Tennis was one of those sports which benefitted greatly from the outdoor sport boom in Yellowknife this past summer thanks to Covid-19.
It would appear that popularity carried over to the indoor version of the sport last weekend.
Tennis NWT hosted its March Tournament at the Fieldhouse with both fields in action over the course of the weekend. A majority of the players hailed from Yellowknife with a total of eight making the trip in from Fort Smith to join in.
It was the second indoor tournament of the season, following the event held in December 2020.
Slavica Jovic of Tennis NWT said the tournament was held thanks to some extra funding from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs’ Emergency Support Funding for Sport Organizations.
“We received $21,000 for the winter and we had to spend it by March 31,” she said. “The tournament was a part of that funding and we were able to help cover the cost of travel for those coming in from Fort Smith.”
The money also went toward renting the fields at the Fieldhouse for Sunday sessions for the duration of the winter, she added.
On the court, Jerry Wald of Fort Smith took the men’s singles crown by beating Brooke Harker of Yellowknife in straight sets, 7-6, 6-1. Wald then teamed up with Larry Van Beek for the men’s doubles but they fell to the Yellowknife pairing of KM Safat Rashif and Nikki Gohil, 6-4, 6-3. The women’s doubles champions were Tamara Jovic of Yellowknife and Joan Bevington of Fort Smith as they defeated Anita Aogaa and Hiro Kobayashi, both from Yellowknife, in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, but Kobayashi would turn around to win the mixed doubles with Randy Rivers as they downed Elizabeth du Plessis and KM Safat Rashif by the same scoreline as the women’s doubles.
“All of the matches were really close and there was lots of good games,” said Jovic. “We had seven different winners and it was good to see some variety.”
You may notice the lack of a women’s singles division and that’s because of a combination of a lack of women who wanted to play singles and restrictions on how many divisions a player could enter.
Jovic said three players had registered but two of them decided to play doubles instead.
“We only allowed players to sign up for two categories and people just preferred to play doubles,” she said.
Wald’s win in the men’s singles could be the final time he plays in a tournament in the NWT as he’s moving to Cranbrook, B.C.
Jovic said it’s a big loss for tennis in the territory.
“He was a great addition to the tennis community in Fort Smith,” she said. “He coached a lot of people and he would play with or against anyone. He loves the sport and he told us he may come back to play if the rules on Covid-19 change.”
The indoor season is set to continue until the end of April, said Jovic, with the plan of starting the outdoor season by May 31 in Yellowknife.
She said Jan Martinek of Vancouver will return as the head pro at the Yellowknife Tennis Club for another season.
Here are the official results:
Jerry Wald def. Brooke Harker; 7-6, 6-1
KM Safat Rashif and Nikki Gohil def. Jerry Wald and Larry Van Beek; 6-4, 6-3
Tamara Jovic and Joan Bevington def. Anita Aogaa and Hiro Kobayashi; 6-4, 6-4
Randy Rivers and Hiro Kobayashi def. Elizabeth du Plessis and KM Safat Rashif; 6-4, 6-4
source: Tennis NWT