Ari Novick and Sophie Ronan of Tennis Canada came to Winnipeg to meet with Tennis Manitoba’s board of directors on December 4th at the Sport for Life Centre.

Tennis Canada’s head offices may be out east in Montreal and Toronto, but that doesn’t keep them from building a strong bond with the entire country — including Tennis Manitoba.

At the end of November, Tennis Manitoba Executive Director Mark Arndt and President Mohamed Ismath were flown out to Toronto, along with other provincial tennis representatives from around the country, to meet with Tennis Canada officials.

It’s a meeting that takes place twice a year, as Tennis Canada wants to make sure everyone is on the same page so they can work together to further grow the game in the country. But they don’t stop there, as they also send two Tennis Canada representatives once a year to visit all the provinces to go over their strategy plan, establish goals for the year, and to discuss what’s happening at a national level and how it impacts each and every province.

Last week it was Tennis Manitoba’s turn to play host, as Ari Novick and Sophie Ronan — both from Tennis Canada — came to Winnipeg for a visit. They met with Arndt and his staff, as well as the Tennis Manitoba board of directors.

“It’s really great to be a part of this process with Tennis Canada,” said Arndt.

“You do feel like each time a Canadian wins on the court at a big event that you were a part of it in one way or another. Tennis Canada really make you feel a part of a team. Like they say, they don’t call it Tennis Canada, management at Tennis Canada truly believe it’s tennis in Canada because we’re all a part of it and it’s better to be together than to be divided.”

Seeing how Tennis Canada makes such a strong effort to connect with all the provinces to work with them, it’s no surprise to see how much the sport has grown in the country over the past few years. Canadian stars such as Milos Raonic, Eugenie Bouchard, and Denis Shapovalov are perfect examples of that.

“They set a plan in motion approximately 12 years ago, as Michael Downey (Tennis Canada CEO) had his sights set on us becoming a leading tennis nation, that’s what he wanted to accomplish,” Arndt said.

“At the time, when they forged ahead with that plan, we weren’t so much a tennis powerhouse. Now it’s funny, because countries like Japan are contacting Tennis Canada and asking what’s in our water because we’re producing all these players. They want to know what we’re doing here and that’s a compliment. When a country like Japan is asking if they can learn from you, that says a lot. The future is bright.”