouragement I received. I’d love to represent Canada and play Grand Slams like Leylah.”
You can have a direct impact on helping players like Jacey make it as a pro and one day realize their dreams of playing in a Grand Slam, just like their heroes.
Read more about our fundraising campaign, Where I’m Raised. Donate today and help raise Canada’s next tennis champions.
Please contact our Fund Development team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.