After the weeks of planning and the tremendous effort that went into making the site perfect, everything came together in the most seamless way to welcome the first players. Tournament Director, Max Korkh, welcomed everyone to the largest public court tournament in North America in the late afternoon. Max noted that this year’s tournament has the most ever entrants in one of the longest running sporting events in BC. Darwin Schandor, Regional President of National Bank in BC, also spoke, commenting on their new title sponsorship role.
After the opening ceremonies, National Bank staff hit the courts to play some tennis! They were treated to a clinic by Tennis BC’s Director of High Performance, Joe Wood, and Alberto Sanchez, Head Tennis Professional at UBC Tennis Centre. It was a great way to start the official beginning of play.
After a year of planning, Tennis BC staff and volunteers were excited to get things going. While the tournament has always had a certain cache, there was a different feel in the air this year. It’s not just the flags of several nations waving in the breeze, or the newly installed bleachers, or the many banners and signs; this year’s tournament is the largest ever, and the event has taken on a whole new level of professionalism and inclusivity.
While the opening ceremony marked the official beginning of the NBSPO, play began bright and early with a Girls.Set.Match. event sponsored by National Bank and in partnership with Tennis Canada. The girls were treated to a tennis skills clinic with coaches Iverson Guan, Maheen Dada, and Joanne Hill. The clinic allowed girls to participate in skills-based drills and some fun games before the team tennis tournament began.
A little later on in the day, many pint-sized players hit the upper courts. Tournaments included a U8/U9 Red Ball Rookie Tour, a U9 Orange Ball tournament, and a U10 Green Ball tournament. Well over 150 matches were played before 2:30 pm. While the players are small, the competition is fierce, and every player gave it their all. Parents helped out with keeping score (challenging even for adults) and the kids made their own line calls. The goal was fun, and the kids left after lots of tennis, tired and happy!
Once the little players had gone home for a well-earned rest, and the National Bank social had retired from the courts to the Stanley Park Brew Pub for a little more social time, the first NTRP players began their first rounds as the evening finally began to cool.
As the sun set over the first full day of play and competition, it’s hard to believe how much action was packed into just one day. Despite the raucous disruptions as the nesting herons warded off a marauding bald eagle, the day was as close to perfect as it could be.
The weekend holds ITF opening rounds, more NTRP, and promises to follow up on the success of the first day with more great tennis!
New this year, Livestreaming will take place for the whole tournament on courts 1-6, so if you can’t make it down in person, you can keep track of all the action. Click here for the link.
Don’t miss out on your chance to enter the special, one-time-only Laver Cup Draw for your chance to win a prize package for all five sessions of the Laver Cup in September. Click here for the link to enter. Also new this year, is a 50/50 draw! Click here to enter.
Find all the photos from the NBSPO on Tennis BC’s Flickr page here!
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