Barry Bruce, with everything one would need at Tennis U in Steinbach, Manitoba.

By Terry Frey, The Carillon

With Canadian superstars Milos Raonic and Genie Bouchard making their mark on the world tennis stage the last couple of years, interest in tennis in this country could be at an all-time high.

So for Steinbach’s Barry Bruce to launch his Tennis U in Steinbach, which could be one of the finest facilities in the province, if not the country, the timing is right, with interest in tennis, perhaps coincidentally, but certainly fortuitously, at an all-time high.

This project for Bruce, the owner of the McDonald’s franchise in Steinbach, has been in the works for a couple of years, but with the indoor facility now completed at his new building on Acres Drive, it is now open as he is accepting bookings from the public.

Bruce, himself, is one of the top tennis coaches in the province, with more than 25 years of coaching experience who also has experience coaching at the national level and on the ATP professional tour.

Dubbed a world class training centre, a tour of the facility earlier this week left this reporter, who just happens to be an avid tennis buff, absolutely wide-eyed that this facility was located right here in Steinbach.

Bruce has invested more than $1 million of his own money into the facility, which is state of the art in every respect. A serving machine that can serve the ball up to 130 mph. There is also full court radar to measure the speed of serves. Milos would be suitably impressed. And there is a Lobster machine, which can lob the ball in different patterns.

His professional tennis stringing machine is one of only a few of its kind in Canada and is the same machine used on the ATP Tour. Even the playing surface, called plexi-pave, is the finest surface available.

Tennis U is now open for booking individuals to play or for lessons. A variety of lesson rates are available, depending on the equipment used in the process.

An example of rates for court rentals are $40 per hour for singles, which would be $20 per person, or $60 an hour for doubles.

“We are completely self-contained here, ” said Bruce, “we have everything here anyone would need in tennis.”

One of the things that Bruce is most excited about with his new tennis facility is the new program he is offering for kids called Learn to Play where different balls are used in the program to make it easier for kids to learn the game. He is hoping to start after school and summer programs for kids wanting to learn the game. “The kids will use smaller racquets and foam balls and we can have up to 24 kids on the court at one time.”

He is also hopeful that adult leagues will start at the facility as well as hosting some future competitions.

The facility itself is stunning, 11,000 square feet in all with a 40-foot ceiling with brilliant lighting.

For Barry Bruce, Tennis U is a hobby, a passion and a business venture all rolled into one, this truly is a facility second to none.

“It’s fun to see people’s reaction when they see it for the first time, tennis people from around the country,” said Bruce with a chuckle, “they are shocked, they can’t believe it’s here.”

Article and photo courtesy of Terry Frey, The Carillon