The Canadian University Tennis Championships is the ultimate tournament for university tennis players in Canada, now in just its tenth year.

Eight Canadian university teams (four men’s and four women’s teams), including Western Regional Champions University of Alberta ventured off to Montreal and Toronto to compete in a Davis Cup type format, represent their alma maters, and brush shoulders with the tennis pros at the Rogers Cup across the grounds.

The U. of A.’s track record at nationals is impressive.  Last year in 2017 the Pandas won gold.  In 2016 the Golden Bears won gold.  And in 2014 both the Pandas and the Golden Bears were the top university teams in Canada, winning gold at nationals.  So making the nationals, and doing well at the nationals, is not unusual for the University of Alberta tennis teams.

This year’s U. of A. teams were well-prepared following their victory at the Western Regionals in March.  The team’s summer training schedule included daily work outs on and off court, tournaments, and matches.

The challenge for the women’s team was to defend last year’s first place finish.  The men’s team aimed to defend or better last year’s second place finish.

I feel both teams did a great job representing the Western Region at the Nationals, both teams battled hard but lost very close matches to eventual champion Montreal.  (Russ Sluchinski, U. of A. Tennis Head Coach).

At the end of the day the Pandas took second place and the Bears third, with both teams losing close ties to the University of Montreal.

The Pandas found themselves in a repeat of last year’s match-up with the University of Montreal in the final.  Last year it was the Pandas who clinched the victory at 4-3 over the University of Montreal in a 6-hour marathon tie.  This year it was the University of Montreal’s turn to take the gold in a 4-3 similar scenario with a reversed outcome.

The Golden Bears earned bronze with straight wins over the University of New Brunswick.  The more competitive tie for the Golden Bears was the semi-final against the University of Montreal Carabins.  From the Tennis Canada summary:

On the other side of the draw, University of Montreal and University of Alberta battled in an extremely competitive match-up.  Alberta clinched the doubles point by winning all 3 doubles matches.  But Montreal stalled their momentum by posting straight-set wins at #1 singles and #3 singles by Kamen Damov and  Hugo Maurice.

Alberta responded with a 6-4, 7-6 win at #5 singles by Neel Phaterpekar to level the score.  With the final 3 matches on court and the team score tied 2-2, Montreal jumped out to first set leads on all of the remaining courts.  Virgil Sammartin held onto a 6-4, 6-3 victory for Montreal at court #4. And Rashed Rihani closed it out for the Carabins with a 6-4, 6-2 win at #2 singles.

The Carabins went on to the final where they defeated the University of Toronto, 8-6.  These were the first national titles for the University of Montreal Carabins tennis teams.

What does the future look like for the U. of A. Tennis Teams?

Several team members from both the Bears and the Pandas will be moving on, including Kristina Sanjevic, Maki Oba, Vuk Radovic, and Jordan Sluchinski.

Jeff James and Daniel Henschel will be returning as team captains and will provide leadership for the Golden Bears.  New to the team will be Jared Maclean, Ashley Yap, & Zack Perala.

The Pandas will be losing their captain Kristina Sanjevic but will lean on some of the returning veteran players for leadership. The Pandas will be welcoming Katie Johnson, Tereza Simonova, and Samantha Chapman as new members.

We are also going to have a number of very strong players at the tryouts who we expect will have an excellent chance of making the team.  (Russ Sluchinski, U. of A. Head Coach).

Connor Hood’s summary

Pandas fall behind early, drop 4-3 decision to Montreal in Canadian Final

By Connor Hood on August 13, 2018

The University of Alberta Pandas tennis team couldn’t overcome an early deficit to the Montreal Carabins, eventually dropping the Canadian University Tennis Final 4-3.

The loss snaps the Pandas extended winning streak that began with a win in the bronze medal match at the 2016 national championship. During their streak, the Pandas captured back-to-back Western Canadian titles, and the 2017 Canadian University title.


The Pandas fell behind early in a rematch of the 2017 final, as Montreal raced out to a 3-0 lead with wins in the doubles section and the first two singles matches. The Pandas were able to close the gap to 3-2 with wins by both Kristina Sanjevic (4-6, 6-1, 6-4) and Maki Oba (6-1, 6-1). However, Montreal earned a No. 6 singles win, as Sophie Dagenais knocked off Riyo Tomita 6-4, 7-5 to clinch the title for Montreal. Fourth-year Panda RJ Gan earned the Pandas third point, claiming the No. 2 singles match with a 6-2, 7-5 win.



Bears cruise past UNB to win bronze

Bears win fourth-straight national medal with 7-0 win over UNB

By Connor Hood on August 13, 2018

The Alberta Golden Bears claimed their second-straight Canadian University bronze medal, beating the UNB Varsity Reds 7-0 Sunday afternoon in Toronto.

The Bears earned three decisive wins in the doubles tie, while also winning all six singles matches. This is the eighth-straight season the Bears have claimed a national medal.


After dropping their semifinal match to the Montreal Carabins, the Bears responded with a stellar performance against UNB. The Bears dropped just six games over three doubles matches, earning 8-3, 8-3, and 8-0 wins. Ryan Townsend, Daniel Henschel and Sindey Yap also impressed in the top three singles matches, each winning 6-1, 6-0.  Jordan Sluchinski (7-6, 6-2), Neel Phaterpekar (6-2, 6-0), and Michal Ostrzygalo (6-0, 6-0) also won their respective singles matches on Sunday.


UAlberta Golden Bears & Pandas@BearsandPandas

Congrats to Golden Bears Tennis. Coming home with Bronze at Nationals!