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UTSC Tennis Club launches new programs

The tennis courts in the valley are a hidden gem at UTSC.

New programs and a new head tennis pro will rejuvenate UTSC’s Tennis Club this year.

This summer, the Tennis Club will run a camp for youth from neighbouring communities, host a series of tournaments, provide training for wheelchair tennis coaches, and serve as one of the few places in Toronto where children can train using a new technique called progressive tennis.

The UTSC Tennis Club maintains 11 tennis courts and a clubhouse tucked into the valley just off Old Kingston Road. Its existence often comes as a surprise to university and community members alike.

“When I first went down there I thought this was  a hidden gem,” said Scott McRoberts, UTSC’s director of athletics and recreation, who says the quiet location and surrounding trees make it a wonderful place to play tennis. A former college tennis player himself, McRoberts wants to make sure more people know about the facility. His goal is to introduce 1,000 new people to the courts this year through a number of different programs.

A key part of the new programming will be Dustin Sexton, the new head tennis pro. Sexton comes from the Kew Gardens Tennis Club, where he spent the last 18 years instructing and playing. Sexton says he’s looking forward to building partnerships and running a club that is fully engaged with the surrounding communities

Among the highlights of the upcoming programs:

Over the summer the Tennis Club will run an eight-week camp combining tennis and leadership development, coaching at no charge 45 youth from the Kingston-Galloway/Orton Park and Mornelle Court community who normally don’t have access to this type of programming.

 In partnership with the East Scarborough Storefront, East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club, and Heron Park Community Centre, this program will reach into the heart of the community and not only develop youths’ tennis skills, but help shape tomorrow’s leaders. Camp members will receive a free racquet, a summer membership to the club, and a total of 24 hours of instruction.

 As an added bonus, kids will be brought on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in August

 “I’m confident this program will succeed because it was developed in authentic partnership with community organizations, and I look forward to our continued work together”, say Ewa Cerda-Llanos, Coordinator of Community/University Initiatives for the East Scarborough Storefront. 

The club will also receive a grant from the Ontario Tennis Association to teach progressive tennis, a technique designed for children and beginners that allows them to learn on a smaller court. UTSC is one of only five progressive tennis community clubs in Ontario and will receive over $1500 worth of equipment to implement the program.

The courts will also be renovated to exceed accessibility requirements for wheelchair tennis, and will host a national training program for wheelchair tennis coaches.

The courts will host a number of tournaments, including six OTA youth tournaments, four invitationals, a wheelchair tennis tourney, high school tournaments including the Toronto District School Board’s tournament, and University of Toronto club championships, as well as home matches for the Varsity Blues men’s and women’s teams.

“It’s our hope that the programs and initiatives implemented this year foster a vibrant and healthy club that serves the university and surrounding communities well into the future,” McRoberts says.

The club will hold an opening day celebration on May 5 from 12 to 4 pm. There will be a barbecue, instruction, a round robin, and the opportunity to register for the season. Click here for more information.

© University of Toronto Scarborough