Many Edmonton tennis players remember little Mia Kupres as a 7 year-old blasting the ball across the court at the Garneau tennis courts, or at the Saville Community Tennis Centre under the watchful eye of coach Carson Bell. Well, little Mia is all grown up, and has been recruited to Tennis Canada’s National Training Centre in Montreal. At the age of 15, this is a dream come true for Mia, her family, and for Coach Carson Bell. This is the same national program that worked with Eugenie Bouchard.
Mia will be a full-time participant, along with just two others, Annabelle Xu and Marina Stakusic, in this special full-time program for the three fifteen-year-olds. Tennis Canada will provide coaching, physiotherapy, a tutor for distance learning, billeted accommodation, a driver, and travel to tournaments. This full-time program has been re-introduced in Montreal after several years without the program.
Photos below: Mia at age 7, just starting her tennis career in 2012.
Coach Carson Bell, who has been Mia’s main coach for many years, answered a few questions about Mia and her selection to the National Training Centre.
Q: How did you feel when you found out that Mia was selected?
Carson: It felt like we had achieved a major goal that had been set out by Mia’s team. This was something Mia, her parents and I had worked toward for a number of years.
Q: How do you feel about her going away?
Carson: I’m excited to see what she can do with the opportunities that this will present.
Q: What do you hope for Mia over the next few years?
Carson: I’m hoping that she can take advantage of the pathway that lays in front of her. I hope that she will be able to continue her progression through the ITF junior circuit, and from there, start to make the transition into pro events.
Photo below: Carson Bell with Mia at the U12 Nationals, sending a photo home to Mom and Dad.
Mia says that she was hoping she would get picked. This was her ultimate goal all along, and something that she and Carson had worked for. Her Mom notes that Mia’s progress has been continuous and Mia has had good results, so the call to the national training centre was a welcome next step.
Mia has been to Montreal several times to train. The Montreal facility is well-equipped with both hard and clay courts, located where the Rogers Cup is held. The daily routine will be 3-4 hours of tennis, one hour of fitness, and then hours in the classroom doing school work with the help of a tutor for the three girls. Mia will travel to tournaments with her team mates and a coach, continuing on with junior ITFs. Tournaments coming up are the Vancouver ITF, Challenger tournaments in Quebec (Mia’s first challenger level tournament), and Nationals.
“I enjoy competing. I like to play different people and to see the world. We may go to Israel for an ITF tournament in October, to the United States, and other locations too. Touring as a group is fun. We are all really close, with similar goals.” (Mia Kupres on the year ahead).
What does Mia want to work on with her game? “I want to work on my tactics, knowing when to be patient and when to be more aggressive. I want to work on my serve, approach shots, consistency and my net game too.”
What does Mia do with her tennis friends on days off? “We don’t have a lot of time off. We go to movies, to the mall and shopping during our time off.” (She went off to Starbucks with her tennis pals after the interview).
At the age of 12 at nationals, Mia and her doubles partner Reese Carter, made the semi-finals.
Mia was recruited by Tennis Canada to take part in international competitions in Hungary, and in Italy.
Mia won both the Indoor and Outdoor National Titles, U14, in 2018, as well as the sportsmanship award.
Mia won her first Junior ITF tournament in Guadalajaro, Mexico, in 2019.
Au revoir Mia, and Bonne Chance!! Keep checking in with us. And see you next year at the Saville Junior ITF in July, with your national training centre buddies.
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