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Doubles in Junior Events - Open Letter

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Gareth Dowdell
DNTC Director of Tennis

Open Letter to Atlantic Canada Provincial Tennis Leaders, Parents and Players:

We need to put a greater emphasis on doubles events at our Atlantic Qualifying Events. This will create a larger and more competitive pool of junior players by giving players more time on court, and developing their games in different areas. If we make doubles and consolation mandatory, players will all receive at least two singles matches and one doubles match per tournament.

Doubles requires subtly different skillsets from singles. Players need to hone these skills - soft hands, approaching the net, serve placement, etc. - in order to become truly rounded singles players. Doubles teaches players how to relate to a teammate and work together in an otherwise individualistic sport. Some players - myself included - will find greater success in doubles than they ever would in singles, leading to lifelong love of the sport.

Ultimately the goal for many Canadian juniors is Canada Games, and NCAA College Tennis in the US. Doubles plays a huge part in these team competitions. College coaches look at Universal Tennis Ratings (UTR) in order to determine whether a player would fit in with their program. Our players play so few doubles matches that most of them don’t even have a Doubles UTR. This could be a severe hindrance for Atlantic Canadian players moving forward.

When players enter tournaments, doubles should be included in the entry fee, and mandatory for all players. Currently, doubles is an afterthought. And consolation matches are often defaulted or cancelled altogether. This is detrimental to all of our young players.

If you agree with me please let your voice be heard. The junior provincial circuit is approved by the Atlantic Tennis Alliance Board (Provincial Tennis Association Presidents), and the Atlantic Tennis Alliance Staff (Provincial Tennis Association Executive Directors). Please email them and demand mandatory doubles and consolation draws in each junior event. All of you pay a membership to your provincial tennis association so they are here for you.

Emails of the provincial executive directors - responsible for scheduling and running each junior event:

Nova Scotia - Roger Keating: tennisns@sportnovascotia.ca
New Brunswick - Mark Thibault: tnb@tennisnb.net
PEI - Kristen MacDonald: ed@tennispei.ca
Newfoundland - Janine Campbell: tennis@sportnl.ca

Nova Scotia board member responsible for Player Development - Justin McDonough: justin@mmfp.ca