Alberta’s top senior tennis players–over 35 that is–played, partied and parlayed at the 2018 Steve Stevens Senior National Tennis Championships in vibrant Montreal, August 19-26. Voulez-vous parler de tennis?
Twelve Alberta players rolled into Montreal, joining 500 others, ready to test their competitive skills against Canada’s and the world’s best.
(Photo above, left to right: Caroline Benning, Jennifer Cherneski, Mary Manley, Joe Forrayi, Dave Crowther, Bonnie Crowther, Jim Leavens, Sara Jane Mcneill. Missing are: Craig Hiddleston, Sue Gilbertson, Ellen Toth, and Susan Wright).
Irwin Tobias, Chair of Tennis Canada’s Seniors Tennis Committee, survived to tell the tale:
The tournament had the second highest registration on record. Over 500 players participated. The highlight for me was the high level of play and the quality of the competition. Another highlight was the commitment of the clubs and volunteers for making this event the success it was.
For first-timer Sara Jane Mcneill of Edmonton, the tournament was such a hit that she plans to return next year to Toronto, August 18-24:
It was so fun!! The location was in an old Montreal suburb with lots of boutiques, cheese shops, coffee shops, restaurants and bars. The atmosphere was exciting. There was support and camaraderie and some fabulous tennis. It has inspired me to train more and improve and I cannot wait to go again next year!! (Sara Jane Mcneill, first time at senior nationals)
Alberta players who took on the pace of national competition are:
Caroline Benning (WS50 and WD50)
Jennifer Cherneski (4th in WS45; 3/4 in WD45)
Bonnie Crowther (WS60 and WD60)
Dave Crowther (3/4 in MD60)
Joe Forrayi (2nd in MD70)
Sue Gilbertson (WS70, WD70)
Craig Hiddleston (4th in MS50)
Jim Leavens (3/4 in MD60)
Mary Manley (1st in WD55; 3/4 in WD50)
Sara Jane Mcneill (WS50 and WD50)
Ellen Toth (WS65)
Susan Wright (WS50, WD45)
Great news for Alberta tennis, three of our players have been chosen to represent Canada on the Canadian Senior World Tennis Teams:
Jennifer Cherneski, W45 (Edmonton)
Craig Hiddleston, M50 (Calgary)
Joe Forrayi, M70 (Calgary)
Jennifer will represent Canada in the Margaret Court Cup in Miami, Florida, October 21-27. Craig has just returned from Germany where he played for Canada in the Fred Perry Cup. And Joe will find his beat in Umag, Croati, Sept 16-22 for world tennis competition.
Q: What is your experience with national and international competition?
A: In August 2017 I played my first seniors nationals in Vancouver. Before the tournament my goal was that one day I would make Canada’s world team for my age group. With my results from 2017 nationals, and one other qualifying tournament, I was invited to be on the young senior world team and represent Canada at the young seniors world championships in Miami, Florida, October 21-27, 2018. This is my first time playing internationally for Canada.
Q: What were your highlights of the Steve Stevens tournament?
A: I enjoyed playing people I hadn’t played before. I liked the challenge of having to figure out what to do on the court in the moment, and I met some really interesting people who all share the same love for tennis. I was also impressed and motivated to improve by the calilbre of many of the top players in the various age groups.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as a member of Canada’s 45+ team?
A: I feel very lucky to be travelling to play tennis, especially somewhere warm like south beach Florida. I like the idea of playing on a team and having the support of your teammates, and the three other members of the team are great players and great people. I’m also looking forward to meeting and competing against players from all over the world, though I have to admit I’m a bit nervous about it as well!
Q: How will you prepare for the October tournament in Florida?
A: I have been focusing on fitness over the past few months and will continue to make sure I’m healthy and strong for world’s in October. On the tennis court, I’m continuing to take regular lessons, playing with various hitting partners, and trying to get some more match play under my belt so that I can control my nerves better during matches that count.
For more on seniors tennis in Canada, click here.
Photo below: Jennifer Cherneski and Joe Forrayi at the Steve Steven Senior National Tennis Championships in Montreal.