Dennis Dobrovolsky and his three sons Illia, Timofey and Egor flew to Winnipeg for last weekend’s Tuxedo Junior Open from their home in Vaughan, Ontario. 

It was their first time experiencing a Tennis Manitoba event, and according to Dennis — a respected coach who runs a tennis school back home — they’ll be back.

“We’re gonna come back. We really enjoyed the atmosphere. And I did not expect the quality of tournament that you guys have there,” Dennis told Tennis Manitoba.

“The facility is great, the courts are super good… and the organizers and tournament director was amazing… They were able to update all the result scores instantly. So, as soon as the match was over, the score went up and you were able to see who was going to play who in the next round, which is important for players. Just to give you an example, in Ontario, they do it two days after the tournament is over.”

Most Ontario tournaments fill up immediately and end up having long waiting lists. With that being the case, Dennis went searching online for a place he could take his boys to compete.

But what impressed Dennis, an ITF Level 3 coach with over 30 years of experience, the most about their time in the Manitoba capital was the people.

“What we found out in Winnipeg is it’s a big family. All the kids and parents help each other, and you know, that was a surprise for me. (In other places), they just go to the tournament, they play, then they go home. They don’t make friends, they don’t talk to eachother. It’s like business. It’s not the way to develop athletes,” said Dennis.

“(But in Winnipeg), they came, they played, and they stayed. They stayed for an additional 2-3 hours… This is what I found at this tournament, and everyone is helpful. There’s respect, sportsmanship, kindness, and helpfulness. We really enjoyed it.”