If you’ve ever been around the Yellowknife Tennis Club, you will know who Tamara Jovic is. You’ll see her playing tournaments, giving lessons or working with the junior players.

But what you maybe didn’t know is that the 20-year-old has what no one else in the NWT has: a certified professional licence to coach.

Jovic is the proud owner of what’s called a Club Pro 1 licence through the Tennis Professionals Association. That means she can now go anywhere in the country and get paid a salary to teach the sport. Some of that work could include delivering private and group lessons, design basic lesson content and run introductory programs, such as socials, round-robins, and tournaments. Jovic was able to apply for the course by virtue of having her Instructors’ certification with at least 150 hours of on-court teaching experience.

Needless to say, Jovic said she was excited once she received the news that she passed.

“Getting my club pro licence is a big deal because there aren’t many who have it that are as young as I am,” she said. “I needed it to coach at the Canada Summer Games, so that was one of the big reasons I wanted to get it.”

Jovic was the assistant coach with Jan Martinek, the Yellowknife Tennis Club’s head professional, at the Games in Ontario last month. She now has the very same certification as Martinek and she gave him lots of credit for helping get her over the bump.

“I worked two summers in a row with Jan and if I didn’t coach as much as I did with him, I don’t think I would have done as well as I did,” she said.

The club pro certification allows someone to become an entry-level assistant pro at a year-round indoor club or a head pro at a seasonal or community club. The course took nine days in total to complete; Jovic had to travel to both Calgary and Edmonton for three separate three-day sessions between April and May in order to do it.

“We had two Zoom module days, where we discussed what we would be doing on the court,” said Jovic. “After that, it was seven days on-court and two of those days were evaluation days. No nerves at all (laughs).”

John St. Louis, Tennis NWT’s president, said there have been some really good young players who have gone through the system, but Jovic seems to keep reaching higher.

“She’s won a lot of tournaments and she’s grown up in the Yellowknife tennis system,” he said. “Getting professional certification is an amazing accomplishment for her because of the amount of time needed for the testing on and off the court. We’re just thrilled that she has that now and she’ll be a great addition to any club that hires her on.”

What this does now, he added, is show young players in the NWT that they, too, can reach the same heights that Jovic has.

“She’s worked very closely with the young kids in the territory and she’s been a terrific mentor who sets a great example,” he said. “She’s their inspiration now.”

Jovic has returned for her third year at the University of Calgary and she plans on playing with the women’s tennis team again this season.

She said her new certification has given her more confidence for the new year.

“I’ve learned so much from our coaches and from doing the pro course,” she said. “It’s increased my playing ability and I’m really excited about the new season.”

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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